Nebraska Girl’s Sledding Accident Lawsuit Settled for $500K

December 1, 2016

The mother of a girl injured in a 2014 sledding accident at a Nebraska school will get a $500,000 lump-sum payment as part of a settlement with the school district’s insurance company.

Valarie Potter was 14 when she was injured at what used to be known as La Vista Junior High School. She and a friend slid down a hill together and hit a chain-link fence. A lawsuit filed by Valarie’s mother Christina Augeri said Valarie’s legs were fractured and an artery in her left knee was torn.

The lawsuit said Papillion-La Vista Community Schools failed to post a sign or otherwise warn people of the danger despite knowing that people often struck the fence while sledding, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

District spokeswoman Annette Eyman said insurance company officials decided to settle the case, although it must still be approved by the court. Eyman doesn’t anticipate that the settlement will result in district officials imposing sledding restrictions on the school property.

“You want your public school facilities to be used by the public,” she said. “Our district has always seen our schools as community buildings, and we want them to be used, but that’s a risk that you run when you do that.”

According to the lawsuit, the medical bills for Valarie’s multiple medical procedures and therapy exceeded $400,000. The family’s attorney Sean Rensch said Valarie seems to be progressing with her recovery.

“I’ve been impressed with how far she’s come, though she still has a long road ahead of her,” he said.

The school, now renamed La Vista Middle School, still has the fence in place.

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