October 17, 2019
Who’s Liable If Your Child is Seriously Injured at School?
While schools are supposed to provide safe, fun learning environments where children can grow mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally, accidents happen. Sometimes, however, those accidents are the direct result of negligence. For example, according to the CDC two-thirds of all playground-related traumatic brain injuries occur at school on equipment like monkey bars or swings.
If your child was injured at school, you may have the right to take legal action against the institution. In some situations, the district can be held accountable for injuries that should have been prevented.
Common Causes of Injuries at School
Every injury that happens at schools is surrounded by different circumstances. Your child may have been injured in one of the following situations:
- School Bus Accident. While school bus accidents are rare, they do happen. They may result from driver error, poorly maintained buses, inadequate bus driver training, or the result of another negligent driver.
- Slip and Fall. Broken bones, sprains, and strains are common after slip and fall accidents. In a school setting, children can fall as a result of ice and snow, slippery floors, broken or missing handrails, or inadequate supervision on bleachers.
- Food Poisoning. Children can get sick from food that’s improperly stored or prepared. It’s crucial for food staff to follow all the required guidelines when it comes to handling and cooking food. Contamination can also come from kitchen staff with communicable diseases or contaminated food from an outside vendor.
- Playground Injury. Injuries on the playground are often the result of poorly maintained grounds, broken equipment, or inadequate adult supervision.
- Sports Injury. While physical sports always come with the risk of injury, the school may be liable if the coach was negligent or the equipment was poorly maintained.
- Fights and Bullies. Children of all ages suffer from physical, psychological, and emotional trauma inflicted by other students.
- Exposure to Toxins. Older academic buildings may expose children to asbestos or lead. It’s the school’s responsibility to remove dangerous substances and prevent children from accessing the toxic areas.
- Disasters. While disasters like fires or floods aren’t always predictable or preventable, the schools may be responsible for injuries if there was a lack of planning or failure to carry out established plans for evacuation.
Determining Legal Responsibility in Cincinnati
Your child’s school has a duty to do everything reasonable to protect students from foreseeable harm, injury, and death. This includes providing a safe environment. If the district neglects its duty and a child is hurt, they may be legally accountable. Determining if liability applies is based on a number of elements, including the type of institution and state laws.
Public vs. Private Institutions
Whether your child’s school is public or private makes a difference when it comes to taking legal action against the facility. This is because public schools are considered a government entity. So if your child was injured on public school grounds, there are strict procedures you must follow if you want to bring an injury claim forward. If your child was injured at a private school, it could be a nonprofit or associated with a church. While there typically aren’t special rules for filing claims against private schools, your attorney will know the laws that could apply.
Sovereign Immunity in Ohio
Ohio’s sovereign immunity laws grant immunity to public entities when they’re engaged in government function. Public schools fall into the category. That means that in many cases your child’s school cannot be sued. But there are exceptions to that rule. According to RC 2744.02(B)(1), schools are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent operation of any motor vehicle when employees are engaged within the scope of their employment and authority. This means that bus drivers are accountable for their actions at all times.
Your lawyer will be able to tell you if sovereign immunity will have an impact on your claim.
Take Action on Behalf of Your Child Today
If your child has been injured at school, there’s no time to spare. The sooner you take legal action, the better your chances are of receiving the compensation your child needs to recover. It can seem intimidating to go up against an academic institution, but it’s important to remember who was responsible for your child’s safety at the time of their injuries. If you believe you have a claim, schedule a free consultation with our lawyer. We’ll examine your situation and determine how we can help your family move forward.
The above blog may be considered advertising material and should not be used as legal advice.