Who's wrong, Mike? Schools carry property insurance. A claimant would file a claim. It is up to the insurance company to pay the claim or not. If it is a valid claim, then they should pay it. The problem is, once again that insurance companies deny claims as a matter of standard course these days. That's the problem. People then get angry because there is no justice. That's when they hire attorneys.
If the school is not at fault, there should not be a worry. If the school knew about a hazard on the grounds and didn't do anything to prevent injury, then the claim should be paid. This is pre-litigation. If my child skinned their knee, then it is no big deal. If my child broke their leg because she/he was running while playing tag and fell in a big open hole with no warning markers, then it is the fault of the school and their insurance company should pay for the medical bills.
There used to be insurance offered in school for just this kind of thing. I think my parents used to pay something like $25 or $50 per year for it. Whatever happened to that?
We pay insurance for everything. For instance, automobile liability insurance is required in many states. Insurance carriers have a multi-billion dollar industry just in liability insurance and yet their practice nowaday is to deny claims. The only claims I see settle pre-lawsuit these days are death, paraplegia, and multiple broken bones and pemanent disability claims. And those cases won't settle if there is even a slim chance the insurance company's attorneys can sway a jury into thinking the responsible party wasn't really responsible--it was just one of those things....accidents happen....and believe it or not, that flies sometimes. By gum, I've even seen cases where the guilty party was an ex-con, drunk and on drugs go to trial and only render the Plaintiff, who sustained back injuries which required surgery, a couple of thousand dollars. Seems to me, it would have made more sense to save the cost of litigation/trial for the insurance company just to go ahead and be nice and pay the guy's medical expenses if the drunk drug addict caused the accident. But the insurance companies have spent millions of dollars convincing the general public/jury poll that all lawsuits are frivolous and that's what makes our rates go up. Check out the net profits of Allstate and State Farm for the last couple of years. You will see they are at an all-time high. Cost of litigation, my eye! While you're at it, contact various state insurance commissions and attorneys general, and check out the number of insurance code violations that have been found by insurance companies in the last several years. But that doesn't even phase companies like State Farm or Allstate.
Allstate, for instance, has a giant computer god, called Colossus. When adjusters get a claim, they plug in the injury, the age of the claimant and any personal information they have on the claimant, and see what Colossus tells them. For soft-tissue injury cases, Colossus usually tells them with its facts and figures that the case is winnable, especially if the claimant is over a certain age, if a lawsuit were filed and not to offer any settlement or maybe just the initial ER bills and one doctor's visit, or the absolute low-ball figure. Google Colossus and Allstate and see what you find. It will probably make you very happy, but it has made an awful lot of people very, very angry.
The courts are processing cases (going to trial) here in Texas (the typical fender bender type) in about a year after a lawsuit is filed. Sometimes, it takes up to 18 months for some nerve damage and back/neck/shoulder injuries to fully manifest. Insurance companies know this and have set the environment here through lobbying for particular legislation that has crippled claimants in even knowing the extent of their injuries sometimes. There is so much more to this topic that could be discussed but it is not pertinent to your thread.
Suffice it to say, I'm going back to blaming the galldang insurance companies for our litigous society. But Ron and Reb are right, too -- if everyone would just do the right thing, there would be much less litigation. People, most people, sue when they are mad. What makes them mad? Getting the runaround and injustice. Why, I used to work for a medical malpractice defense attorney who would give seminars to many doctors about how to avoid litigation. One of the biggest things he addressed was their communication skills and bedside manner.
Having been through a lawsuit myself, I can tell you, it is no fun; it's a major disrupting hassle; your whole life is put on display; you're made to feel like the guilty party instead of the victim. Filing a lawsuit in my book is the absolute last resort.
[This message has been edited by iliana (10-27-2006 05:57 PM).]