School did nothing after my daughter was assaulted?

by Olga
(Covington, Georgia)

My daughter was assaulted at school. She is in 9th grade and this happened during the last class of the day. I have video of the fight. The school never contacted me. The assistant Principal just told her to get on the bus after interviewing her and the girl who assaulted her.

The other girl told the truth, saying she was inciting my daughter to fight, but my daughter kept refusing. The girl finally followed my daughter to the gym where she grabbed her from the hair and fought her.

The school did not contact me so I did not know the seriousness of the fight until about 7:30pm, when I got a copy of a video of the fight. When I saw it I immediately rushed my daughter to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a concussion.

I went to the school the next morning with the ER release paper and found that there was no report made to the resource officer and no charges filled. I had to take my child out of bed to be interviewed so a report could be filled.

The girl was suspended for ten days but due to lack of action from the school the girl's parents moved her to Tennessee over the weekend. My daughter maintains a headache daily and I have lost 3 clients at my work already due to caring for her. (I own a small janitorial company and my inability to perform my job because of this is now going to affect me providing for my children and paying my bills.)

Is there something I can do? How do I get compensated for my daughter's injuries and medical bills, and the work I lost due to this? Can I file a complaint against the school for failing to take any action? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "School did nothing after my daughter was assaulted?":

Olga (Covington, Georgia):

It is questionable whether taking your daughter from her bed so soon after she sustained a brain concussion was appropriate. Surely you could have asked the school to postpone the interview until the doctor released your daughter to return to school.

Unless the school had previous reports of the girl's attacks and took no action to suspend the student, or otherwise punish the student, the school cannot be held liable for your daughter's injuries.

However, under Georgia's Parental Responsibility law, parents can be held liable for the willful or negligent acts of their children when those acts result in undue harm or injury to others. In this case, it appears the circumstances involving your daughter would fit under that law. This is especially true as you have a video of the assault.

Under Georgia's Parental Liability Law, Section 51-2-2:

"Every person shall be liable for torts committed by his wife, his child, or his servant by his command or in the prosecution and within the scope of his business, whether the same are committed by negligence or voluntarily."

In a civil action against the girl's parents, your daughter would likely be entitled to at least reimbursement for her medical bills, your out of pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), your reasonable lost wages if you had to take time off from work to care for her, and an amount for her pain and suffering.

However, in this type is case it will be very difficult to find an attorney to represent your daughter. There just aren't enough medical bills or costs to make it worth an attorney's time and expense. Moreover, the girl now lives in Tennessee.

If you are going to pursue the claim, contact the parents and ask them to reimburse you at least for your daughter's medical bills and your other costs. In the event the parents refuse to pay, you can consider filing a lawsuit in one of Georgia's Small Claims Courts (known as Magistrate Courts).

Because the attack took place in Georgia, Georgia would retain jurisdiction of the case. In the event, after being served with the lawsuit, the parents fail to respond or appear in court as required, you will be able to take a judgment against them.

Georgia Magistrate Courts have jurisdiction to hear cases up to $15,000.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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