Teenagers who experience a fist fight in high school often suffer from a multitude of injuries. In most cases, a personal injury lawsuit for these fights is not a valid option. However, more serious injuries could occur that make lawsuits a necessity. Parents in this situation need to understand their teen’s rights and who is culpable in this situation.
School’s Have a Duty to Protect Their Students
All schools operate under a legal term known as “loco parentis.” In essence, this doctrine states that the school takes the place of a parent while children are in their care. As a result, the school has a legal duty to protect the health and well-being of their students while they are on its property. In fact, this role starts the moment a student steps on the bus to go to school.
Therefore, all employees of the school must take steps to stop or prevent injuries to the student. For example, a teacher or bus driver who notices a fist fight between two teens must take steps to intervene and to stop it from getting worse. Just as importantly, school employees must work to notice signs of potential violence and to defuse the situation to prevent a fight.
Schools that fail to provide this care typically lose fist-fight lawsuits, as most courts will consider their behaviors negligent. However, liability also falls on the teenager who started the fight, as they caused the injuries to the plaintiff through their violence. The fault falls on the defendant if they started a fight without cause and if the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries was high.
Injuries Must Be Severe Enough to Pursue a Lawsuit
The severity of fist-fight injuries varies wildly. For example, black eyes or a few bruises typically develop after most fights. The severity of these injuries is not high enough to make a lawsuit possible. However, more severe injuries could trigger a lawsuit if the injured teen was not culpable for the fight in any way.
For example, a teenager who suffers from a broken bone or a concussion during a fist fight has cause to pursue a lawsuit. Typically, when an injury requires immediate medical care to treat, it is severe enough to attempt a suit for compensation.
Evidence Necessary to Win a Case
Physical evidence in a fist fight is often hard to gather. However, photographs of the teenager immediately after the fight can show their physical damage. Other pieces of evidence, such as torn clothing or blood stains on a pair of jeans, can create a strong case against the school or the aggressor.
Just as importantly, eye-witness reports build a strong case in a fist-fight lawsuit. Find individuals who witnessed the fight and who can testify that the injured person was not at fault. These witnesses can also report how the school responded to the fight, including if they tried to stop it from escalating or if they did nothing to stop the fight.
However, doctor’s reports remain one of the most important types of evidence in fist-fight lawsuits. A doctor can discuss the severity of the teen’s injuries and detail their treatments. In this way, the judge and the court get a better idea of the danger of the fight and better understand how it impacted the teen’s health.
Help is Available for These Lawsuits
Teenagers injured in a fist fight need to work with their parents — and a high-quality personal-injury law firm — to get the compensation they deserve. So please make sure that you make an appointment with us at The Cochran Firm-Huntsville to get the help that you need to win this type of case.