Negligence Involving Schools

When we send our kids to school, we have certain expectations of their safety and wellbeing. Getting a phone call from the school that your child has been injured can leave parents feeling helpless, angry, and unsure of their next steps. When a child is hurt at school or while involved in a school activity, it is important to determine who is responsible. Even if the school or school employees did not directly cause the accident causing the injury, it is possible that the school district is still at fault.

While at first glance it may seem as though another child is at fault in the incident. However, if it can be determined that the school failed to take necessary action to prevent an incident, they are at fault. For example, if another child hits your child at school, it may seem to be an issue of “kids being kids”, but if the school was aware of previously violent behavior and failed to act, they can be proven to be negligent.

Instances of Negligence on School Property

1. School Bus Incidents

School bus drivers have a responsibility to keep our children safe. When accidents occur on the road, injuries can happen. It’s important to determine whether the driver had been adequately trained, if the bus was well maintained and well designed, and that the school driver or school employee was not being negligent. Negligence can also be determined on the part of the other driver involved in the crash, so it is important to obtain a police report and photos of the scene.

2. Playground Accidents

Playground accidents fall under premises liability. If a playground is not well maintained or structurally sound, it should never be in use. Defective equipment on the playground can either be due to lack of maintenance from the school, or improper manufacturer design. Lack of supervision on the playground can also lead to injuries. It is the responsibility of the supervising adult on the playground to ensure that all play is done in a safe way. Playground falls, suffocation, and bullying can all lead to injuries that could be prevented with proper supervision.

3. Food Poisoning

According to the National School Lunch Program, nearly 100,000 schools/institutions serve school lunches to 30.4 million students each day. With numbers this high, it is no wonder that food poisoning incidents can occur. Food poisoning can occur when food is not properly stored, washed, or cooked. While food can become contaminated before reaching the school, it is also possible for cafeteria staff to improperly manage food that is being served to students.

4. Injuries during Sports/Play Time

It is very possible that injuries while playing sports or playing in general are genuine accidents with no fault found on either side. While children learn to control their bodies in motion, unwanted collisions, falls, and other injuries can occur. It is when inadequate supervision or faulty equipment comes into play that negligence can be determined. Students playing sports or other games should always be monitored by a first aid certified adult, and all equipment should be well maintained and routinely examined for wear and tear.

5. Slip and Fall

In winter and rainy months, sidewalks can become slick with ice or water. Spills in the cafeteria and hallways can also lead to slip and falls. If your child falls as a result of a slippery surface, indoors or out, it is possible that school maintenance did not take the proper precautions to counteract the problems. Wet areas should always be covered up and marked by a “Wet Floor” sign. Spills should be taken care of by a supervising adult as soon as possible. Additionally, in winter months, the school district has the responsibility to shovel snow in a timely manner and lay down sand and salt to prevent ice from accumulating.

A hurt child is every parent’s nightmare, but by having a plan in case the worst occurs, you can take the proper steps towards the recovery process. If your child is hurt while at school, call the Long Island personal injury lawyers