Some child injuries are expected—minor cuts and bruises, and scrapes are common for school-aged children. When parents send their kids off to school, they may anticipate some injuries, but what if the injuries are more serious or permanent? Can parents hold a school liable when a child suffers a serious injury while under the care of a private or public school? According to researchers 1 in 14 children suffers a medically-attended or temporarily, disabling injury while at school. In many cases, teacher, staff, or administrative negligence is to blame.
School liability in child injury cases are on the rise. When children suffer serious injury or wrongful death because of failures in standards of care, it is important that responsible individuals and entities are held accountable. Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and in raising awareness to prevent future injuries and wrongful death. With a comprehensive understanding of school liability, we are dedicated to keeping parents of our community abreast and informed of their rights.
Personal injury or tort cases require that the plaintiff demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently or violated a duty of care. For school personnel, officials, and districts, wrongful death, injury harassment and bullying are all instances of liability that could return significant settlements or verdicts for victims and their families.
In most issues of liability, public schools are exempted under government immunity. However, some exemptions leave schools vulnerable to legal action. According to reports, 53 million children in the U.S. spend nearly 25% of their waking hours in school or on school property. As a group, children under the age of 15 suffer over 14 million unintentional injuries every year. Given the extent of time spent at a public or private school, it is likely that many of these injuries will occur on school property.
Most injuries suffered by children while they are at school are accidental. A child may fall off playground equipment, trip while running in from recess, or suffer an injury in gym class. Children are 9 times more likely to suffer an accidental injury rather than intentional injury at school. For children in elementary school, playgrounds and recess are associated with the majority of injuries. For students in junior high, middle school, or high school, athletics—both organized sports and gym class—compromise the majority of injuries.
In an analysis of school liability in personal injury cases, 46% of district-favorable outcomes were due to government immunity. In 41% of cases, plaintiffs failed to prove a breach of duty. Primary school students who were injured at school were more likely to get a favorable outcome because there is a higher duty of care placed on schools. In cases that favored student plaintiffs, the most commonly named negligent persons were sports coaches. In addition to sports, other common injures involved school bus accidents, negligence in maintaining school premises, failure to prevent a student-teacher sexual relationship and school bullying.
Every case is unique and should be reviewed by an experienced advocate. Children and families impacted by a school-related accident or injury may be entitled to significant compensation. According to reports, in cases where students have won damages, the average award was $480,000.
Contact Freeman Injury Law at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation.
More Blog Entries:
South Florida at High Risk of Child Heat Stroke Deaths, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 21, 2013
Child Pedestrians Safety a Spring Focus in South Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, April 25, 2013