FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-19
No parent likes to contemplate the idea of his or her child being injured while at school. Parents like to believe that school is a safe place for children, but sometimes accidents happen — with tragic results. In such cases, parents may need help paying for the care necessitated by their children’s injuries, which is why schools carry insurance.
However, Pennsylvania limits the amount of money that school districts can pay to compensate students for at-school injuries. A headline-grabbing school-bus accident in Pennsylvania has caused some state lawmakers to seek to reform awards caps in such personal injury claims.
Tragic School-Bus Accident
In 2007, Ashley Zauflik suffered serious injuries when an out-of-control school bus ran her over at Pennsbury High School. The bus crushed Zauflick’s pelvis and doctors had to amputate her left leg above the knee. Zauflick sued the school, and in December 2011, a jury awarded her $14 million for her medical expenses and pain and suffering.
The school district argued that it could not pay the full amount of the award, despite having an $11 million umbrella insurance policy, because of a state law that limits damage payouts in civil lawsuits against schools to $500,000.
Legislators Respond with Ashley’s Law
Two legislators who represent towns within the Pennbury school district plan on bringing legislation, named “Ashley’s Law” in Zauflik’s honor, to change the law capping damages in lawsuits against school districts. The lawmakers seek to correct what they see as injustice in Zauflick’s case from happening again in the future. They do not want other children, injured through no fault of their own, to have to suffer financially as well as physically should they get injured while at school.
Consult an Attorney
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be difficult, and it is even more difficult when a person has to fight with insurance companies to get the money he or she needs to help in recovery. If you have been injured in an accident, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you receive just and proper compensation for your injuries.