School won't pay for serious injuries to child during PE class?

by K
(Illinois)

Back in November of 2014, my son was injured during PE Class. The teacher took them upstairs to a balcony (my son's first time up there), had them remove their shoes and had them dodging a turning jump rope. The rail was lined with floor mats standing on end, with a gym curtain behind it.

The teacher gave no explanation of the open rail and had kids running back and forth TOWARDS the railing. My son was running fast and put his hands out to stop on what he thought was solid wall and was actually the gym curtain. He flipped over the railing and landed on his face on a cabinet about 8 feet below.

He sustained serious mouth injuries requiring oral surgery, including reimplantation of teeth, stitches in 7 areas (including stitching his gums back in place), and later root canals and crowns. He still has extensive scarring on his upper lip and faces possible future loss of the reimplanted teeth.

I have been told that the school is protected by law from paying for the thousands in out of pocket costs I am still dealing with, and has taken no responsibility. Do I have any recourse here?

I am sickened that my son had to endure the pain and permanent disfigurement, and that the school nurse didn't even call an ambulance. Is there anything I can do before the 2-year deadline? Can I sue the teacher as an individual, as he has done other more foolish things since then? What options do I have? There must be something I can do. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "School won't pay for serious injuries to child during PE class?":

K (Illinois):

Before going further, it's important to note the Statute of Limitations in Illinois for personal injury claims is two (2) years. If you are going to pursue an injury claim on behalf of your son, you must either settle his injury claim or file a lawsuit before 2 years from the date of the injury.

If you fail to settle the injury claim or file a lawsuit within the two year time period, you will lose your rights to pursue the school district for your son's injuries and resulting medicals bills.

From the facts you present, you have not yet been successful in settling your son's injury claim with the school district. If you want to preserve your son's legal right to continue his personal injury claim, you MUST immediately consult with a personal injury attorney.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. If you find an attorney who will accept your son's case, he or she will be able to file a lawsuit, if necessary, before the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Under Illinois law (and all other states), filing a lawsuit "tolls" the statute of limitations. This means the statute of limitations doesn't apply anymore. As a result, whether it takes a year or longer to finalize your son's case, you will not have to be concerned with the expiration of the Illinois Statute of Limitations.

Anyone can sue anyone else at anytime. You can sue the teacher, but that doesn't mean the lawsuit has any merit. From the facts you present, while negligent, the teacher's actions don't rise to a level of gross negligence or a willful or wanton recklessness. As a result, it is likely a lawsuit against the teacher personally will not succeed.

To know whether or not you have a viable claim against the school, you need to present your son's case to several personal injury attorneys in your area. Once they review the facts in more detail, you will get a better idea of your likelihood of success in court.

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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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
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PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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