What was supposed to be a fun wintertime school trip for some Northern Illinois elementary students ended with one of those children making an unscheduled visit to the emergency room. The second-grade girl from DeKalb suffered facial injuries after a sled in which she was riding overturned, according to an ABC 7 report. Some types of school injuries may entitle a student or her family to seek compensation in court. While successfully suing a school district or school employee is generally more complex and can be more challenging than suing a private person or entity, that definitely does not mean that you should give up and should not pursue your options. A knowledgeable Illinois injury attorney can provide you with valuable advice about your rights and which avenues may be available to you to obtain compensation.
The DeKalb students’ sledding trip took place at Russell Woods in nearby Genoa. The injured girl’s parents thought the nature of the activity would be something different than what actually took place. “I thought it was going to be like, not going downhill, but like little kids running with a little board or something, plastic and sliding on the ground slow,” the girl’s mother told ABC 7.
Instead, the event did involve the children sledding downhill. The girl had not been sledding before and didn‘t want to participate, but she was told to play with the other children. A first trip was uneventful, but a second trip involved an older (and presumably larger) child joining the second-grade girl and the teacher giving them a “big push.” The girl stated to ABC 7 that “she pushed me too fast.”
While the law has erected certain barriers that make suing successfully as a result of a school injury somewhat more challenging than it would be if the injury involved a non-school accident, that doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve a positive outcome or that you should not pursue your case. There are definitely some circumstances in which you can sue and win.
Illinois law says that a student or her parent(s) can sue and win if a school employee acted recklessly, and that recklessness caused the student’s injuries. In Illinois, recklessness in this context can occur in one of two ways. One way, which is generally less common, is if the school employee’s misconduct was intended to cause harm. The other way is if the school employee’s behavior demonstrates an “utter indifference or conscious disregard” for the student’s well-being.
The rules can be somewhat different depending on the details of a particular case. For example, the girl in the ABC 7 report was injured at Russell Woods, a publicly owned county forest preserve. If a student suffers her injuries while on public property intended to be used for recreation, or even just permitted to be used for recreation, a successful lawsuit against a school or school employee will need to include proof that the conduct that caused the child’s injuries amounted to “willful or wanton conduct” under Illinois law.
Successfully pursuing legal action in a school injury case often involves a careful and detailed knowledge of a very particular set of legal rules. To make sure you have the skillful representation you need, consult the experienced Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our team has been helping injured people and their families for many years. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Family Sues After Student with Special Needs Drowns in Chicago High School Pool, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, April 14, 2017
Illinois Appeals Court Clarifies Evidentiary Obligation in Lawsuit Against High School Athletic Trainer, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, April 7, 2017