What should you do after your school receives a notice of claim? The legal issues involving a personal injury claim against a school will center on whether the school breached its duty of care towards its students or employees. The claimant will attempt to show that the school failed to follow a necessary procedure or was otherwise derelict or negligent in some type of obligation. Successfully defending this type of claim hinges on whether the school can clearly establish that it lived up to its duty of care. Accordingly, a school that has a clear protocol to respond to these types of situations will increase its chances of success by virtue of being prepared.

Notify the Insurer

The first, and most important, task after receiving a notice of claim on a personal injury suit is to forward the matter to the school’s risk management team and insurer. In many circumstances, the notice of claim will be anticipated since the matter will likely have been discussed in prefilling settlement negotiations.  In some cases, the injured party or their counsel may proceed to a notice of claim without attempting an informal resolution. In either case, the risk team and insurer should be notified and provided copies of any filings immediately.

The sooner these two groups are apprised of the situation the more quickly they can address the problem. Another reason for promptly forwarding any claims to the risk team and insurer is because there are deadlines by which a defendant must respond to a claim, so any delay in getting this information into right hands could jeopardize a successful defense.

Document Records

A second part of the response to a notice of claim involves gathering any records pertinent to the incident. Personal injury claims depend heavily on records of both the incident, the school’s response to the incident and any conditions that are alleged to have caused the injury. These records include, but are not limited to:  maintenance reports; personnel records; and, records of conversation or other administrative records. Once the school has responded to the claim, the parties will begin sharing information through discovery, having documents organized and ready can help legal counsel assess the situation, and reduce legal costs.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding School Receives a Notice of Claim, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Cathleen M. Dooley at  480.461.5335,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.