Monday, March 30, 2015

What Happens If Your Child Is Injured At School?

Millions of parents send their children to school every day in Florida and across the United States, trusting that their child will return home safely and free from injury. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as schools have many risks of possible personal injury. The following are some of the most common injuries that may occur in an educational setting:

Slip and Falls – Like any other property, schools have the legal duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors. This entails regular inspection of the property, repairs or maintenance if needed to avoid any dangerous hazards, and warning students if a dangerous hazard may exist—such as a wet floor. If a student slips, trips, or falls because debris in the hall, slippery floors, overly worn floors, dangerous stairs, or other conditions, the school should be held responsible for their injuries.

Playground injuries – With tall slides, swings, monkey bars, and more, playgrounds have an inherent risk of injury. While some children can get hurt on a playground simply because of a true accident, others may be injured due to a dangerous condition of a playground. Playgrounds must be maintained, must have certain surfaces to protect children if they fall, must be free of defective equipment, and must meet state safety standards.1 If a school's playground equipment caused the injury, you may have a legal claim.

Inadequate security or supervision – School personnel also have a duty to properly supervise your child and to ensure that children are safe from outside harm within the building. If a school does not have adequate security in place and a person enters the school to cause your child harm, the school has been negligent. Similarly, if a teacher or staff member fails to properly supervise the children and your child gets hurt by another student, the school should be found negligent for not adequately supervising the students. You can bring a legal claim for any type of assault, sexual assault, or similar harm that may happen to your child due to inadequate security.

Food poisoning – School cafeterias2 are held to strict food safety standards, just like any other type of restaurant or food service facility. When a cafeteria fails to keep food at the correct temperature, fails to properly sanitize cooking equipment or surfaces, or engages in other negligent actions or omissions, the children eating the cafeteria food run the risk of contracting serious illnesses related to the food. Proving food poisoning can be challenging in some cases, but it is is possible and, if you child became very ill, the school should be held liable.

School bus – When children ride the school bus to or from school, the drivers and supervisors have the same duties they would as if they were inside the school. Additionally, the bus driver has a duty to drive in a manner that keep the children safe. Negligent acts such as distracted driving, speeding, driving while impaired, or violations of other traffic-related laws can all lead to accidents and injuries to school bus passengers. Students also commonly suffer injury on buses due to slip and fall accidents in the aisles or on the stairs or because of an assault by another student that occurred due to inadequate security.

Complications with school-related injuries

If your child suffers injury during school hours, it may seem clear to you that the school should be held accountable for its negligence. However, cases involving certain types of schools are sometimes quite complicated. For example, public schools are often considered to be agencies of the local government, which is protected from many types of lawsuits by a legal concept called sovereign immunity.3 This is not always a complete bar to recovery from schools, however, and an experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your situations and present options for your relief.

How an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer can help you

If your child has suffered injury at school, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At the Dolman Law Group, our attorneys understand how to handle a wide range of personal injury cases, so please call our Clearwater, Florida office at 727-451-6900 for help today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900