Personal Injury Claim for Bullying
Bullying is a serious problem that has always affected children. In recent years, researchers, school teachers and administrators, and families have begun to take the issue more seriously. Sincere attempts are being made to catch warning signs and step in when a child is at risk.
There are no easy answers to solving the problem of bullying but bullying prevention approaches that offer the best results involve coming at the problem from multiple sides.
Can I make a personal injury claim for bullying?
Yes, there are situations where a personal injury claim for bullying is appropriate:
- The actions meet the definition of bullying.
- A school or other authority figure acts negligently by knowingly ignoring requests for help or failing to step in to protect a child who is being bullied.
- The bullying led to damages such as mental and/or physical health issues, depression and / or anxiety, and psychological stress.
- Recoverable damages for a bullying case include pain and suffering, mental health counseling, medical bills, and loss of income and future earning potential if relevant. A wrongful death action may be appropriate if a child is bullied into committing suicide.
The following bullying statistics are found on stopbullying.gov:
- Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school.
- The majority of bullying happens in middle school; most often in the form of verbal and social bullying.
- The biggest risk factor for being bullied is a perception that the person is different from their peers.
- Often, groups of children gang up on a child to bully them.
- Children from all types of backgrounds can become bullies.
- Some children who are bullied also bully others; these youth have the highest risk factor for behavioral, mental health, and academic problems.
Washington State bullying information
In 2002, Washington adopted a law that makes it illegal to harass, intimidate or bully another in Washington schools. In 2007, Washington amended the law to include all forms of online harassment.
RCW 28A.300.285 requires every school district in Washington State to have a policy that prohibits the harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student. Schools are required to share this policy with parents or guardians, students, volunteers, and school employees.
For an action to be considered bullying in Washington State, it needs to meet the following definition as written on the State of Washington’s Bullying Fact Sheet:
“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property; or
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education; or
- Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.”
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced personal injury attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced personal injury attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!