In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on schools and child injury liability. When children are injured or otherwise harmed on school grounds, it’s important for parents to understand how potential liability and negligence claims are made – against not only the school but possibly other parties as well.
At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to help with a wide variety of child injury cases, including those sustained while on school grounds or during school programs. In part two of our series, we’ll go over several specific areas of school liability here, plus certain cases where schools may be exempt or protected from injury liability.
As we touched on in part one, it’s the responsibility of teachers and other school staff members to care for the students who are in attendance during school periods. This includes many areas, but the broad theme stays the same: Preparedness to prevent students from being harmed or harming one another.
This refers to everything from proper hiring practices and staffing requirements to the individual responsibility of each staff member on a daily basis. Such daily responsibilities include all reasonable efforts to maintain student safety. School administrators will be expected to carry out background checks and other proper hiring processes when bringing in new staff members; failure to do so may result in claims against the school if something goes wrong with a staff member who was not properly vetted.
Negligence and Foreseeability
Down similar lines, many cases of injuries that take place on school grounds end up being decided from a liability standpoint in terms of how foreseeable, or predictable, they were. If your child’s school had clear evidence that there were safety issues with a given staircase on the premises, for instance, but failed to take the proper steps to repair these issues, the school would almost certainly be held liable if a child was injured on that staircase.
In other situations, it could be harder to prove negligence or foreseeability. Playground incidents are a common example – certain elements might not have been repaired anytime recently, but did this actually cause an injury, or was the child being too reckless?
Exceptions to School Liability
There are several cases where schools may be excepted from liability for a child’s injury on their premises, including:
- Non-school hours or events: Many schools make their property available for non-school uses on weekends or outside school hours. If people are injured during such events, schools typically are not liable.
- Organized sports: Both for outside sports and those sponsored by the school, children participating (and their parents) accept standard risks and usually cannot sue the school for negligence or liability if the child is injured during play.
- Public schools: While public schools are not exempt from liability cases, there can be some significant red tape involved in them. Many school districts have immunity from certain kinds of liability, though there are detailed rules involved here and there are many cases where public schools can indeed be held liable for negligence.
For more on schools and child injury claims, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.