Field trips are a fun way for students to get out of the classroom and experience a new environment, but what happens when one dies during a trip? The devastation caused by these incidents often force parents to sue the school or the teacher. Here's what you need to understand about these types of cases.
Duties Of The Teacher Towards Safety Of Their Students
When your child goes on a field trip, they are put under the care of their teacher. This teacher has become their caregiver in a situation beyond your control and outside the control of the school. As a result, their duty to protect your child and keep them save in this new environment is incredibly high.
For example, section WAC 180-87-010 of the Washington State public policy goals for licensed teachers claims that teachers have the duty "To protect the health, safety, and general welfare of students within the state of Washington." This means that teachers have a "duty of care" to your children and must behave in a way that is not negligent of their safety. If they do, they may be liable for their death.
Proving Teacher Negligence
Proving negligence is difficult because it requires proving that the teacher behaved in a way that directly contributed to the child's death. For example, if your child goes on a field trip with a teacher in a school van, and the teacher neglects to check your child's safety belt, they may be considered negligent in a car crash death. Proving this negligence requires testimony from witnesses and other corroborating evidence.
Does A Permission Slip Avoid School Responsibility?
Sometimes, a school will try to back out of these types of cases by stating that signed permission slips waive a school's responsibilities for injuries. In many states, such permission slips have been ruled unenforceable by higher courts, due both to the financial burden placed on the parent and the obviously neglectful behavior of a teacher.
For example, a judge in one Iowa case ruled that: "We conclude preinjury releases executed by parents purporting to waive the personal injury claims of their minor children violate public policy and are therefore unenforceable." This is important to remember if you ever fall victim to a case like this.
If you are going through a case like this and are worried about your chances of winning, please contact a wrongful death attorney right away. They can do all the hard work for you and let you move on through the grieving process.Share