Back to School Safety and Liability

It’s time for your children to pack up their backpacks and get back to school. This time of year can come as a relief to many parents who spent the summers helping their kids stay active and engaged in different activities. However, for some parents, watching their kids go back to school means sending them into a place where safety is promised but not always guaranteed. Though schools have a responsibility to provide a secure environment and appropriate adult supervision, there have been situations where schoolchildren have suffered serious injury due to negligence on the part of the school. Here are some of the common causes of personal injury accidents that parents should be aware of as their kids head back to school.

Slip and Fall Accidents at School

Schools should always place the safety of children as a top concern, especially when doing construction or maintenance on school grounds. If, for example, your child is walking into school and slips on slick, wet floors that were not marked, then you may be able to claim that the school created an unsafe condition that led to your child’s injury. Another example of a situation where your child may be at risk is if your child is playing on a poorly maintained track, field or playground with such hazards as holes in the ground. Advise your child to pay attention to their surroundings at all time.

Bullying and Assaults

Despite the emphasis placed on stopping bullying behavior, some parents have expressed concerns about schools ignoring reports of abusive behavior. Florida law requires a school to investigate if bullying is reported. They are required to report incidents of bullying to the state. It’s also important for parents to speak to their kids about the dangers of rough housing and assault. If your child is the victim of an assault by a teacher or another student, this is an issue that needs to be bought up against the school.

Weapons Brought to School

It’s a fact that guns end up in schools in America more than the media gets a hold of. Many times, these guns end up in classrooms innocently; a child may accidentally take the wrong bag from home or could bring one to show off, not realizing the danger. Schools need to be held liable for the lack of oversight of these children. If there’s a potential for deadly weapons to be on site, then there should be actions in place to recognize and take away those items. It’s important for the school staff to be trained in handling unsafe situations to prevent them from getting out of hand.

Schools and Liability Legal Claims

If your child was injured, bullied, or assaulted at school due to the negligence of another or the institution, parents may be able to bring a personal injury claim. However, it’s important to note that public schools have stricter deadlines as well as certain limits and recovery caps in these types of lawsuits, so it may be more difficult to bring a suit against the school due to the sovereign immunity of government institutions. Private schools, on the other hand, should carry comprehensive insurance. Parents should always check the insurance policy held by the school.

Your child may experience long-lasting consequences resulting from an accident at school. Physical therapy or other long-term medical care may be necessary to recover from injuries fully, and they may need counseling or psychiatric care following an incident of abuse or assault. In the case of an injury at school, parents should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who may be able to help recover financial losses from the incident of negligence against the child.

 

Mitchell J. Panter is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocacy, primarily practicing in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Product Liability, Sexual Assault, Food Contamination and Premises Liability Cases. You can reach Mitchell at mpanter@panterlaw.com or 305 662-6178. You can also visit the office at 6950 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL 33156.

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