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What Happens if a Child Slips and Falls at School?

When you send your kid off to school, it is your hope that your child will be well taken care of. You are trusting the school with the safety of your child. When your child is injured at school, this trust is broken. Slip and fall accidents can happen, but if they are as a result of the negligence of the school you are entitled to personal injury compensation. However, slip and fall claims against the school can be incredibly complicated, which is why you need a knowledgeable premises liability lawyer to fight for you.

Common Ways a Child Can Be Injured at School

Professional Orthopedist Examins child hurt at school slip and fallThere are so many ways that a child can be injured at school. The most common reasons why kids get injured at school include:

  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Playground Injuries
  • Fights
  • Sports Injuries
  • Bullying
  • School Bus Accidents
  • Disasters
  • Food Poisoning
  • Toxin Exposure

The most common causes of injuries for kids at schools are slip and fall accidents. There are many hazards at a school that can contribute to a slip and fall accident. While every slip and fall accident is a unique situation, some of the common causes for a slip and fall accident include:

  • Hazards that can lead to tripping in the hallways, such as cords.
  • Floors that are slick after being recently mopped or waxed.
  • Walkways that are slippery due to weather.
  • Food and drink spills in the cafeteria.
  • Liquid spills in other areas of the school.
  • Flooring that is too rough or in disrepair.
  • Uneven flooring or surfaces.
  • Sidewalks or parking lots in disrepair with cracks or holes.
  • Dangerous stairs and/or railings.

Understanding the School’s Liability

To understand the school’s liability, it helps to better understand some of the common legal terms when discussing these types of accidents. The first term to look at is what “duty of care” means. This means that the school has an obligation to protect their students from harm as reasonably as possible. Negligence refers to whether or not the school took reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the child. Liability is the responsibility of the school for the damages. Lastly, damages refer to any damages incurred by the accident. This includes current and future medical costs, pain and suffering, and loss of current and future wages.

Sometimes accidents are just accidents that could not be prevented. In any slip and fall case, you need to prove that the school knew about the hazard and had a reasonable amount of time to clean it up before the slip and fall happened. For instance, if a kid accidentally drops their lunch in the cafeteria and someone slipped on it immediately after, this wouldn’t be a reasonable amount of time to remedy the problem. However if the sidewalk has had a large crack as a hazard for some time, the school could be held responsible if they didn’t block off the area to prevent people from walking there.

There are a few questions that can help determine liability:

  • Was there a plan in place to properly supervise the students and protect them from injury?
  • Did the school use reasonable care to prevent the slip and fall accident?
  • Could the accident be foreseen?

Foreseeable means that the school staff was aware of the hazard but didn’t take any steps to prevent injuries by fixing the problem, putting up things to prevent people from accessing the hazard, or warning the students and staff of the hazard.

Importance of Evidence for Your Case

If you are going to file a case for negligence against the school, it is crucial that you compile as much evidence as possible to prove your claim. You need to show evidence that the school failed to take care of a hazard in a reasonable amount of time or to properly supervise the children. There are some things that you can do that will help prove your case of negligence.

The first thing that you need to do is to take pictures. Take pictures of the injury and if possible, go to the area where your child was injured to take pictures of the hazard. It’s also recommended that you continue to take pictures of the child’s injury throughout their recovery as well. If there are security cameras, getting the principal to preserve the footage or collecting the footage of the accident can also be very helpful to your case.

You could also try to get witness statements from the adults who were there when your child was injured, but you should be aware that oftentimes employees won’t be willing to testify against the school. However, you may end up finding out that other students saw what happened or a good Samaritan adult that was there can help.

Lastly, you need to prove that there were damages. Negligence without any damages isn’t calculable. This means that you need to have evidence of these damages, such as:

  • Copies of your medical bills
  • Emergency services
  • Any current or future medical treatments
  • Any mental health services required as a result of the accident.
  • Dental care required from the accident.
  • Receipts for additional out-of-pocket medical expenses like bandages, crutches, and medications.

If you have an older child that was injured in a slip and fall accident at school, you may also be able to get them lost wages if they had to miss work. You could also sue for lost wages and transportation costs if you had to take time off of work to get your child medical treatment and caring for them while they are injured.

Filing a Slip and Fall Injury Claim Against the School

There are some extra complications when it comes to filing a lawsuit against the school if your child was hurt in a slip and fall at a school. When it comes to public schools, these are considered part of the government in your locality meaning that they are protected by immunity. This means that the schools cannot be sued unless there is consent given. You or your lawyer will need to get the contact information for the agency that is responsible for giving this consent so that you can get started on your claim. There’s also the need for filing a Notice of Intent, which informs the school that you are filing a claim against them. You may also need to get go through administrative remedies, meaning that you need to go in front of the school committee before you can take action against the school.

A private school is usually an easier school to deal with in a slip and fall accident case. This just involves you going through the school’s insurance company after contacting the school administration. Private schools are typically more cooperative when it comes to handling these types of claims.

It’s important that you get a lawyer involved in this process as soon as possible. This is especially true because there are usually deadlines for filing claims against governmental agencies. These claims need to be properly filled out and filed, then sent to the right office. Any delay can negatively impact your chances of filing a claim for damages. A lawyer who is experienced in dealing with slip and fall accidents at school can help prevent any delays to ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines that could hurt your case.

Lawyers will look at all of the evidence that you have compiled, then often work to compile their own evidence to help strengthen your case. They can let you know if you have a valid case against the school and will work with you from the start of the process until the end, letting you know what to expect every step of the way.

Getting a settlement for your child can be a difficult process to navigate on your own. In many cases, they try to take advantage of parents by giving an offer that isn’t in the child’s best interest just because they are desperate for financial relief after an accident. Your lawyer will have your family’s best interests in mind when fighting for them, so they won’t let you take a lowball offer if you are entitled to much more. Anytime a minor is involved, the legal process can be significantly more complex so a lawyer that specializes in these claims will help you achieve the best results.

Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Today

If your child had a slip and fall accident at school, it’s important that you understand your rights. Our team can help you better understand this process and work with you to help you get the compensation that you deserve. You bring your children to school every day and have an expectation that they are going to be looked after and safe. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. And if the school is to blame for their injuries, you have rights. Contact our law firm today to see how we can help you if your child was hurt in a slip and fall accident at school: 954-951-0000

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