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SCHOOL RESPONSIBILITY IN A CAR ACCIDENT

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PJ1956

Guest
My daughter was involved in a three car collision while running an errand for a teacher (not a personal errand either, there was a school function and the teacher requested that my child go get more supplies because he didn't want to do it himself). Luckily no one was injured (our car got the worst of it, it was totaled) but what responsibility does the school bear for this fiasco? What if, God forbid, someone had been killed or worse? This happened in NY.
 


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DrunkN_MastR

Guest
If your daughter was at fault in this accident (whether she admits it or not), then you should just count your blessings... in my own personal opinion I think she should be responsible for her own driving, but that's just me - if she was absolutely NOT at fault however, in this day and age you could have the teacher fired and probably sue for damages if that's what you truely want...
 
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PJ1956

Guest
My daughter is only 16, she just got her juniior lic a month ago (in NY, you can drive with a Jr Lic only to work and school, which is why my girl didn't get a citation from the police). As for who was at fault, it was bumper to bumper traffic, the car in front of her stopped short (a Suburban with oversized tires, our car is a Neon), the Surburban plowed into the car in front of him (another Surburban) and then my daughter hit him. My daughter was going so slow (10-15mi), the airbag didn't even deploy. But the whole front end was smooshed. But that's beside the point. My daughter wouldn't have been on the road if the teacher hadn't asked her to go to the market for him. I feel he showed extremely poor judgement.
 
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PJ1956

Guest
I just got off the phone with the claims adjuster for my insurance company, who also happens to be the owner of the all pro body shop that will fix the car. He said my daughter was not at fault in the accident, based on the damage! He said there was no way a Neon going 10-15mi (if that) could propel a Ford Suburban with oversized tires into another Suburban (basically, he said our poor little car went right underneath the Surburban.)
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face=" Arial, Verdana, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PJ1956:
I just got off the phone with the claims adjuster for my insurance company, who also happens to be the owner of the all pro body shop that will fix the car. He said my daughter was not at fault in the accident, based on the damage! He said there was no way a Neon going 10-15mi (if that) could propel a Ford Suburban with oversized tires into another Suburban (basically, he said our poor little car went right underneath the Surburban.) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My response:

I wouldn't be too quick to think that your daughter is completely home free in this matter. Let's not forget, despite HOW she got on the road, and WHY she was there, she IS a licensed driver and responsible for following the "rules of the road" because the fact remains, she was the one behind the wheel of the Neon. All because she was on an errand for someone else, does not exonerate her from following the laws of the road. In this instance, she was following to closely, and should have kept a safe margin of distance between herself and the Suburban. I don't doubt that your mechanic is correct to say that a Neon could not push a Suburban (much); however, the fact remains that if your daughter was keeping a safe distance behind the Suburban, she could have stopped in time to avoid rear-ending the Suburban. But for her failure to keep a safe distance from the Suburban, her part of the accident would never have occurred. So, your daughter is not completely fault free, or off the hook, in this matter.

IAAL



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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."

 
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PJ1956

Guest
The policeman at the accident scene said the street in question was a parking lot. Also had an illuminating talk with our insurance claims adjuster. It looks like they are going after the MIDDLE driver because his version of the accident is simply implausable. And I also spoke to the school principal, who said that what the teacher did was inexcusable and against school policy.
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face=" Arial, Verdana, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PJ1956:
The policeman at the accident scene said the street in question was a parking lot. Also had an illuminating talk with our insurance claims adjuster. It looks like they are going after the MIDDLE driver because his version of the accident is simply implausable. And I also spoke to the school principal, who said that what the teacher did was inexcusable and against school policy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


My response:

So, I want to make sure I understand your position. Are you saying that your daughter has no responsibility at all for any of the damages, or a "cause" of her portion of this accident?

The reason why I'm asking is that you seem to be putting a lot of "stock" in the argument that "what the teacher did was inexcusable and against school policy". That may be absolutely, 100% correct. No doubt about it. Slam dunk. But, your daughter could have said no, and that argument is only good between the teacher and the school - - it has no bearing on your daughter's own negligence.

Whether or not the teacher asked your daughter to go on the errand is beside the point. Asking someone to drive is not the "efficient, proximate, legal, cause" of your daughter's negligence concerning her part of the accident.

Once she's accepts the assignment to go on the errand, and once she's behind the wheel of a vehicle, no matter what the reason, or no matter who told her, but once she becomes "the captain of that ship" she can't, by law, throw the Vehicle Code Statutes and the "Rules of the Road" out the window. You and she signed her license application with the full and complete understanding that she would agree to abide by all of the laws when driving; and she was negligent by "following too closely". She saw films in this regard in Driver's Education, and her driving instructor had to have made that a part of the lessons when she was learning in school.

IAAL


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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."

 
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PJ1956

Guest
Please understand, I am not excusing my daughter in this. Of course she bears some culpability in this mess. She is only 16 and only had her Jr Lic a month (and in NY, Driver's Ed is not mandatory. My husband and I have been teaching her how to drive for the past year).

