Son run over by classmate while working on class project...

by Stacey
(Santa Rosa, CA)

In May 2016 my 16 yr old son was participating in an off-campus school project. This project was assigned and approved by the teacher. Note: This was not the regular class (science) teacher that approved this project. It was the school's athletic director who was subbing in the class.

The kids showed him the assignment and he approved. The suggested use of settings to be used involved was a vehicle. The assignment was to film a movie (my son’s theme was a comedy-horror). During the filming of this movie, my son’s 15 year old classmate ran him over and he sustained numerous fractures to his pelvis, and other fractures.

The school’s curriculum is based on “project based learning.” That said, my son’s participation is not voluntary. My question is this: Do you think I have enough to file a claim against the school and getting a summary judgment to a jury? How can we get compensation for my son's injuries and treatment? Thank you.

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ANSWER for "Son run over by classmate while working on class project...":

Stacey (Santa Rosa, CA):

A school district has a legal duty to take all reasonable steps to assure students on campus and in events sponsored by the school off campus are protected from undue harm and injuries.

The question here is whether the school's athletic director did everything within reason to protect your son during the off-campus school event.

To that end, it's unlikely the 15 year old boy who injured your son was licensed to drive. Moreover, it is likely the school's athletic director knew the 15 year old was unlicensed. It's arguable the athletic director's failure to prohibit the 15 year old from driving can be considered gross negligence.

From the facts you present, the school district should readily agree to pay your son's medical bills, your out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as your son's medications, bandages, slings, etc.), your lost wages (presuming you had to take time off from work to care for your son), and for your son's pain and suffering.

While you can file an injury claim with the school district, attempting to file a lawsuit on your own would be a serious mistake. At the level of your son's damages, filing a lawsuit would require you to create a Petition, and include in it the legal elements of a personal injury case.

Moreover, the Petition would then have to be properly served on the registered agent for the school district. That's just be the beginning. If you were to somehow manage those actions, it is likely the school district's attorneys would file a Motion for Summary Judgment.

A Motion for Summary Judgment is basically a request by a defendant to the court asking the court to immediately dismiss the case without going any further. This means no depositions, no trial, no court hearings, etc.

The basis of a Summary Judgement is the defendant's position that the plaintiff's Petition does not contain the legal elements necessary to go forward. Without the existence of the required legal elements, there is no reason to go any further. As a result, the Motion asks the court to summarily dismiss the plaintiff's case.

While no one would doubt you have the required elements to successfully proceed against the school district, to avoid having your lawsuit summarily dismissed by the school's attorneys, seek the counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Here's how to choose the best injury attorney for your case.

Your son's injuries are just too serious to take a chance of having your lawsuit summarily dismissed by the court.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge any legal fees for initial office consultations. Gather your son's medical bills and seek out several opinions from local injury attorneys in your area.

A personal injury attorney has a plethora of legal tools available to secure the highest possible amount for your son, even after their fees and costs are subtracted from the final settlement or court award.

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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