Every parent hopes their children are safe while at school. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. handle claims arising from the misconduct of teachers, counselors, and other educational professionals.
If you are looking to pursue a school sexual abuse lawsuit in Michigan, having an attorney on your side can be essential. This type of abuse can happen when people in positions of power take advantage of vulnerable children.
While school workers are supposed to ensure intensive training and screening to prevent these incidents, examples of inappropriate sexual contact or outright abuse are common. When this occurs, both parents and students have rights under the law. This includes the right to demand payments from abusers and their employers.
The Legal Duty Owed by Schools
Regardless of consent, any sexual contact between a child a school employee is inappropriate. This can include direct contact between a student and teacher, or a circumstance where a teacher or other staff member turns a blind eye to sexual abuse on school property.
Because Michigan schools always have a duty to keep their students safe, any instance of sexual abuse that occurs on campus grounds may implicate the school as being negligent in a lawsuit. An attorney can help to investigate any instance of abuse and to identify defendants in a claim.
Suing Public Schools versus Private Institutions
While every educational institution has virtually the same duties to keep students safe, the legal liability of these schools can vary. One major factor that any sexual abuse claimant must consider when filing a lawsuit in Michigan is whether the school is a private or public institution.
Plaintiffs can name private schools as defendants in all claims alleging sexual abuse. These can include situations where a teacher is directly involved in the abuse, where they witnesses abuse occurring in on school grounds but do not intervene, or when a third party commits an offense on school property. Here, a plaintiff can allege that a school was merely negligent in not providing adequate protection.
Claims against public schools are much more complicated. Because these schools are considered entities under the State of Michigan, they enjoy protections under the concept of sovereign immunity. Traditionally, this means that the State could not be named as a defendant in a personal injury claim following an allegation against one of their employees under Michigan Compiled Law §691.1407.
However, some exceptions to this rule do exist. The same statute allows a plaintiff to hold an employee of the school personally responsible if their actions amounted to gross negligent. This means that the employee knew that there was a substantial risk of harm to the child, and that the defendant willfully ignored that risk.
Other cases may rely on allegations that a specific school-board policy led to the abuse. Regardless of the circumstances, it is essential to work with a lawyer who understands Michigan law regarding school sexual abuse lawsuits.
Contact our Michigan School Sexual Abuse Attorneys
At school, teachers and counselors are in a position of trust and power. Sadly, many educational professionals take advantage of this position.
If you or your children have been the subject of sexually-based abuse or misconduct at school, a compassionate lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. can help file your lawsuit. For help, call us today to get started on your case.
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