But the school principal told me that no matter what, Heather should not have been put in a position where she felt OBLIGATED to run the teacher's errand (she did not volunteer, he told he to do it). Heather had already WALKED to a nearby store to see if they would donate cups for the event. At that point, the teacher should have dropped the matter entirely or, as the principal noted, the teacher should have CHECKED beforehand to make sure he had enough supplies for the event.

Heather feels wretched enough. She says she will never drive again. We were very lucky. But as the principal said himself, this incident should have never occurred and he told me that the teacher had showed poor judgement.

As one teacher said to Heather today (this teacher was so disgusted, he didn't even want to know the name of the teacher in question) this bozo could be fired.

And on top of that, after the accident occurred and other students and teachers came to my poor Heather's aid and comfort, this bonehead teacher had only thing to say to the kids: "Make sure you get the cups." He didn't even bother to see for himself if Heather had been injured. Over the weekend he must have realized he was in deep **** because this morning he went to my daughter's locker and made a big show of saying how sorry he was. And this is the kind of guy we want teaching our kids?
 
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PJ1956

Guest
Wanted advice on new developments. An attorney we consulted said we had a clear cut case of negligence against the school district, but the gist of it is that since Heather wasn't maimed, seriously injured or killed, dollar wise, it's not worth it for them to take case on. Otherwise, we'd be looking at a million dollar lawsuit. But the lawyer said we had 90 days to file a claim against the district. I had spoken to the school principal on Monday, who offered his apologies and said the teacher had displayed an appalling lack of judgement. Since I had told the principal that were exploring our legal options, I had assumed that he had informed his bosses at the district. Well, to make it short and sweet, I finally called the Supt. of Schools yesterday morning (the Supt. was on vacation, so I got her Asst.) who was AGHAST and HORRIFIED that this was the FIRST time the board was being told of the accident. She seemed to be especially upset that the principal, as she put it, had breached the chain of command and broken protocal by not informing the school board the minute he had been informed by the teacher on Monday (it looks like the principal was hoping to sweep the matter under the rug). The Asst. Supt. reiterated several times that the teacher was at fault, not my daughter (who, as it turns out, was told not once, but THREE times by this moron, to run out and buy supplies for the booth). The Asst. asked me to bring a copy of the police report down to district headquarters, which I did, where she informed me that she had personally called the Supt. (who's on vacation) of the accident and that she too was horrified, and that the School Board Prez had been notified as well, and that she too was mortified. I was told that now a case was being assembled and that the matter would be brought up before the entire school board at the next meeting for "disciplinary action."

Now this is all nice and good, and all the higher-up mucky mucks say they are horrified and shocked and dismayed, but so far I've heard nothing about compensating us for the hassle and aggravation we've had to endure due to this teacher's malfeasance. And since I know we have only 90 days to file a claim, I'm wondering what our next move should be. Knowing the beaucracy involved, I'm afraid that they might be giving us lip service until the 90 days are up.

Since it looks like the district is accepting responsibility for this fiasco, what should we do? Should I call their attorney on my own and try to settle this out of court before all the embarrassing details become public record (and believe me, when the Asst. Supt. heard how the teacher behaved after the accident, she was speechless.)

Any advice appreciated.
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
My response:

Go ahead, make your Public Entity claim.

Insofar as the teacher is concerned, a) nothing will happen to him, or b) he'll be suspended, or c) he'll be fired.

Okay, so what? How do any of those choices impact your daughter?

Insofar as your daughter's damages are concerned, yes, she will be compensated after a long, drawn out fight. Public Entities never, never, merely roll over and pay damages. You'll wind up filing a lawsuit with you and your daughter as Plaintiff's. However, when all is said and done, and for the 3 years you'll be involved in this matter, she's come out with about $3,000.00.

Hardly worth the effort.

IAAL

------------------
By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."

 
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Sassypants

Guest
Aw cummon lady, are you going to sue anyone who asks your daughter to do something? What if she did this errand for you!! The day you recieve your license is the day the responsibility starts. Drop it, thank your lucky stars, and get a better life than you want to make for your daughter. Your daughter deserves a better role model than how you serve your viiiindictivenessss on others. Good day
 
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PJ1956

Guest
Sassypants, put a sock on it. I am hardly being vindictive. If the teacher had had the common decency to at least see for himself how my daughter was after the accident, I might feel more kindly towards him, but his only reaction at the time was to tell the other kids to "make sure they got the cups", when the car was already on the tow truck. My kid, who was crying hysterically, had to climb into the car to get his stupid coffee cups. Worse, the teacher went to my daughter on Monday and asked her if she even had her drivers license. When I spoke to the Asst. Supt., I told her that the case could be made that Heather should have refused the teacher's requests, and the Asst. Supt. flat out said that Heather shouldn't even have been put in the position of having to say yes or no, she should have never been asked. I find it odd that you so called legal beagles are giving a pass to the school district, when they themselves admit they were totally and wholly at fault. Right now I have no car, lost pay at work, and have to worry about whether or not our ins co. is going to raise our rates or even drop us entirely. As for the teacher himself, I have no sympathy. I hope the bum does get fired but knowing the teachers union, he'll probably get a slap on the wrist. This time it was only a car that got smashed, next time it might be a kid who gets killed.
 

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