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If Your Child Is Injured At School: Can You Sue?

By John Hipskind on January 29, 2016

Generally, suing a school district is an uphill battle for plaintiffs and involves a complex legal process.  Illinois school districts generally find protection against most claims under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.  Under the Tort Immunity Act, a school district can be immune under a number of distinct provisions.

A school district in Illinois is immune for discretionary acts, many issues regarding supervision, recreational activities, hazardous recreational activities, and maintenance issues.

Illinois law gives school districts greater protections than in other states.  Unlike most states, Illinois requires plaintiffs to show proof of willful and wanton negligence negligence or conduct.

“Willful and wanton” means any action that is intended to cause harm, or, if not intentional, shows an utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others or their property.”

The Tort Immunity Act also provides a strict statute of limitations on when a legal claim can be brought against a school district for injury-inducing accidents.  In Illinois, the statute of limitations is one year, whereas the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is typically two years from the date of the accident.

Although assessing liability against a school district for accidents and injuries can be more difficult, it is not impossible.  For instance, recently an Illinois Appellate Court rules that a school district was liable for injuries sustained after a student fell in the school’s “Cafetorium,” a combined cafeteria and auditorium, since it was not “public property intended to be used for recreational purposes” under the Tort Immunity Act.

Depending on how your child was injured, you may be able to show that an exception applies to your situation.  If you fit an exception, then you will be able to proceed with a negligence claim against the school district for the injuries to your child.

If your child was injured on school property, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands Illinois tort law at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC for a FREE CONSULTATION: 618.641.9189| 314.912.2930 or at info@hm-attorneys.com

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