My Child Was Hurt at School. Is the School Liable For Injuries?
School is back in session… homework, early mornings, after-school programs, rush, rush, rush! So many things to do, remember and attend. Children, children, everywhere! With all of the frenzy each day, no parent anticipates unforeseen peril for their child when sending them to school, but as they say, accidents happen.
Children can encounter unexpected mishaps at school in a variety of ways. The most common causes of injuries at school include:
Emergency rooms see more than 200,000 children injured on the playground yearly, with nearly 10% of those injuries resulting in traumatic brain injuries. Falls while playing on slides, swings, play structures, and jungle gym equipment account for a great deal of the cuts and contusions, scrapes, sprains, broken bones, and head traumas seen during these visits.
Whether occurring in P.E. class, the gym, or extracurricular sporting events, sports-related injuries in children 14 or younger approach 3.5 million in this country each year, with another 2 million occurring at the high school level. Contact sports like football, rugby, field hockey, and soccer contribute to more than 20% of traumatic brain injuries reported. At the same time, baseball and softball account for the alarming increase in shoulder and elbow injuries in both boys and girls. While proper protective gear is necessary, not every accident can be anticipated or avoided.
Hazardous Grounds Conditions
School grounds maintenance is a full-time job whether the school is in session. Slippery steps, leaky water fountains or restroom facilities, over-used desks, sidewalk cracks or loose carpeting or tile, unsafe food-handling procedures in the lunchroom, worn, weakened playground equipment – cafeteria, janitorial, and maintenance staff cannot anticipate every potential hazard before injury occurs. While fire drills are routinely scheduled for the safety of all students and staff onsite, other such routine upkeep and allowances can be elusive. As a consequence, unforeseen accidents happen. Whether a repercussion of oversight or negligence, your child’s school failed to meet a reasonable standard of care and may, therefore, be responsible for your child’s injuries.
Interpersonal Conflict or Bullying
As a parent, one of the most frightening aspects of your child suffering an injury at school is the risk of interpersonal violence with another student. Sadly, bullying has always been one of the biggest risks among children. While a spontaneous outburst can lead to physical confrontation, bullying may take many non-physical forms as well, affecting a child psychologically and emotionally. Bullying has been defined as “any written, physical, or verbal threat that impedes another student’s right to a safe school environment.”* If a child feels threatened or unsafe at school, the emotional, mental, or physical effects upon their daily performance cannot be overlooked. Conditions such as these make it impossible for students to benefit from or participate in simple school activities, learning, or other standard scholastic programs and services.
Has your child been harmed or injured while at school? You may have legal grounds for recourse. Having a personal injury attorney on your side can help you discern what your child’s rights are and where you go from here.
Establishing your child’s school’s duty of care toward your family and all of the school’s student body is critical in determining whether or not there has been a breach in their providing a safe environment for all students – and your child, in particular. Failure to provide a secure facility, appropriate staff supervision, or sound building or equipment conditions is negligence. While not every situation may be anticipated or avoided, due diligence must be consistent in standard operating procedures for a school to avoid a negligence claim and liability for failures in their duty of care.
Cases involving injuries to school children are complex. If you believe your child has been harmed or injured. At the same time, at school, call Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C. We are uniquely qualified and experienced in establishing the context and evidence necessary to litigate the intricacies involving school injury liability. If other children were involved, our legal team would work to pursue the appropriate parental/guardian responsible party(s) and see that your child is comprehensively compensated for their child’s actions.
Public vs. Private Institutions
Public schools and employees are generally considered government employees and can be legally held accountable. However, the time frame to commence such actions is limited.
By contrast, private schools are legally held accountable like any other private entity where liability is concerned. As such, a private school can generally be held legally responsible for negligence and other offenses in a court of law, with most cases being settled with the school’s insurance provider. In either case, there may be different standards and statutes of limitations for filing a lawsuit.
If your child has been injured at school, first and foremost, seek medical care as needed. Request that the school document the injury and demand a copy of the incident report. Notify your child’s school district office directly. If the injury resulted from a sport or other school program, request a copy of any waiver form you may have signed about that particular activity. Take photos of any visible injuries, and request copies of all related bills and records from medical providers, physical therapists, prescriptions, or additional services pertinent to your case.
Finally, make a call to Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C. Our team of experienced personal injury and accident attorneys can assess your case and help guide you through the legal process to pursue compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial impact of your child’s injury. We are here to help.
About Daniella Levi & Associates P.C.
After a serious accident, many people are in desperate need of the financial support that comes from a successful result of their injury claim. To ensure you have the best chance at obtaining the compensation you deserve, your lawyer should be just as invested in your case as you are.
At Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., headquartered in New York City, we believe strongly in upholding the rights of accident victims. We are dedicated advocates for our clients, fighting, and using every available resource, to obtain the compensation they deserve.