School Injury Lawyers | Slip, Trip, and Falls
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Kids are injured every day in public and private schools. Find out how to file an injury claim and get the compensation your child deserves for an accident at school.
There are almost 9 million annual pediatric ER visits, with about 3 million due to injuries sustained in falls.
More than 20,000 children younger than 14 sustain traumatic brain injuries, most of which occur in educational settings.
Parents are concerned for their children’s safety while attending school. Accidents are unavoidable in the classroom, but educators still have a responsibility to do their best to protect students from harm.
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Causes of Most School Injuries
It’s impossible to generalize about the causes of school injuries because every child is different. Although specifics may change, this article summarises the most typical reasons why kids get hurt at school.
Slip and Fall: Students frequently sustain bodily harm from slip and fall accidents at school. Slippery gym flooring, broken or missing railings, children falling from bleachers, and other causes of falls should all be taken seriously.
Playground Injuries: Injuries on the playground can occur for several reasons, including unattended play, unkempt playgrounds, and defective or malfunctioning playground equipment.
Injuries in Sports: There is always the chance of getting hurt while playing a sport that requires a lot of physical movement. However, the school could be held responsible for your child’s injuries if they were caused by improper supervision, inadequate training, or faulty equipment.
Fights: As many as one-quarter of students say they have been in a fight at school, at a school-related event, or on the way to or from school in any given year.
Bullies: Because of bullying, children of all ages can sustain physical, mental, and emotional harm.
Food Poisoning: Children can get sick from eating food that has been incorrectly stored or prepared, contaminated by kitchen employees carrying contagious diseases, or purchased from a seller with known links to food poisoning.
Disasters: In a natural disaster, the institution could be held liable for any injuries sustained due to inadequate preparation, the failure to implement emergency procedures such as evacuations or sheltering, or the delay in calling for help.
Bus driver error:insufficient training, badly kept or malfunctioning buses, and the other driver’s negligence are all potential causes of student injuries in school bus accidents.
Exposure to Toxins: Due to the school’s failure to remove asbestos or lead from older buildings, students may have been exposed to these harmful substances.
Keeping Your Child Safe at School
Courts impose a legal responsibility of care on school administrators and teachers to safeguard kids (obligation).
Schools are responsible for taking reasonable precautions to prevent their children’s danger, injury, and death. Creating a secure learning environment is a part of this.
Authorities are responsible for ensuring that pupils are properly supervised on school grounds, on school-provided buses, and off school grounds during school-sponsored, extracurricular activities, and for repairing or eliminating any potentially hazardous circumstances as soon as possible.
It’s helpful to have a basic grasp of the language used by legislators and insurers:
- The term “Duty of Care” refers to the school’s responsibility to ensure the students’ safety in its care.
- The term “negligence” describes situations in which a school official, educator, coach, bus driver, or other professional behaves irresponsibly or in a way that no normal person would.
- To be responsible is to have “liability,” and vice versa. If a child is hurt at school and the school is negligent, they may be entitled to compensation.
- “Damages” for an injured child include medical bills and any out-of-pocket costs associated with the injury. Children who sustain lasting injuries may also claim compensation for their parents’ lost earning potential and their medical costs in the future.
Parental Responsibilities as a Tutor
There is a legal notion known as loco parentis, which states that school officials and educators have the same authority as biological parents. This means that while a student is in school or participating in a school-sponsored activity, the instructor assumes the role of a parent.
Teachers have a certain amount of discretion when monitoring their pupils and their activities. Still, the in loco parentis doctrine opens the door to holding educators accountable for student accidents under their watch.
Child Abuse: Neglect and Willful Injury
While loco parentis establishes the basic obligations of a caretaker, such as a teacher or principal, it does not determine whether the caretaker’s failure to perform those duties constitutes negligence.
Sound Educator Principles
Courts establish negligence and liability based on the prudent teacher doctrine, which asks whether the instructor did or failed to do something that any reasonable teacher at a comparable school would have done in the same situation.
There are several considerations that go into determining whether or not a teacher acted prudently:
- Does the school have a comprehensive strategy for the safety and security of its students?
- Did the instructor take reasonable precautions to avoid harming the student?
- Thirdly, were the student’s injuries a predictable outcome of the incident?
Suppose an incident occurred because a teacher or school administration knew or should have known that a kid was in danger because of a lack of supervision. In that case, that is considered a predictable event.
A Case Study: An Injury at Playtime
For lunch and recess, the pupils of a modest elementary school were given free rein in the courtyard. The courtyard is also used as visitor parking for the school.
During recess one day, a few kids walked outside to play in the courtyard. Quite a few cars belonging to guests were parked in the courtyard.
A guest left while the kids were playing, getting in her car and driving away. A student trying to collect a ball as she started driving ran into the side of the automobile. The student suffered life-threatening injuries.
