ADA: Physical Injuries to Students With Disabilities in California Schools

When our children are at school, we count on teachers and administrators to ensure they are properly supervised and reasonably protected from harm. Special protocols should also be in place to ensure that students with disabilities learn in a safe learning environment. If those in positions of authority don’t do enough to protect disabled students from physical injury, several parties ― including the school, the school district, teacher, or school officials ― could be liable for negligence.

At Custodio & Dubey LLP, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are passionate about protecting California’s children. If your child was hurt on school grounds, call or contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.

Physical Injuries of Disabled Students

Students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to accidental or intentional injuries at school. Schools are legally obligated to make accommodations for all students with disabilities, such as providing ramps and wheelchair lifts where necessary to aid students with transportation from place to place. Specialized accommodations may also be spelled out in an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). These safeguards should protect the student from potential hazards that could lead to an accident on school premises.

To make sure all students are safe, school officials should keep an eye out for potentially dangerous conditions on school grounds, such as faulty playground equipment, slippery floors, unsecured construction work zones, electrocution hazards, and so on. If a disabled child is injured due to a hazard on the property, families could hold the school accountable through a premises liability claim. A valid legal claim could also arise if negligent supervision contributed to the child’s accident and injury at school.

Student Injuries at Public Schools vs. Non-Public Schools

Public schools are government agencies, which can make taking legal action challenging. There are strict deadlines for suing the government.

Charter schools are also public and usually sponsored by a school board, so you may need to file a claim against the government if your child is injured at a California charter school. At Custodio & Dubey LLP, we strongly recommend getting help from a lawyer if you wish to file a claim against a public school or charter school. Acting quickly is essential. You only have six months to initiate a claim against a school district or its employees under California law.

California also has non-public schools that provide private instruction to public school students with disabilities. While these schools are private, they’re certified by the California Department of Education. If your child is injured at a non-public school, talk to a lawyer to determine who could be held accountable for the harm they’ve suffered.

Liability for school accidents works differently for private schools. If a disabled child is injured at a private school, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the entity that runs the school. With personal injury claims, families have two years from the date of the injury to file suit.

Legal Basis for School Liability for Injured Disabled Students

There are two common types of claims that will often arise when it comes to injuries at schools:

  • Premises liability — If your child with disabilities is injured due to a hazard on the school property, you might be eligible to seek compensation through a premises liability claim. Schools should ensure the grounds are free from dangerous conditions that could injure someone, such as wet floors, objects cluttering walkways and entrances, ramps that are too steep, and other hazards.
  • Personal injury — If your child was injured by someone who works for a school or another student, you might have a personal injury claim. Schools should make sure anyone who comes into contact with students undergoes a thorough background check, and there should be enough staff at the school to make sure students are well supervised and can’t hurt one another.

When you file a notice of claim against a school district, there are strict rules about the type of information provided in the complaint. Failure to follow the procedures can result in the automatic dismissal of your claim. Rather than risk making a fatal error unknowingly, it’s a good idea to put your case in the hands of a competent school injury lawyer. An attorney at Custodio & Dubey LLP can complete the Los Angeles Unified School District Claim for Damages to Person or Property and other relevant forms for you. That way, you can rest assured that your claim is completed accurately.

Contact a School Injury Lawyer from Custodio & Dubey LLP

Whether you’re filing a claim against a public school or a private school, you need a California law firm with specific experience handling school injury claims on your side. Don’t hesitate to contact the personal injury lawyers at Custodio & Dubey LLP for legal help. Whether we’re taking on a government or private entity, we have the skills, commitment, and talent to help you pursue the compensation your family deserves. Call or reach out to us online for a free initial consultation.