Over the last twenty years, there has been a disturbing increase in the number of shootings at U.S. schools. These shootings have taken place in almost every state and have affected families from all walks of life. The school district has a responsibility to ensure that their schools are safe and secure environments for your children. And as these shootings continue, school districts have been put on notice of the potential for more of them to occur in the future.
Consequently, school administrators must adapt to the dangers that these shootings pose and put policies in place that are meant to prevent would-be shooters from coming onto school grounds and committing these horrific acts. When they fail to do so, they may be held liable and forced to pay damages to the victims and families of gun violence. Here’s more on school shootings and suing the school district.
George Law is highly experienced in trial litigation as well as legal issues involving schools. Our team of expert Michigan litigation attorneys has the knowledge and experience to provide you with the best representation possible for your claim.
Recent School Shooting Lawsuits
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, where 17 people lost their lives, the victims and their families filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming that they failed to protect them. The lawsuit, which initially could have been capped at $300,000, was recently settled for $130 million. The victims’ families sued the school district under a claim of negligence. They argued that the school failed in its duty to protect its students and provide a safe and secure campus. They also claimed that the school district ignored the numerous warning signs that, if acted upon, could have prevented the tragedy.
This is not the only case where a school district has been sued due to a school shooting. More recently, the Oxford School shooting victims have filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court claiming that the school district was negligent in preventing the tragedy and protecting its students. The victims claim that the school’s staff and counselors failed at virtually every turn and are partly to blame for the devastating attack. The shooting was committed by an Oxford student who had raised concerns about his desire to harm his fellow students, but he was permitted to remain on campus after a meeting with his parents. The victims are requesting damages of $100 million. The suit is currently pending and is working its way through the Michigan federal court system.
School Districts Have A Duty To Keep Your Child Safe
When your child steps onto school grounds, the school has a duty to make sure they are safe. This means that if they are aware of potential dangers, they must take the appropriate and necessary steps to address those dangers. This can involve removing a violent or threatening student or checking for weapons in lockers or backpacks. Because school shootings have become commonplace, school administrators must take every threat seriously, and if they fail to do so and your child is harmed, then you may be able to hold the district liable.
This also means that all schools should have an emergency plan in place in the event a shooting takes place. This plan must prepare the students and staff to take the necessary steps to protect them from an active shooter situation. Without a plan, students can be left in a highly vulnerable position amidst chaos and confusion.
Can I Sue The School District?
It was not common for the victims of school shootings to sue the school district until recently. Because a student usually commits school shootings, the school district often escapes liability by claiming they had no way of preventing a deranged and disturbed student from committing these unspeakable acts. Because school districts are a part of the state government, there may be laws that limit what you can sue for and how much you can receive.
In the past, some victims of school shootings resorted to suing gun manufacturers to hold them responsible for the harm that they suffered. But recent court cases have created a pathway for victims of school shootings to now hold the school district accountable for their inability to keep them safe. This is usually done through either a negligent security lawsuit or a civil rights lawsuit. In either case, if you or your child has been the victim of a school shooting, you may be able to receive damages from the school district if you can prove that they failed to create a safe environment or failed to act when they were alerted to potential danger.
It is important to understand that you may be able to sue the school district even if your child was not directly physically harmed by the shooting. Emotional damages may be available if your child witnessed a shooting or was shot at. The emotional scars that can develop from seeing close friends die can have lifelong effects. What this means is that you may be able to receive compensation for the infliction of emotional distress that comes from being involved in a school shooting.
If you are considering suing a school district, then you will need to file your lawsuit in the correct court. You should also be aware of state or federal laws that deal with suing a state agency or sub-division. The law also places limits on when you can file your lawsuit. Depending on where you file, you may have as little as one year from the incident to file your claim in court. Because these lawsuits can be complex, it is recommended that you hire an experienced attorney to help you obtain justice. Critically, filing your lawsuit in the wrong place or after the statute of limitations has expired may result in your case being dismissed.
Michigan School Shooting Attorneys
If you or a loved one is a school shooting victim, contact a personal injury attorney for guidance and direction. George Law’s skilled personal injury attorneys will work hard to help ensure that you get maximum compensation and justice. To contact George Law for a free consultation, call (248) 470-4300 or contact us online.