Suing a Town or School in Connecticut for a Personal Injury
Towns and boards of education have a duty of care to the community in terms of safety measures, but there are times they come up short. Personal injury law in Connecticut, in general, can become very complicated, especially with the addition of governmental immunity and the muddled laws surrounding filing personal injury claims. While the towns and schools can be sued in Connecticut, it’s not as cut and dry as suing a person or corporation.
While it is possible to sue a town or school, they may assert governmental immunity, leading to complications. There are a few issues that are important to understand regarding governmental immunity, though there are further issues and complications outside of the few examples.
Discretionary Act Immunity
If a town employee is working on behalf of the public and uses their judgment and discretion to aid the public, they cannot be liable for negligent acts or omissions. The point of this act is to protect town employees, both who have discarded the safety measures and the innocent employees trying to work in favor of the public. The act aims to work on behalf of government employees and allow them to act in their best judgment rather than worrying about potential consequence.
So, if an employee does not follow safety protocol but it was a discretionary act trying to help people, they are able to act in those best interests. However, if the employee is discarding the safety protocol but it is not a discretionary act, they can be held accountable, such as ignoring public safety to take a joy ride on the sidewalks rather than driving on a sidewalk to get someone medical attention.
A ministerial act includes duties a public employee is required to perform as described, without the use of judgment or discretion. The best example of these acts is driving. When an employee, whether governmental or police, is on the road, they must obey traffic laws and are not protected by immunity. This is because operating outside of traffic laws can cause car accidents and general confusion to the public.
Having an identifiable victim can serve as an exception to immunity but must have the following elements:
- Plaintiff was identifiable on their claims of negligence against the defendant.
- Damages suffered were unavoidable due to the action or inaction of the defendant.
- Defendant knew or should have known action or inaction taken was likely to cause the alleged harm.
Proving these elements can be difficult as they are subject to the circumstance of the situation. However, they can be successful. Cases where a child was bullied and there were no steps taken by the school have been proven due to records of the child reporting the bullying or witnesses of the obvious bullying.
If you are thinking of pursuing justice against a school or town in Connecticut, our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to learn more.