We expect schools to keep our kids safe and return them home unharmed. When children are hurt at school as the result of negligence, parents may be able to hold the school liable for the children’s injuries.
The School’s Duty of Care for Your Child
Schools have a legal duty of care to provide a reasonably safe environment for our kids. If they act negligently or reckless in some way, schools can be held legally liable for any injuries that occur as a result.
Edward F. Dragan, Ed.D., founder of Education Management Consulting, explains in a paper, Understanding Liability in School Cases: “Teachers and administrators have a responsibility to anticipate potential dangers and to take precautions to protect their students from those dangers.” These duties are to provide adequate supervision, particularly during high-risk activities, and to maintain equipment and facilities properly.
Common Scenarios in which Kids are Injured at School
From daycare to high school, kids routinely suffer injuries on school grounds each day in America. Violence is one such cause, as is faulty or ill-kept playground equipment and grounds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury among children, and they can occur at school for any number of reasons, from uneven pavement to wet cafeteria floors.
Other situations at school in which kids have sustained injuries include:
- bullying and assault by another child;
- understaffing and poor supervision;
- broken or defective playground equipment;
- falling in broken chairs;
- getting hurt while playing sports or in P.E. class;
- getting hurt with chemicals or other instruments in science class;
- food poisoning;
- harassment, abuse or misconduct by teachers;
- broken stairwells;
- the school failing to administer proper medications; and
- poor evacuation procedures.
Difficulty Proving Liability
Not all injuries that occur at school can be pinned on the school. In some cases, the police and your local prosecutor may need to get involved. In other cases such as sports-related injuries, the school might not be liable because the courts hold that participants assume a certain degree of risk when playing a sport.
In order to have a successful case against the school, you and your attorney will have to show that the school failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care and that your child was injured as a result of the school’s actions.
The court will look at many mitigating factors to determine exactly what constituted “reasonable” in your child’s case and whether the school or administrator breached that duty.
It can be difficult for parents to resolve lawsuits against schools successfully. However, with a well-crafted case, victims can find success in these cases.
Contacting a Child Injury Firm that Handles School Cases
To determine the legal options available to you, contact us at Chalik & Chalik. Call us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation at (855) 529-0269. Also check out our Parents’ Corner for more articles specifically written for parents.