8311 - Limited Claim Settlement
Applicability To Certain Claims
On occasion the Avery County Board of Education is presented with claims against the Board of Education from students, parents, or other citizens for injuries to person or property sustained while on a Board of Education property or at a school sponsored event. The Board adopts this policy so it can consider and process all such claims in a fair and equitable manner taking into consideration the economic resources available to the Board of Education. The Board will only consider claims under this policy when the applicable insurance agreement and/or coverage agreement, if any, does not provide for the consideration, settlement and/or adjustment of claims prior to legal action being filed by the claimant in a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon the filing of a complaint, the Board will immediately refer all claims to the appropriate insurance company or coverage provider for appropriate action.
Procedure for Filing Claim
All claims shall be made to the Superintendent in writing and shall include a detailed account of how the injury occurred, whether Board employees were involved, and the amount of damages suffered by the claimant. The claimant should include all supporting documentation and any other information they believe is relevant. The Superintendent, or his/her designee, will investigate the incident and, if necessary, provide supplemental information to the Board.
After receiving the claim, the Board, in consultation with its attorney, shall determine whether to pay the claim, deny the claim, or make an offer to settle the claim.
In determining whether to settle a claim prior to the filing of a legal action, the Board shall consider the factors listed below. Before any final decision is reached, the Board's attorney shall ensure that the factors were considered by the Board in arriving at its final decision.
- Whether there is a reasonable possibility that the potential defense costs to be paid by the Board, including an estimate of personnel time and district resources, will exceed the amount for which the case can be settled.
- The extent to which an employee's actions or omissions may have caused, or contributed to, an injury.
- Whether an employee intentionally caused an injury.
- Whether there are any affirmative defenses available to the Board in the event of litigation. However, the Board shall not assert or consider the availability of Sovereign / Governmental Immunity for any pre-litigation claim.
- Whether the demand is within the retention or deductible level for monetary payments pursuant to any applicable insurance or coverage agreement.
Each claim will be evaluated according to the specific circumstances. All factors need not be given equal weight and no one factor shall be controlling.
The payment of any claim shall be subject to the claimant(s) executing a full release of liability in favor of the Board of Education, its employees, and agents. The release shall be on a form approved by the Board of Education attorney.
By considering whether to settle a claim, the Board does not waive any affirmative defenses available to it or its employees, including but not limited to the defenses of governmental, sovereign, qualified, or public official immunity, or contributory negligence. These defenses may be asserted by the Board of Education should the claimant(s) choose to file a lawsuit.