Can an injured teacher sue a school district?

I was injured breaking up a fight after entering a classroom full of unattended
students not my classroom. I am having trouble with my lower back and neck and
have required x-rays, MRI, and physical therapy. Worker’s comp is paying for
medical bills and my time out. If my injuries are proven to be long term or have
a life long effect, do I have a case against the school district? For example, I
can no longer stand for more than a 20 minutes at a time, or go up and down
stairs without discomfort. This hinders my ability to perform a job that I have
done for over 20 years.

Asked on November 1, 2019 under Personal Injury, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You are likely entitled to Worker's Compensation, since it is an on-the-job injury. 
Worker's compensation is likely your only recourse. You would not be able to sue the school district in most cases unless you can prove that the district's negligence or carelessness caused your injury, which is very difficult to do when the injury is caused by being attacked by or in the middle of a fight between other people: the school is not liable for the students' essentially criminal and deliberately wrongful act unless you can prove the school district's actions contributed in a material way to the fight and your injuriues occuring.
Also, if you get and do take Worker's Comp, it is an exclusive remedy against the district; the law gives you Worker's Comp or let's you try suing, if you believe you have a case--you can't do both. Most injured workers take the WC since it is guaranteed and you get it faster; lawsuits can take many months or even years, and you are not certain of winning.
You could sue the families of the students who hurt you, if you believe they have enough money to make suing worthwhile: parents/legal guardians are liable for the wrongful acts of their minors.


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