Should you sue your school district?
If you're dealing with a serious school-related issue that's still unresolved after hours on the phone, countless emails and lengthy discussions with school representatives, you may feel you have no other option.
Though it is the road less traveled, an injured party can potentially seek relief in court when a school violates rights or causes injuries. However, a potential plaintiff must first consider several factors.
1. What's Your Issue?
Several potential causes of action exist as legal grounds for filing a lawsuit against a school district. The most common causes of action include:
- Discrimination against a student or school employee on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, and other "protected" categories.
- Injury caused to a student or school employee on school grounds or during school activities. (However, parents should make sure they did not waive the school's liability.)
- Bullying or acts of violence against an employee or student.
- Sexual misconduct committed by someone employed by the school district.
- Inadequate supervision of a student.
2. Is the School Public or Private?
A school's status as a public or private institution can affect what legal grounds an injured party may have for filing a lawsuit against the school district.
Many causes of action with private schools will implicate breach of contract issues. For example, tuition disputes often stem from contracts signed by the private school and the students' parents.
On the other hand, contractual causes of action in the public school setting are typically limited to employment disputes. For other types of injuries involving public schools, victims may have to file a government tort claim before they can file a lawsuit.
3. Should You Get a Lawyer?
Before pouring time and money into a lawsuit against a school district, it might be wise to meet with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and recommend a course of action. A number of personal injury firms offer free consultations, so even if you don't end up retaining counsel, you can still get an honest evaluation of your case.