A Brooklyn teacher was arrested Monday after allegedly slapping and punching a 14-year-old student. The teen suffered eye injuries in the attack. The male teacher, 34, is charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
This horror story raises an important question for parents: what legal recourse do you have if someone abuses your child? Regardless of whether a criminal case is pending against the abusive person, the family of a minor – children younger than 18 – may bring a lawsuit on behalf of the child.
Some of the damages the personal injury lawsuit may seek include:
- Damages for physical injuries caused by abuse, including past, present and future medical care
- Damages for psychological harm, including expenses for counseling and psychiatric services
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment
A child-injury claim may also have unusual damages. For example, imagine a 14-year-old who is fairly independent and has not needed an after-school babysitter for years. However, the student is abused by a teacher and becomes psychologically traumatized and can no longer handle being alone after school. The student’s family could seek the cost of an after-school babysitter in its lawsuit against the teacher and school.
Another thing for parents to consider is whether the abuse occurred at a public or private school. If the wrongful acts happened at a public school, the claim will involve municipal liability and must adhere to a strict set of rules before a lawsuit may be filed in court. This municipal liability claim involves a notice of claim, which generally must be filed within 90 days of the abuse (or discovery of the abuse).
To learn more about your rights when a child has been abused by someone in a setting that is supposed to be safe – such as a daycare, school, church or home – contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.