If I was injured while working for a public school, why is it so difficult to sue for damages?

UPDATED: Jul 29, 2013

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If I was injured while working for a public school, why is it so difficult to sue for damages?

Asked on July 29, 2013 under Personal Injury, District of Columbia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are several reasons:

1) If you are covered by Worker's Compensation, the Worker's Comp is an alternative to suing--it provides faster, more certain compensation at the expense of being able to sue. You cannot get Worker's Comp and also sue for the injury.

2) A school is a government entity; there are strict rules about how to sue government entities, including notice requirements, shorter than usual time frames to institute the claim, etc.

3) Similarly, government entities have immunities from certain kinds of lawsuits.

4) The school, like any other employer, is not automatically responsible for all employee injuries (other than as they qualify for Worker's Compenation; see #1, above); generally, they would only be liable if somehow "at fault," and so would not be responsible or liable in most cases if you were injured by a student; a student's parent; or due to an accident not under the school's control (e.g., you happened to trip on undamaged stairs; or strained your back moving a chair or desk).



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