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School Liability – Who is Responsible When Your Child is Hurt at School?

When we send our children to school, we put a lot of faith in the adults who will be watching over them all day. All too often, school and staff members’ negligence results in serious injuries to children. It is the responsibility of schools to provide a safe environment for students. That does not imply that they must guarantee that students will not be harmed. However, if they fail to meet accepted standards of care, they may be considered negligent. And if that negligence resulted in an otherwise avoidable injury, the school may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit, even if the injury was unintentional. Some injuries at school are inevitable. Nonetheless, the law requires teachers and school administrators to do everything possible to avoid such accidents. If they fail to meet this responsibility and an accident occurs, the school will almost certainly be held liable for the child’s injuries. Even if the school or a school employee didn’t directly cause a child’s injury, the school district might still be legally responsible.

Although schools are generally safe places, students can and do get hurt on the playground, during football practice, or in fights. There are other types of injuries, such as emotional or academic problems caused by harassment or abuse. When a child comes home from school hurt, most parents are eager to understand how such a thing could have happened. It is critical to understand how accidents occur and how schools may be held liable for injuries sustained while under their supervision. The facts of the case will determine whether the school or another third party can be held liable. If your child was injured at school, it is always best to consult with a personal injury attorney. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano strives for the best possible outcome in every case. We understand how important your child and family are, and how much harm can be caused by a school’s negligence. We have over 30 years of courtroom experience fighting for victim compensation. With offices in several convenient locations, we assist injured children and their families throughout Upstate New York. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the outcomes we have obtained for our clients.

Sprains, slips and falls, bruises/cuts, dislocations, fractures/broken bones, sports injuries, head injuries, school bus accidents, violence, school crossing injuries, food poisoning, faulty playground equipment, and bullying are some of the most common injuries children sustain at school. Each of these circumstances could support a finding of liability. If the school failed to remove ice and snow from its walkways or failed to keep a staircase in a safe condition, the parents of a child who slipped and fell may be able to sue. If school coaches or teachers fail to properly supervise children participating in sports, or if they provide children with inappropriate equipment, they may be held liable. A premises liability claim may be appropriate when a child is injured on the playground as a result of a dangerous property condition. Injuries on playgrounds can also occur due to insufficient supervision and equipment. In cases where defective equipment was involved, you may have a defective product claim against the equipment’s manufacturer in addition to or instead of the school.

School districts that provide transportation to and from school have a legal duty to make sure that transportation is safe, at least within reason. That means schools could be held legally liable if students were injured in an accident caused by faulty brakes on a school bus or a driver who was not paying attention or lacked proper training.

Bullying is another prevalent issue in schools. The circumstances will determine whether the bullying student’s parents or the school are liable for the bullying. A parent bringing a claim would have to demonstrate that the school should have known that bullying was likely, which can be difficult to prove. Bullying and injuries caused by fellow students are a bit more complicated. However, a school may be held legally liable if it had notice of a dangerous situation and failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent foreseeable harm.

To hold a public school accountable, special procedural rules must be followed. For instance, we must serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. The Notice of Claim must describe the injuries, explain how the school’s negligence caused them, and state the amount of compensation that you are seeking. It is critical to retain an experienced lawyer who understands the importance of adhering to legal requirements such as this one in order for your claim to be heard fully and fairly.

It can be terrifying to have your child injured in school. When the school or another party is responsible, you should hold them accountable for the losses your child and your family have suffered.  The seasoned personal injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent injured children and their families throughout Upstate New York,  including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Buffalo, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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