State Reps Hope to Help Injured Students Through “Ashley’s Law”

Pennsylvania State Representatives are proposing a bill, called “Ashley’s Law” that would abolish the current law capping the amount of money a school district can pay toward a defendant. The law is named for Ashley Zauflik, a Pennsbury High School student, who was severely injured when an out of control school bus struck and ran over her at Falls High School. Because of the accident, Ashley lost one leg above the knee and suffered a crushed pelvis.

Zauflik should have received $14 million after the accident to help cover pain and suffering for her amputation and broken pelvis in addition to her medical costs. Unfortunately, state law capped school district’s liability at $500,000, meaning that she would barely have enough money to cover the first of her many surgeries.

Two Pennsylvania Representatives, John Galloway and Steve Santarsiero, feel the 1978 law is outdated and unfair. In the Zauflik case, the school district had purchased $10 million in insurance but the insurance company will not pay anything more than $500,000 as the law dictates.

Representatives Galloway and Santarsiero have begun their research of the purpose of the cap to determine if there is a need to reform this law. They believe Ashley has been treated unfairly and deserves more from the school district.

The representatives hypothesize that changing the current law would not cost Pennsylvania taxpayers a great deal, given the fact that there is likely insurance coverage that would cover the school district in the event of such catastrophes. Indeed, the school district’s current insurance policy would have covered Ashley’s injuries up to $10 million if the cap were not in place.

Galloway and Santarsiero believe that allowing the current law to stand would mean that future child injury victims, in the same position as Ashley Zauflik, would be inadequately compensated for their medical expenses and other costs.

The school district maintains that it is not required to pay out any reward higher than the $500,000 benefit that law allows.

An Attorney Can Help

If your child has been seriously injured by the negligence of another, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding your situation, advise you of your rights and work to hold those responsible for the injuries accountable.