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When Negligence Leads to an Injured Student: Schools and Premises Liability

By Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorney on October 29, 2019

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When we send our children to school, we are relying on the educational system to keep them safe. Kids get hurt every day when negligent school systems fail to maintain a secure environment. What recourse do parents have when their children are injured at school? One option may be to hold the school district accountable through a premises liability claim.

Premises Liability Claims Against Schools

A growing number of premises liability lawsuits are arising from the failure of schools to keep students safe on school grounds. Premises liability is a legal concept that comes into play when an injury is caused by an unsafe condition on someone else’s property. Landowners, including schools, have a legal responsibility to exercise reasonable care to maintain the property, so it is free from hazards to visitors. Schools have an even higher duty of care to keep students safe from harm, as the students are legally allowed (and required) to be at the school.

Unsafe Conditions at School That May Give Rise to Premises Liability Claims

Bullying

School bullying is a growing problem and a serious threat to some students. Several states, including California, have passed laws against bullying to help make schools a safer learning environment. Although students caught bullying could be suspended or expelled, but schools sometimes fail to put a stop to this harmful behavior. If your child has been hurt in a bullying incident at school, you may have a premises liability claim against the school or district that failed to adequately protect your child.

Injuries Caused by Unsafe School Premises

A child can be seriously injured in a slip and fall accident on school premises, caused by loose handrails that were improperly maintained, or on slippery walkways that the school failed to clear. Parents may have a premises liability lawsuit in injury situations, or when a student becomes ill, and the school fails to contact you and ensure the child receives prompt medical attention.

When Is the School District Liable for Student Injuries That Occur at School?

If you are filing a lawsuit against a school for your child’s injuries, you will need to prove negligence. These facts must be established:

  • The school owed a duty of care to your child;
  • The school breached that duty of care; and
  • The breach was the actual and proximate (immediate) cause of your child’s injuries.

Was the Injury to Your Child Foreseeable?

The main factors to consider in determining liability are what caused the injury, how it occurred, and whether or not it was foreseeable. The school has a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to prevent foreseeable harm to students. Kids can be hurt in various “foreseeable” ways, for example:

  • By falling from playground equipment
  • Consistently being subjected to bullying at school
  • Through negligence on the part of another student
  • Unsanitary school conditions
  • Tripping over a hazard and falling

In cases of bullying or injury caused by the negligence of another student, the parents of the child who caused the injuries may be legally liable. The school may also be liable for negligent supervision in such cases.

How Can an Attorney Help If Your Child Was Hurt at School?

Claims against government entities, such as public-school districts, may be subject to special rules and special filing deadlines. Government immunity laws may set higher standards that must be met to prove liability in a premises liability claim.
If your child has been hurt at school, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our Orange County personal injury attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have the knowledge, skills, and resources to pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options. There are no time limits and no restrictions on the free consultations we offer.

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