Most people assume that you can’t sue a school for injuries sustained by a student. Our Macon injury attorneys will tell you that this is no longer true. Given the new laws in Georgia, you can sue a school district for negligent security.
Georgia Schools Under Much Stricter Scrutiny When It Comes to Negligent Security
Years ago, it was rather difficult to sue a school for damages. If a child fell off the jungle gym, their Macon injury attorney would have to prove negligence. Even then, the school still enjoyed a great deal of immunity from civil liability.
Today, things have changed. In light of the recent school shootings in Florida and elsewhere in the country, the law in Georgia has changed. Today, schools in Georgia are held to a much higher standard when it comes to negligent security.
The Georgia Legislature Has Issued New Security Requirements for Schools
In 2018, Georgia lawmakers increased the standard public schools must meet when it comes to protecting their students. Specifically, schools in Georgia must now meet the following requirements if they want to be protected from civil liability:
- School staff and volunteers must be trained in violence prevention.
- The schools must install and use high-tech security devices.
- The school’s local emergency management agency must approve the school’s safety plan.
If a school fails to meet these new requirements, they open themselves up to liability.
Schools Also Have a Duty to Protect Students from Outside Risks as Well
The laws in Georgia don’t only require schools to protect their students from internal dangers. They must also protect them from outside risks such as:
- Loitering on or near the school
- Carrying weapons within 1,000 feet of a school
- Selling or using drugs within a school safety zone
- Hazardous materials
- Natural disasters
If your Macon personal injury lawyer can prove that the school failed to meet this burden, you may be able to collect significant damages.
Your Macon Injury Attorney Must Prove That the School Was Negligent
In order for your Macon personal injury lawyer to prove your case, they must show that the school was negligent. Unlike an ordinary negligence case, your lawyer must prove the special elements of a school’s negligent security.
The elements you must demonstrate in a negligent security case against a school include the following:
- The school had a duty to protect your child
- They failed to maintain adequate security in and around the school
- The school’s negligent security caused physical harm to the victim
If your Macon injury attorney can prove these elements, you’ll have a good chance of collecting damages.
You Must Demonstrate That Your Child Wouldn’t Have Been Injured Had the School Provided Adequate Security
One of the specific things your attorney will need to prove is that your child would not have been hurt had the school maintained adequate security. If your child would have still been injured even if there was adequate security, the school will probably escape liability.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Macon Personal Injury Lawyer Demand?
In an ordinary personal injury lawsuit, your attorney can demand several types of damages. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident, you can demand compensation to repair or replace your vehicle.
When it comes to a lawsuit against a school for negligent security, it’s a little different. The only way you’ll receive damages is if your Macon personal injury lawyer can prove that your child was physically injured.
You Much Prove That Your Child Suffered a Physical Injury
Unlike a regular personal injury case, you must prove a physical injury. This is one of the requirements for filing a negligent security case in Georgia. It’s not enough to show that your child was involved in a dangerous situation at school.
One of the reasons for this rule is that the legislature wanted to limit the liability of school districts. If your claim is that the school didn’t provide adequate security, it’s not sufficient to demonstrate that your child was afraid or anxious.
Damages Are Slightly Different When It Comes to a Child
The other unique thing about these cases is that your child can’t sue for certain types of damages. For example, children cannot argue that they lost wages as a result of the defendant’s behavior.
Children are also not able to assert a claim for damages due to lost future income. There is not a strong enough link between a young person’s injury at school and their earning capacity years later.
There’s a Good Chance Your Macon Injury Attorney Will Settle Your Case
If you’re lucky, the school will pay your damages right away. Their insurance company may not want the negative press of a trial. However, if they refuse to take your claim seriously, your Macon personal injury lawyer can file suit on your behalf.
Even if you file suit, there is still a good chance your case will settle. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. It’s in everyone’s best interests to try to negotiate a fair settlement out of court.
A Settlement is In the Best Interests of Everyone Involved
When your Macon injury attorney first files your complaint, it will get the school district’s attention. They will see that you’re not going to walk away quietly. They will more than likely reach out to your attorney to discuss the matter.
Once your lawyer is in talks with the defendant, they will start to negotiate a settlement. The school is not going to want to pay your full demand. They will more than likely be willing to settle for a lesser amount. This way, they can avoid negative publicity as well.
You’ll Be Able to Walk Away with a Lump Sum on an Immediate Basis
One of the benefits of settling your case is that you’ll walk away with a lump sum of money. Once your case settles, you can expect to receive your portion of the settlement proceeds within a month.
When you do settle your case, you will not be able to go after the school district for more money later. Your Macon personal injury lawyer will make sure your settlement covers your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses.
Reach Out to One of Our Macon Personal Injury Lawyers Right Away
If you or your child have been injured on school premises, contact our office right away. You don’t want to wait too long to meet with one of our Macon injury attorneys. In Georgia, you only have two years to file your personal injury lawsuit.
If you happen to miss the Georgia statute of limitations, your case will be dismissed. Since we offer new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose.