Many people ask or inquire if they can sue a school district for an injury to a child or even non-student. The answer is yes! In South Carolina, tort claims against political subdivisions are governed by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, S.C. Code Ann. §§ 15-78-10 et seq., and public school districts are political subdivisions. (The South Carolina Tort Claims Act is available online at the following link: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t15c078.php) The Tort Claims Act is the statute that governs the circumstances under which a plaintiff can sue a school district and its employees while acting in their official capacities. There are many circumstances where students are injured on the property of the school and a recovery can be obtained. Also, when school employees cause a collision with a school vehicle or bus, a recovery can be made.
Under the Tort Claims Act, there is a limit to how much can be recovered against a school district (or any other governmental entity). The Act currently limits recoveries to $300,000 per person and $600,000 per occurrence, regardless of the number of political subdivisions involved. Cases that involve a wrongful death and survival action can recoup as much as $300,000 for the wrongful death cause of action and $300,000 for the survival action.
Also, under the Act, political subdivisions are answerable for the tortious conduct of their officials and employees acting within the scope of their official duties. This means that school districts can be held responsible for the conduct of their principals, teachers, staff, and even school bus drivers. In fact, both the South Carolina Department of Education and the local school districts can be liable depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular case.
It should also be mentioned that private schools can be subject to liability and are not subject to the same recovery caps that apply to suits involving public schools and school districts.
This firm has extensive experience litigating cases that are subject to the Tort Claims Act. Please contact us if you think you have a case involving an injured student or other individual injured due to tortious conduct by a school district, school, and/or its employees, and we will be happy to assist you.
Blog post by attorney Tom Killoren. Click here to read more about Tom.
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.