Abigail (Abby) Zwerner, a first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, made headlines back in January when she was seriously injured from being shot by a six-year-old student who brought a loaded handgun to school. This unfortunate incident has led to Zwerner and her legal team filing a lawsuit against the Newport School District, which is a lengthy 20-page document that outlines several claims of gross negligence and breach of duty. Zwerner asserts that the school had prior knowledge of the child’s violent tendencies and that he had brought the gun to the school on the very day of the shooting, yet the administration took no action to prevent or address it.
In a surprising twist to the case, the school administration is attempting to diminish the amount it pays in a lawsuit by re-categorizing the incident as a worker’s compensation case. The lawsuit in question is seeking $40 million in damages, however, the school believes they could pay significantly less if the case falls under the classification of a workplace injury.
The law stipulates that schools are responsible for ensuring their campuses are safe environments for both students and staff. This includes mitigating hazards and taking preventative measures to prevent harm. Therefore, if the accusations hold true, the school could be viewed as being directly responsible for any ensuing harm or injuries.
The school’s attempt to re-classify the case highlights the potential extent its legal team is willing to go to avoid damages. Worker’s compensation guidelines have set schedules, which means that the school’s liability could be significantly reduced.
Zwerner’s lawsuit seeks to hold the responsible parties accountable and make sure that safeguards are enacted to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Here in Indiana, if someone wishes to file a lawsuit against a school, they must first send a claims notice to the school corporation within 180 days after the incident, according to Indiana Code 34-13-3. The claims notice must contain a description of the claim, including the date, location and any injuries or damages sustained.
If the claims notice is not sent within the 180-day window, the claimant may lose their right to file a lawsuit against the school. Therefore, it is essential to follow specific procedures and timelines required by law to ensure that your rights are protected. Following the legal procedures and timelines is crucial when filing a lawsuit against a school in Indiana. By doing so, individuals can ensure that their rights are protected and they have the opportunity to hold the responsible parties accountable.
If you are involved in a complex personal injury matter and reside in Indiana, be sure contact a personal injury attorney at Hurst Limontes LLC and we will assess your case at no cost to you. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. We work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we reach a settlement or jury verdict award on your behalf.
Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.
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