Who Is Responsible When a Child Is Injured at School?
The beginning of the 2020 school year looks vastly different than years past. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every procedure and plan and created an environment in which parents and educators are just trying to keep up. The pandemic is on everyone’s mind, but COVID-19 is not the only danger kids face throughout their school day.
Students spend a significant portion of their days in class on school campuses for classes and activities, which makes them vulnerable to various everyday injuries on playgrounds, during sports and in classrooms and cafeterias. Although these injuries are sometimes unavoidable, they can be caused by the negligence of the school or a school employee. When that is the case and your child was hurt, the school may be held legally responsible for damages in some cases.
School districts are considered political subdivisions, just like government agencies, and are afforded sovereign immunity. This means they can only be sued under certain circumstances, such as when they fail to keep a student safe. When an employee or contractor’s actions contributed to a student’s injury, the district could be liable.
Some common examples:
- Bus accidents — When children are hurt in a school bus or transport vehicle accident, fault could rest entirely with the district or be shared by several parties. For example, the driver could have been driving recklessly or improperly trained. The bus could have been poorly maintained or defective. Another driver could be found to have been at fault too.
- Playground accidents — Kids are hurt at recess all the time. Was adequate supervision being given to the students? Did playground equipment malfunction through a manufacturer defect or poor maintenance? The school could be liable.
- Slip and fall accidents — Students are also hurt when they fall at school. This could have been due to a maintenance issue, such as icy sidewalks, wet floors or faulty handrails on stairs.
Kids are full of energy and curiosity and tend to take risks, so there are countless potential opportunities for injury at school. Sometimes they are simply accidents, other times they are not. When a school bears some responsibility for a student’s injury, parents should contact an experienced school injury attorney who can help them proceed.
Because school districts are a special class of legal entity, certain steps must be followed precisely to be able to successfully file a lawsuit against a school. It is important to consult a skilled attorney with experience in school injury cases before doing anything, as a mistake could affect the right to pursue compensation later.
Determining negligence is no simple task, especially when a school is involved. If your child has been hurt on school property, contact the knowledgeable South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm to help you determine your rights and a path forward. Call 843-720-2800 to set up a consultation and discuss your potential case with a member of the Steinberg Law Firm team.