When a child is injured at school or at a school-related event, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to file a lawsuit.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale school injury lawyers understand that school districts are government agencies, and special rules apply where litigation is concerned. For example, there is a principle known as “sovereign immunity” that may preclude certain types of lawsuits. Beyond that, injury claims against government agencies tend to require extra steps and have shorter deadlines.
This is not to say parents and guardians should avoid legal action in the event of school injuries. On the contrary, it is often the only way to ensure you and your child are justly compensated for the negligent actions of the district or employees that caused the injury. But these cases require an attorney who has proven experience in handling such cases.
When your child suffers an injury at school, you deserve answers and accountability. The injury attorneys in our Broward County office have access to experts in the fields of medicine, insurance, investigation, law and more. These individuals not only delve into the details of the case to provide a more intimate understanding of what happened and who is responsible, they are available to testify in depositions and, if necessary, at trial in order to prove your case.Playground Injuries
One of the most common sites of injuries to children at school is playgrounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that every year, some 200,000 children under the age of 14 are treated in emergency rooms for playground injuries.
Of those injuries:
- 45 percent are severe, including fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and amputations
- 75 percent of those playground injuries occur on public playgrounds, mostly at schools or daycares
- Nearly 150 children died in the last decade due to playground injuries, with most cases involving falls and strangulation.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 tend to have the highest rates of playground injuries, and girls slightly more so than boys. Playgrounds with climbing equipment are generally the most dangerous.
Schools have a responsibility to maintain playground equipment so that it is safe for child use. Schools are also responsible to make sure children are adequately supervised while they are playing, and that the equipment is age-appropriate for the children using it. Any failure in these areas is a breach of the duty of care owed by schools to the children in their care, and may be grounds for a liability lawsuit.Violence at School
School violence, per the CDC, is violence inflicted upon a youth that occurs:
- On school property
- On the way to school
- On the way to a school-sponsored event
- At a school-sponsored
Perpetrators of this violence can be either students/ other youth or adults. In some cases, such as bullying, the primary harm is emotional. However in other cases, particularly those that involve weapons or gang violence, the result can be serious injury and death.
Every year, approximately 750,000 children nationwide suffer a non-fatal but violent victimization at school. That figure only accounts for children between the ages of 12 and 18. A recent, nationally-representative survey of high school students indicated:
- 8 percent had been in a physical fight at school in the last year
- 7 percent didn’t go to school at least once in the last month because they felt unsafe either at school or on the way to school
- 5 percent carried a weapon with them to school in the last month
- 7 percent had been threatened or injured on school property at least once in the last month
- 20 percent had been bullied on school property and 15 percent had been bullied electronically in the last month
Although school districts cannot prevent every instance of bullying or violence, they do have a responsibility to address it and protect students when there is a reported threat. Schools that lack adequate security or fail to take action to stop a known threat may be liable for any resulting injuries.Other School-Related Hazards
Some other school sites where injuries have been known to occur:
- Wood shop
- Metal shop
- Physical education
These injuries may include lacerations, burns, fractures, bruising, concussions and severe internal injuries.
Because of the potential challenges plaintiffs face in pursuing legal action against a school for child injuries, it’s imperative to discuss strategy as soon as possible with an experienced injury attorney.
For information on legal action following a child injury in Fort Lauderdale, contact The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.