The child’s parents sued the institution where their youngster was educated. According to the claim, cars being parked in the same courtyard where kids were playing constituted negligence. In addition, the parents argued the school was careless for not having an adult supervisor in the courtyard.
A judge agreed, and they were granted custody of their child.
Educator carelessness is not always to blame when accidents happen in the classroom. Despite the greatest efforts of the administration and the faculty, accidents do happen. School personnel are not necessarily immune from negligence claims when they take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their children.
Teen Victimized in School Assault
Rob, a student in high school, was excited about his date with Peggy, a lady he’d met in math class. Rob was unaware that Peggy and Frank had recently ended their relationship.
Rob was at his locker when Frank approached him at a period when the two students did not have class together. Frank attacked Rob without warning, breaking his nose. Rob was never given a chance to make an explanation or a defence.
When trouble arose, the authorities were contacted. An assault accusation was filed against Frank, and he was subsequently detained.
Rob’s mom and dad sued the school, claiming it had been negligent. They claimed the school broke its duty of care by failing to adequately monitor the violent kid.
In its defence, the school claimed that two instructors did keep a continual vigil in the hallways, as is the standard at all district schools. Both pupils’ academic records were provided as additional proof by the institution. Neither of these students had any sort of record of violent behaviour.
The school acknowledged that students had speculated that Frank was troubled by his separation from Peggy but said such speculation was commonplace in all high schools.
The case fought by Rob’s parents was dismissed. The court found that the school’s measures to keep students safe in the hallways were adequate. The school had no idea that Frank would assault Rob physically because there was no history of violence on his part, and they had received no other warnings. The university was not at fault and was therefore immune from liability.
Though they had little legal recourse against Rob’s school, Rob’s parents might sue Frank and his family for damages. There are cases in which a parent could be held legally responsible for their child’s activities.
Crimes of Violence Against Children
As a legal phrase, “intentional tort” refers to any wrongdoing done on purpose with the specific intent to cause injury to another. When a child suffers harm at the hands of a school employee, such as a teacher or coach, the child’s parents may file a civil lawsuit against the individual and, in some situations, criminal press charges.
Inappropriate physical contact with a kid or encouraging the child to touch the adult inappropriately constitutes sexual abuse. So does exposing an adult’s genitalia to a child, presenting pornographic material to a child, or inappropriately observing a child undress or use the restroom.
Physical contact such as striking, grabbing, twisting the arms or fingers, or pinching constitutes assault and battery. Physical contact isn’t essential if a youngster feels scared for their safety due to an adult’s threatening behaviour.
Physically restricting a child, including tying them to chairs, locking them in a closet or small space, taping their lips shut, or any other form of confinement is false imprisonment.
If your child has been the victim of intentional violence at school, you should contact the authorities immediately. The next step is getting in touch with a personal injury attorney with experience protecting children’s futures like yours.
A good proof is essential for injury claims.
Gather documentation to support your claim that your child’s injury occurred at school. You need to show that the school was negligent in either fixing the problem or supervising the pupils appropriately.
You’ll need to collect evidence of your child’s injuries and establish that the school caused them.
Take pictures or videos of what happened to help prove how your kid got hurt. Take as many images of the hazardous situation as possible with your smartphone or digital camera. Document your child’s injuries with photographs and keep them handy as he or she recovers.
Cameras installed for surveillance are commonplace in schools, with many monitoring the common areas like the cafeteria and hallways. Please have the school’s administrator keep any security footage from when your child was hurt.
Statements from Eyewitnesses. Statements from eyewitnesses, particularly impartial ones, are typically crucial in supporting your allegation. What occurred to your child can be described in great detail by the good Samaritans who came to their aid. While the school nurses who attended to your child immediately after the accident will be of great assistance, staff may be hesitant to speak out against the school because of possible retaliation.
You should request possible witnesses to put pen to paper and sign and date the bottom of the last page of their testimony to attest to what they saw and heard. In that case, you should insist that the witnesses indicate that your child had no role in causing the injuries.
Proof of damages is required to file a claim for child injury compensation. The mere belief that a school was irresponsible is not enough to warrant legal action against it. The harm caused by their carelessness must be quantifiable and documentable.
If your child was injured at school, you have the right to a copy of all paperwork related to his or her care. The bills and receipts for:
- First-Aid Personnel
- Therapeutic Interventions in the Medical Field
- Oral health care
- Healthcare for the mind
Save your receipts for any drugs, crutches, bandages, and parking fines you paid due to the accident.
Children of working age may have had their after-school earnings reduced. You should also include documentation of any lost income you incurred due to time away from work to care for your sick child at home or in the hospital.
