Can a School District Be Sued for Injuries to Students?

Posted On December 21, 2021 Personal Injury by John Allen Phebus


Children spend a large portion of their time on school grounds. It is no surprise, therefore, that many child injuries occur at schools every year. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and injury, the parents of an injured child may be able to file a lawsuit against the school or the school district for financial compensation. Learn when it is possible to sue a school district in Arizona.

Common Types of Accidents on School Grounds

A school in Arizona can contain various injury risks – especially if staff members, janitors and maintenance crews have failed to properly maintain a safe premises. Some of the most common accidents that cause serious student injuries are:

  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • School bus accidents
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Gym and sports accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Injuries at recess
  • Playground equipment injuries
  • Lack of student supervision
  • Injuries on a field trip
  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Harassment or discrimination
  • Physical or sexual abuse

These incidents can cause moderate to severe student injuries, including bone fractures, muscle injuries, concussions and brain injuries, lacerations, amputations, and emotional distress. Whether or not a family has grounds to sue for a student injury depends on the circumstances of the case.

When Is a School District Liable for Student Injuries?

Not every accident and injury on school grounds in Arizona will give rise to a personal injury case. The family must have valid legal grounds to bring a claim, such as negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty. Negligence is the most common doctrine used. It refers to the failure of an individual or entity to use proper care, resulting in an injury to another person. If the owner of a school or a staff member negligently failed to maintain a safe premises, resulting in a student injury, for example, this could give the student’s family grounds to file a premises liability claim in Glendale against the school.

If a family does have the right to bring an injury claim for a school-related injury, it may be the school district that is named as the defendant in a lawsuit. A legal doctrine known as vicarious liability makes school districts in Arizona legally responsible for accidents and injuries that take place on public school properties, in most cases. If your child was injured at a public school in Arizona, you will most likely be able to sue the school district using the doctrine of vicarious liability.

How to Sue a School District in Arizona

To bring a lawsuit against a school district in Arizona, there must be evidence that the district is responsible for causing your child to be injured. Evidence may take the form of photographs, campus video surveillance footage, signed eyewitness statements, expert testimony, medical records and letters from a doctor. Under the rule of sovereign immunity that applies to government entities, your lawsuit against a school district will also come with special procedural rules and requirements.

For example, a claim against the government in Arizona has a shorter statute of limitations, or deadline for filing, than a standard personal injury claim. Under the Arizona Tort Claims Act, you only have 180 days to bring a cause of action against a government agency. There is an exception, however, for victims under the age of 18. These individuals have 180 days from their 18th birthdays to file tort claims. Your family must send a Notice of Claim to the school district in question with details of the accident and your demand for a certain dollar amount in compensation by your deadline for a valid claim.

The best way to handle an injury claim after an accident that harms your child at a public school in Arizona is by contacting an attorney. An attorney can represent your family throughout the claims process, protecting your legal rights when going up against a powerful school district and fighting for maximum financial compensation on your behalf. Assistance from a lawyer can make all the difference to your legal claim. Contact The Law Offices of John Phebus Glendale Criminal and Personal Injury Lawyer today for a free consultation about your family’s rights.