When you drop your child off at school in the morning, you want to be sure they're going to be safe and protected all day. Of course, there's never any guarantee of that. Nonetheless, there are certain laws in place to help protect your child's right to a school experience that's free from harm.
The concept of premises liability refers to the legal requirement of a property owner to maintain a space that is free from hazards for the people who use it. If you trip over exposed electrical cables at a store, you can sue the store. If the mailman slips and falls on your icy front stoop, he can hold you responsible. With schools, the same basic concept holds true, although the rules differ depending on whether it's a public or private school.
With private schools, the property is privately owned, so the school can be sued directly for premises liability. Public school districts, however, are technically government agencies--which usually have immunity from being sued. Nonetheless, many such agencies waive their immunity and can be sued under certain conditions. These conditions vary from state to state, so a good first step is to talk to a premises liability attorney in your area.
In addition to the narrower spectrum of negligence cases that may be filed against a public entity, there are also strict guidelines surrounding the lawsuit timeline. In New York, you must notify that agency that you have the intent to sue (by filing a Notice of Claim) within 90 days of your child's injury. You have one year and 90 days from the date of this injury to file a lawsuit.
Talk to an experienced premises liability attorney to learn how your child's school-based injury may qualify for litigation.