The pain levels, terrible dreams, missing social activities, concerns, and behavioural changes your kid experiences during therapy and recovery are all important to document. The diary can be used as evidence for claims of pain and suffering and even punitive damages in the case of extreme carelessness on the side of the school.
Claiming Compensation for a School Accident
Whether your child was hurt in a public or private school will determine when and how you can file a claim for damages.
The Individual States manage the Public School System.
The administration of public schools is a function of city and county governments. Public schools enjoy the same level of protection as any other state entity, thanks to sovereign immunity at the state level.
Legally, the government and its subdivisions, departments, and agencies enjoy sovereign immunity, meaning they cannot be sued without the government’s permission.
If you want to know what government agency is monitoring your child’s school, you should ask the principal or another administrator. The main office of your institution might have the paperwork you require.
To sue the school district, you must first file a Notice of Intent with the school. You may need to compose your letter or utilize a school-issued form.
With our downloadable Notification Letter Template, we hope to make things simpler.
To put it simply, before filing suit, you may be obliged to pursue “Administrative Remedies,” a fancy term for bringing your issue to the school system for resolution.
Act swiftly; time limits, often as short as 30 days, apply to filing injury claims against government institutions. You must submit a properly filled-out form to the appropriate department to meet the deadline. If the claim is filed late, it may be denied entirely.
You shouldn’t take any chances with your child’s injury claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to discuss your child’s potential claim.
Injury Claims at a Private School
You could ask the principal or head of school for the contact details of the school’s insurance company if your child was injured at a private school.
How to file a claim for your child can be determined by contacting the school’s administration or reading the student handbook. The majority of the time, the institution you attended will assist and collaborate with you when you file your claim.
A lawyer will ensure your child’s safety.
Fair compensation can likely be negotiated directly with the insurance carrier without risk if your child suffered minor “soft tissue” injuries such as cuts, bruises, scratches, or muscle strains.
Claims on behalf of a minor can be difficult to settle. Don’t let yourself be duped into signing something that isn’t in your child’s best interest.
Making a mistake while handling the claim alone can put the entire claim at risk. The evidence may have been destroyed when the claim is re-started, even if your child’s rights haven’t been terminated.
Payments to Minors in Settlement Disputes
Stringent laws govern financial settlements involving minors in many jurisdictions. A judge must sign off on “infant” settlements in some jurisdictions. Any person under the age of majority in most jurisdictions (18 years of age) is considered an infant for legal purposes.
Cases involving injuries to minors might be difficult to resolve. There could be hundreds of claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier for injuries sustained in a school bus accident, all competing for the same liability coverage. A lawyer can help ensure that your kid gets his or her fair share.
In cases of severe harm, compensation may extend beyond medical costs. In cases of sexual assault, lifelong handicap, disfigurement, or other high-dollar claims, only an expert attorney can assist your kid in achieving the compensation they deserve.
There is no time to waste. It won’t cost you anything, and there’s no risk of seeing what a good child injury lawyer can do for you.
Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe at School
Daily, we witness school buses picking up and delivering students at designated bus stops and school grounds. Bus stops are frequent sightings for parents, who are undoubtedly there to see their children board the bus and travel to school without incident. When parents send their children to school or put them on a bus, they assume that the school’s administration and teachers will assume parental responsibilities as they see fit.
Colorado school teachers and administrators are responsible for keeping pupils safe on school property. Elementary, middle, and high schools are responsible not just for keeping an eye on their pupils but also for preventing harm to those under their care from the actions of other students.
This means that, under Colorado law, schools cannot turn a blind eye to incidents of student violence. Teachers assume the role of supervisor as students set foot on school grounds. This means that the school could be held liable for failing to provide proper supervision if a student with a history of violent behaviour physically harms another student.
Furthermore, suppose a school district is responsible for transporting students to and from campus. In that case, the school is also responsible for ensuring the student’s safety during transportation to school and while waiting for the bus at the bus stop chosen by the school.
Teachers and administrators are responsible for the safety of their pupils in all parts of the school campus, not just in classrooms. This includes parking lots, playgrounds, and sports fields. In addition to monitoring pupils in the classroom, school officials are also accountable for their well-being at school-sponsored extracurricular activities like athletic competitions.
If a kid is harmed at school in Colorado, whether as a result of an accident on school property or an assault by another student, the wounded child and the child’s parent may have a claim against the school for negligence under Colorado law.
A parent’s worst nightmare is for the people entrusted with their child’s safety each day to fall short of that duty. We, as a community, count on our educators and school leaders to keep an eye out for our kids and keep them safe from harm while they’re at school.
You could get a free consultation with an attorney at Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers if your child was hurt at school because the administration failed to provide adequate supervision and protection.
If you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness, our attorneys will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. For more information, please contact the El Paso County Trial Lawyers at 719-300-1100 or myself, Jeremy D. Earle, JD.
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