My child was injured at school. Can I sue?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Oct 24, 2010 in Uncategorized
The short answer is YES.
In the state of Maryland, if your child is injured due to the negligence of school officials including teachers and volunteers you have the right to sue, but the damages would ultimately be collected against the school board and its liability insurance carrier-not against the teacher or principal. This area of the law gets somewhat complicated though because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
First of all, you cannot sue the school for failing to educate your child. Maryland does not recognize educational malpractice as a tort. But if your child suffers a personal injury or is killed and it is the result of the negligence of the school's employees you can indeed file a lawsuit. The crux of Maryland law is that teachers and school employees are not personally liable for negligence so long as they acted without malice and so long as the jury does not find that their actions constitute "gross negligence" See MD Code Cts. Jud. Proc. 5-518. Any lawsuit against a teacher must include the school board. The school board itself is not immune for amounts up to $100,000.00 and also is not immune for amounts above $100,000.00 if they have liability insurance covering them. The immunity provisions do not apply to car accidents.
A hot topic these days is bullying. If a school fails to take appropriate action to protect a child from being bullied, the child-through his parents-could file a lawsuit against school officials for any physical/emotional injuries. If a judgment was obtained against, say for example and teacher and a school principal, the judgment would only be collectible against the School Board, and not against the individuals (unless they acted with malice or with gross negligence).
The applicable law is codified in the Maryland Code and can be found here.
If your child was injured due to the negligence of school officials feel free to call Goldberg Finnegan for a free telephone consultation. 888-213-8140