Lever & Ecker, PLLC October 6, 2022 Personal injury
Placing your child’s well-being in the hands of school staff is stressful. There is often that moment of fear and apprehension when you first drop your child off that they could somehow be hurt, and it is no wonder parents feel this way. From playground accidents to violent bullies, school bus crashes, and everything in between, there is a multitude of ways for a child to suffer an injury after they leave home for school.
There is practically nothing worse for a parent than learning that a child has been injured. Adding insult to injury, such injuries also often come with expenses and require parents to miss time from work.
If your child’s injury resulted from someone’s carelessness or recklessness in the school environment, can that other person or entity be held responsible for the harm they have caused?
Schools have a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for anyone who utilizes the property. This means ensuring that all areas are sufficiently maintained, including the buildings themselves and outdoor areas on school grounds such as sidewalks, courtyards, and playgrounds.
Failing to maintain a safe school environment could be deemed negligent if a child were to suffer an injury. Examples of this can include broken playground equipment, damaged sidewalks, or even leaky roofs that result in slippery floors.
Some level of horseplay is expected when dealing with children, but if teachers and school staff neglect to prevent or terminate potentially dangerous activity, they could be held liable if a child is injured. Schools that fail to hire enough staff to supervise students could also be found responsible for injuries sustained in this way.
Likewise, schools have a duty to hire, train and supervise responsible and qualified staff, to ensure that children are properly supervised. If a school fails in any of these areas, it could be held responsible for injuries suffered by a student as a result.
Although schools can often be held responsible for injuries suffered by children while school is in session, if your child was not hurt on school property, there is less of a chance your child’s school will be found negligent.
For example, a student walking home from school who is hit by a car may not be eligible to seek retribution from the school for the harm they have suffered. Schools are also often able to avoid liability for playground injuries that occur on weekends, after school dismissal, or during summer or holiday breaks, provided the equipment itself was not dangerous or poorly maintained.
Parents of children who are injured on school buses may also not be able to go after the school directly (although this may depend on the nature of the relationship between the school and the bus company). However, the bus company and its driver may be held responsible, depending on the nature of the accident.
School accident injuries can significantly and permanently impact your child’s life. The highly skilled personal injury attorneys on the Lever & Ecker, PLLC team have 65+ years of combined legal experience advocating for New Yorkers’ rights. We are always prepared to go to trial to recover the settlement you deserve and can work in your stead and on your behalf.