When a Slip and Fall Accident Injures Your Child at School
School is one of the safest places that your child can be, particularly if an emergency occurs. This is because schools have rules and protocols for emergency situations. You can expect emergency services to arrive at the school before you do, though you’ll be contacted right away. Yet, it is one of every parent’s worst nightmares to respond to such a call, to show up at school just in time to see your child placed on a gurney to head for the hospital. In some cases, you may even have to meet your child at the hospital, because the school’s response to an emergency situation is just that quick. Still, while the school may respond more quickly than you yourself would have been able to, you are still going to be left with questions about how your child was injured, why your child was injured, and what could have been done to prevent it. When it comes to slip and fall injuries, there is often an element of negligence to consider.
What Kinds of Injuries to Children Experience from School Slip and Fall Accidents?
If your child slips or trips and falls at school, there are many different injuries that he or she might sustain. These range from minor scrapes and bruises to serious head injuries, neck injuries, spine injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, or other wounds that require immediate emergency treatment. The severity of your child’s injury will typically determine the speed and urgency of the school’s response, though there are occasions where the injuries go unnoticed by the staff at the school and are allowed to grow worse before the child is able to receive treatment when their parent becomes aware of the injury.
What Hazard Was Involved in Your Child’s Slip and Fall Injury at School?
No matter where you are, schools included, there is the potential for hazards that can lead to slip or trip and fall injuries. This includes wet floors, broken pavement, damaged carpets, slippery and steep stairs, and spilled liquids or scattered items. The school should work to identify and remove such hazards as quickly as possible to prevent injury, but this does not always happen, and such injuries continue to occur. In most cases, the staff will have done their best to prevent these injuries, but in others, you may not be so sure of this. Identifying the exact hazard that resulted in injury is going to the first step in determining whether or not your child’s injury could have been avoided if appropriate measures were taken to remove hazards.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim for Your Child’s Injuries Against Their School?
Whenever a child is injured through a slip and fall accident in a school, there is the possibility that you may have a valid personal injury claim. Yet, it will all come down to what the hazard was that caused the accident, whether or not the school was negligent in allowing that hazard to exist, and also whether they were negligent in responding to the injury. For example, there have been cases where children were seriously injured, with broken bones or other serious concerns, but the school staff did not seek immediate medical treatment, often thinking that the child was being dramatic and was not actually injured. If something like this has happened to your child, then you almost certainly have a valid personal injury claim. However, if all necessary steps were taken to prevent injury if the school responded appropriately when the injury occurred, and if no negligence is found, then you may not actually have a valid personal injury claim. It all depends on the unique circumstances of the injury.
One aspect of determining whether or not there was negligence on the part of the school is establishing whether or not the injury could have been foreseen by the school staff. For example, if there was ice on the premises outside of the school, and the school staff failed to remove the ice, and your child slipped on it, then the school may have been negligent because the injury was foreseeable and preventable. The same is true of a spill in the hallway that was left for too long, so that the staff had plenty of time to clear it away, but did not.
In other cases, an injury might not be foreseeable. Your child may have entered a part of the building where they were not supposed to be or may have gone outside on a day when outside recess was canceled due to icy weather, for example. If your child simply tripped over a desk or over their own shoelaces, then such injuries are not typically foreseeable or preventable. In such cases, there may be no negligence on the part of the school, as long as they responded appropriately to the injury once it occurred. If your child was allowed to sit without any medical response to a broken bone or other serious injuries, then there may be negligence in the response of the school to the given injury, and you may have a valid personal injury claim.
Government Agencies and This Affects Potential Claims
Because a public school is a government agency, the rules that apply to personal injury claims that are filed against them are different. You have to begin by submitting written notification to the government, the city, the school district, before filing a claim. They can then accept the claim or deny the claim before you are able to file a lawsuit. You also only have one year to file such a notice. Further, you may have a valid claim against someone other than the school, itself. It may be a teacher, a principal, or a bus driver, for example. This is especially true in cases where a teacher should have been aware of an injury but did not respond appropriately.
If you have personal injury claim against a school or the staff of a school because of your child’s slip or trip and fall injury, contact our personal injury lawyers to learn more about your options and whether or not your claim is valid and worth pursuing.
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