Children get hurt at school all time. Whether they’re playing on the playground and get a cut or fall down and get a scrape, child injuries at school are more the norm than the exception. However, if your child has been injured at school as the result of negligence or a harmful act, it’s important to take legal action and file a personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation you need and deserve to support your injured child as they recover. While accidents certainly do happen, the school and teachers are responsible for a certain level of care to ensure children aren’t harmed in a severe way.
Common Causes Of School Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 20,000 children experience traumatic brain injuries, with many of the accidents that cause these injuries happening at school. Additionally, more than nine million children go to the emergency each year, with many of these injuries related to fall accidents. With this amount of child injuries happening on such a regular basis, it’s no doubt that many of them happen at school, as this is where many children spend the majority of their days. While school injuries are not always a cause for alarm, some can be prevented. Common reasons why children become injured at school include:
Slip And Fall Accidents
This type of accident is common at school as there are various places where children can slip and fall and become injured while on school grounds. Examples of places where a child may slip and fall include on stairs, on slippery gym floors, while walking on uneven sidewalks, or when walking on ice or snow outside.
Sometimes children can fall ill after eating tainted food provided by the school. For example, if the cafeteria at the school serves food that has been improperly stored or contaminated, a child may experience food poisoning after eating it.
Sports injuries are another common cause of at-school injuries. These occur when children are playing sports on school grounds. While playing sports certainly comes with risks, inadequate adult supervision or coaching can lead to worse injuries and liability on behalf of the school.
Getting injured on a playground is not typically uncommon, as children often like to push the limits and play in a way that may be risky. Some playground accidents that result in injuries are a result of inadequate adult supervision, broken or poorly maintained playground equipment, or inadequately maintained grounds.
School fights happen and can leave children injured or worse. An estimated 25% of children are involved in fights at school functions, on school grounds, or while traveling to and from school such as while on the school bus.
Some children may fall ill as a result of toxin exposure such as exposure to lead or asbestos. This is most commonly seen in older buildings that are inadequately maintained.
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Common Types Of Injuries Incurred At School
The type of injury will largely depend on where and how the injury occurred. The most common injuries incurred on school property include:
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Brain injury or trauma
- Illnesses such as those from toxin exposure or food poisoning
- Black eyes
- Emotional and/or psychological injuries
Regardless of the type of injury your child incurred at school, if you believe it was a direct result of negligence on behalf of the school district or its employees, it’s important to work with a personal injury lawyer to ensure your child’s rights are protected and you receive the coverage needed to cope with your child’s injury.
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The Duty A School Has To Protect Your Child
Every school has a legal duty of care when it comes to ensuring the protection of the children who attend the school. This duty includes provide a safe environment and taking every reasonable action to ensure children are protected from foreseeable harm. Schools are required to regularly check for potential dangerous conditions and eliminate them as soon as possible. For example, if there is an uneven portion of a sidewalk, the school is required to have it promptly repaired to ensure no student is harmed while walking on that sidewalk.
The school’s responsibility for duty of care means that if the school fails to meet the appropriate obligations to protect students from harm, it can be held liable for injuries that happen on school grounds. Being able to prove that a school was negligent when it comes to duty of care is an important component when seeking compensation from the school for your child’s injuries.
What Is The Prudent Teacher Doctrine?
In addition to a school’s duty of care, there is also the prudent teacher doctrine which is used by courts to determine negligence on behalf of a teacher, teachers, and other school employees. This doctrine takes into account what other prudent teachers would have done in a similar situation that led to an injury. If the teacher is found to have done something or failed to do something that would have prevented the injury, the school can be held liable for the child’s injuries.
What Are Intentional Acts At School?
Intentional acts is a term used to describe deliberate actions taken by a person to cause harm to another person. Examples of intentional harmful acts in a school setting include assault, battery, false imprisonment, or sexual abuse on school property.
Examples Of When A School Is Liable
The following are a few of the many instances in which a child’s school may be liable for injuries:
- Slip and fall accidents caused by improperly maintained school fixtures such as handrails
- Asbestos exposure
- A lack of adequate adult supervision, or negligent supervision
- A school bus accident caused by a negligent school bus driver
- An accident caused by defective outdoor equipment such as sports equipment
- Illness caused by improper food storage
Steps To Take If Your Child Has Been Injured At School
If your child has been injured at school and you believe that the school’s negligence is to blame, there are several key steps you should take to support your case against the school. These steps include:
- Take photographs: Take photographs of all of the injuries your child incurred on school property. Be sure to take both close-up pictures and wide-angle pictures as well as pictures throughout the recovery process.
- Witness statements: If there are any witnesses to your child’s injuries, you should try to get a statement from each witness or at the least their contact information. For example, if another child or a teacher saw the accident that caused your child’s injury, their statement can be vital to supporting your case against the school.
- Keep track of damages: When seeking compensation for an injury your child experienced at school, it’s important to have documentation of the damages, medical treatment, and expenses that resulted from the injury. Keep track of all medical bills, mental service expenses, and other bills related to your child’s injury. You can also note any lost wages experienced due to having to stay home and care for your child.
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Work With An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Since public school are government entities and as such have “sovereign immunity”, there are several regulations and restrictions involved when it comes to suing a school. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can ensure your child’s rights are protected and you get the compensation needed to care for your child after the accident. If your child was injured on school property and you believe it’s the result of the school’s negligence, contact Florin|Roebig for a 100% free and confidential evaluation of your child’s injury claim at (800) 226-6581.