Judge Approves $40M Lawsuit for Virginia Teacher Shot by 6-Year-Old



A teacher, Abigail Zwerner, who was shot by her 6-year-old student in Virginia has been allowed to proceed with her $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News Public School system for alleged negligence, as ruled by a judge. The school system countered that Zwerner should only be eligible for workers’ compensation. Zwerner, who was hospitalized for nearly two weeks after the shooting, has accused the school administration of ignoring multiple warnings that the boy had a gun on the day of the incident.

Judge Allows Virginia Teacher to Proceed With $40 Million Lawsuit After Classroom Shooting

Virginia-based teacher Abigail Zwerner, who was shot by her 6-year-old student, has been permitted by a judge to progress with her $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News Public School system. Zwerner is seeking compensation for injuries sustained during the classroom shooting incident in January.

Zwerner’s legal team voiced their eagerness to continue their quest for accountability and a fair recovery. They highlighted the unusual circumstances, stating, “No teacher expects to face a gun held by a six-year-old student.”

However, the school system argued Zwerner should be only eligible for workers’ compensation, which offers up to almost 10 years of pay and lifetime medical treatment for injuries. This argument was overruled by Newport News Circuit Court Judge Matthew Hoffman. He asserted Zwerner’s injuries were not employment-related, and so, she was not eligible for workers’ compensation.

Bearing the possibility of an appeal from the school board’s lawyers, the case proceeds. Virginia’s workers’ compensation law, known for its strictness in covering workplace assaults and employers’ negligence allegations, plays a significant role in this case.

Zwerner was hospitalized for nearly two weeks, undergoing multiple surgeries. A bullet hit her hand and chest, resulting from ignorance of multiple warnings about the child carrying a gun and consistent dismissal of concerns about his behavior.

The student brought his mother’s handgun to Richneck Elementary School and fired at Zwerner while she was at a reading table. She managed to escort other students to safety before succumbing to her injuries in the school’s office. The boy, however, will not face charges.

A preliminary trial date for Zwerner’s lawsuit has been scheduled for January 2025.

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