The death of a child is a tragedy few people can understand, and unfortunately, many children die of allergic reactions to food or due to choking. If you have lost a child due to a tragedy in a school cafeteria, you may be entitled to compensation. Here are a few questions to consider to see if your child's death may warrant a wrongful death claim:
1. If the death was related to an allergy, did the school know about your child's allergy?
The Centers for Disease Control have released a number of statements on how schools should respond to kids with allergies in particular. If the school knew about your child's allergy, the staff should have taken steps to protect your child from contact with that food.
2. Was a paraprofessional working with your child?
In some cases, children with allergies or children who have difficulty eating due to issues ranging from autism to downs syndrome have paraprofessionals assigned to their cases. If your child was working with a paraprofessional, that individual should have overseen the food your child was given and the way it was eaten.
If that professional failed to do that, he or she could personally be liable. In other cases, the school may be liable for putting a poorly trained paraprofessional with your child.
3. Did the school staff respond to the emergency appropriately?
Whether school officials knew about the allergy or other issue or not, they have the responsibility to respond to the emergency in a certain way. According to the CDC, schools should have epinephrine on hand, and school officials should be trained to use it. Teachers and staff should also know the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and other responses to choking.
Whether the student is having an allergic reaction, a choking incident, or some other deadly encounter with food, the school officials should contact health care emergency workers as soon as possible. If they failed to do so, they may have been negligent, and proving negligence is critical in a wrongful death suit.
4. Did the school suppress witness testimony?
After an accident of any kind, school officials should help parents and community members figure out what happened. If the school supressed witnesses by telling them not to talk or by hiding video surveillance tape of the dining room, that too may be considered negligence.
If your child died in a cafeteria accident at school, you may have a legal claim to compensation. Contact a lawyer for help with your wrongful death case. Lawyers can help you get compensated for medical bills, lost time at work, and pain and suffering.