If your child has been injured at school, you can talk to an experienced child injury attorney in Abbeville, SC, at Hite Law Firm Trail Lawyers. We are advocates for the injured and afflicted, and we specialize in representing children. With a focus on serving schoolchildren who are hurt and harmed, we understand the unique needs of minors when they are injured at school.
See how we can help your child seek justice, healing, and financial compensation. Contact our school injury attorneys to talk about your case.
Examples of School Injuries and Accidents
- School bus accidents, other motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall, falling objects
- Fires and electrical incidents
- Playground injuries and accidents
- Injuries during physical education class or extracurricular activities
- Assault and battery by another student, bullying
- Sexual assault by a student or employee
- Food poisoning
- Toxic exposure, chemical injuries, and burns
- Structure malfunctions and failures
- Wrongful death
A public or private school may have liability for an injury, including:
- Elementary school
- Middle school, junior high
- High school, secondary school
- Career skills training program
- College, university
- Technical college
Common school injuries include:
- Broken bones, fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cuts, lacerations, and bruises
- Internal organ damage
- Sprains and strains
- Psychological injury
Psychological injury may include anxiety, fear of going to school, a decline in grades and behavior at school, PTSD, depression, and social difficulties. An injured victim may claim compensation for the treatment, therapies, and suffering associated with mental injuries.
A school may have liability for an injury caused by any of the following:
- Principals and administrators
- Coaching staff
- Bus drivers
- Aides and assistants
In some cases, the South Carolina Department of Education may be legally liable.
Legal Representation for a School Injury
If your child has been injured at school, they may have a legal claim. When schools are negligent or grossly negligent, and someone gets hurt, the injured person may be able to receive financial compensation. Bringing a case holds the school accountable for what happened. The funds your child receives may help with medical expenses and their care needs. It can serve as an acknowledgement of what your child has been through.
At Hite Law Firm, we are schoolchild injury attorneys serving Abbeville, SC, and the surrounding areas. To learn more and begin today, contact us to discuss your child’s situation.
Laws for School Injury Compensation in South Carolina
In South Carolina, schools can be held liable for injuries to students. The legal standard for liability is usually negligence or gross negligence.
The South Carolina Tort Claims Act applies, S.C. Code § 15-78-10 et. seq. The Tort Claims Act says that public bodies are liable for torts in the same manner and to the same extent as private entities. There are some exceptions and a limitation of damages.
Under § 15-78-60(25), a school is liable for gross negligence, not merely ordinary negligence, for injury arising from the supervision, protection, control, confinement, or custody of a student. For injuries with other underlying causes, the legal standard is ordinary negligence.
Gross negligence and ordinary negligence
Injuries that occur at school may or may not be related to the supervision, protection, and control of a student. For example, in Doe v. Greenville County School District (Op. No. 26372, 2007), the South Carolina Supreme Court said that a child victimized by sexual assault by a substitute teacher fell under the legal standard of gross negligence. (See also Richardson v. Hambright, 296 S.C. 504 (1988), where a gross negligence standard applied when the school failed to follow its policy of conducting ID checks for students being transported in private vehicles.) However, a child who suffers physical injuries in a bus accident may bring their claim under an ordinary negligence theory. (Gardner v. Biggart, 308 S.C. 331 (1992)).
Our lawyers can help you identify the claims and the legal standards. We advocate for your child throughout the case.
Exceptions to school injury liability
The South Carolina Tort Claims Act lists several exceptions to liability. A school is not liable for:
- Snow, ice, or other temporary natural conditions on a public way, unless the snow and ice is affirmatively caused by employee negligence. (§ 15-78-60(8)).
- Playground or recreational area maintenance, security, or supervision unless a danger is not corrected within a reasonable time after notice of it. (§ 15-78-60(16)).
- Criminal actions, negligence, or gross negligence of a non-employee.
Private schools and injury compensation
The South Carolina Tort Claims Act applies only to public schools. If your child is hurt at a private school, traditional negligence and tort liability apply. The school may be liable based on premises liability, tort theories of negligent hiring and supervision, and any other theories that might apply.
FAQs About Cases Against Schools
What kinds of harm can a school be legally liable for?
A school may be legally liable for the following:
- Bodily injury
- Damage to property
Are there limitations on damages that apply in school injury claims in South Carolina?
Under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, a public school’s liability is limited by caps on damages. Our attorneys can explain how this applies to your particular situation.
Under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, how long do you have to bring a lawsuit against a school in South Carolina?
The Tort Claims Act creates a two-year statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit against a school in South Carolina, but there are exceptions to this general rule. In particular, the statute of limitations is tolled for minors until the minor’s nineteenth birthday. Talk to our attorneys to determine how the statute of limitations may apply to your particular case.
Talk to a School Injury Lawyer – Consultations Available
Consultations are available with our school injury attorneys in Abbeville, SC. Work with the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® rated lawyers at Hite Law Firm. We are available to talk about your child’s situation with no obligation. Get answers to your questions, learn about the legal process, and explore the various options for your child.
If your child has been hurt at school, we are genuinely sorry. They can have professional legal representation that is focused on their needs. Contact the Hite Law Firm attorneys today for a consultation about your case.