It is commonly accepted that school liability has increased over the past several years, and public schools, with their various exposures involving faculty, students, workers and outsiders, must contend with several concerns from multiple scenarios. The list is long; wrongful death, serious injury, sexual harassment, and bullying all present opportunities for large settlements or jury verdicts against these institutions.
However, an analysis of recent decisions in negligence cases brought against schools indicates that the frequency of lawsuits generally has not changed over the past two decades. That said, with so many risks being evident, public school insurance in Indiana should not be overlooked when considering the many coverage’s required on a daily basis.
Most settlements in favor of schools
Fortunately, the majority of outcomes have been decided conclusively in favor of the schools. More than 53 million children in the U.S. spend almost one fourth of their waking hours in school or on school property, therefore the potential scope of school liability is broad. Public perception tends to, however, distort both the extent of school liability and the nature of injuries that children sustain while at school (or when engaged in school-based activities).
While the vast majority of injuries to children at schools are accidental, the desire for many students to be awarded some type of compensation, especially when the injuries are severe, is not uncommon. Public attention to student injuries often focuses on school violence because the media often reports so many incidents of this nature.
However, studies indicate that school-aged children are nine times more likely to sustain an unintentional injury than to be the victim of an intentional injury while at school. Children under the age of fifteen sustain more than 14 million unintentional injuries each year. In all, one in fourteen students suffers a medically attended or temporarily disabling injury while at school.
Failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care
School employees are often targeted in lawsuits. If, for example, an employee of the school fails to take reasonable steps to protect a student from injury, that employee can be found negligent. In negligence cases, courts will weigh the actions of a teacher or an administrator against how a reasonable person would have acted in a similar situation. Failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care must be proven in a negligence case.
Schools provide a wonderful service to parents and students, but the concern over injuries to students can sometimes outweigh the positive aspects of higher learning. Public school insurance in Indiana is necessary to protect the interests of these valued institutions.