Hundreds of thousands of parents drop their children off at day cares and schools every day in Mesa. When you entrust a school with your son or daughter’s life, you want them to take this responsibility seriously. Parents expect the school or day care facility to protect their children for the six to seven hours they are in the school, as well as during field trips, after school activities and sports programs.
It is true that children are accident prone, but there are many injuries that can be avoided, including some school bus injuries, playground accidents, sports-related injuries, and other accidents. Seek legal assistance from our Mesa personal injury lawyers at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC for school injury cases like these below.
School Bus Injuries
Many school bus accidents are not the fault of the school bus driver, but the fault of another driver on the road. Several courts in Arizona and across the country have ruled that, due to the “compartmentalized” nature of school buses, restraints and seatbelts are not required by law. However, burns, cuts, bruises, broken bones, head injuries, and even deaths can occur during a school bus accident if the bus driver does not take necessary steps to evacuate children from the vehicle. School buses should always be a safe environment for children whenever they board. If violence, intimidation or bullying occurs on the school bus, it is the driver’s responsibility to report it and stop it. Failure to do so can be considered negligence on the school district’s part.
Child abuse takes many forms, including verbal, sexual and physical abuse. According to ARS-13-3620-A, it is a school’s responsibility to immediately report child abuse to the proper authorities if abuse is ever suspected. Failure to do so is considered school and daycare negligence.
The younger the children, the more careful preschools, daycares and schools need to be in keeping a watchful eye over them. These kids require more supervision from teachers and adults. Failure to anticipate and/or prevent a problem, injuries caused by another child, or injuries due to negligence can all be cause for a lawsuit. Bruises, cuts and scrapes are common for small children at schools; broken bones, brain damage, abuse, paralysis, and death are obviously causes for concern.
Child Allergy Injuries
Life-threatening food allergies are a major issue for schools everywhere. Peanut allergies, gluten allergies, dairy allergies, and other food-related allergies can cause anything from rashes and gastrointestinal issues to anaphylactic shock and death. When parents enroll their student in a new school, it is their responsibility to notify the school/daycare of their child’s allergies. They will need to provide the school with medical documentation about the child’s condition and work with the school to develop a plan to accommodate the child’s specific needs. Providing emergency procedures and emergency contact information to the school are as crucial tasks as teaching your child what they can and cannot eat.
If parents have taken all of the necessary precautions to equip the school and their child with as much information and emergency awareness as possible, it then becomes the school’s responsibility to implement these procedures and reduce the child’s exposure to the allergens. Staff must be trained on what to do in case of an allergic reaction and be proactive in their allergy management. The liability and the responsibility rests with school staff to prevent child allergy injuries and deaths, especially if the child is younger and may not understand their food allergies completely.
School Injury Claims
There are few things as distressing as seeing your child in pain. It is especially concerning if it was the result of an accident that occurred at a school or daycare from someone else’s negligence. School-related injuries happen often, and while some may seem minor, you could have a potential injury claim that is credible to pursue. Here is a list of the types of injuries your child could have at school.
- Sports-related Injuries - Having your child participate in school sports is a rite of passage to independence, learning teamwork and developing discipline that can benefit them in their later years. Unfortunately, accidents can occur during gameplay or practice. Some of the most common types of child sport injuries include slip and falls, rolled ankles and blunt force trauma.
- Choking Incidents – This type of injury is most common with younger children in preschool or day care facilities. A frequent cause is toys or products within children’s reach that are inappropriate for their age group. The staff at your child’s day care or preschool has a duty to always supervise children and keep choking-risk items out of reach.
- Air-Quality Health Issues – Each school administration has a duty to provide a safe environment for children. Improper maintenance of classrooms or facilities can lead to many health-related issues including asthma, headaches, frequent cold and viruses, and worse. Routine floor care and air duct maintenance both help improve air quality within a classroom. All water-related damage should be immediately resolved to prevent slip and fall scenarios as well as those pertaining to mold. Black mold is especially toxic and potentially deadly for young immune systems.
- Structural Defects – Children often don’t care if a building is structurally sound, but teachers and parents do. In a Valley-related incident, students and teachers were relocated due to structural defects. While the repairs are expected to be resolved within 20 school days, they will help prolong the life of the buildings for up to 10 years. This discovery has prompted a widespread investigation at other Valley schools to help protect students and teachers.
While some accidents are unavoidable, such as those sustained from sports, there is still a proper procedure to follow if your child is injured at an educational facility. The school is required to provide medical attention and care if the injury happens on campus. If your child comes home with an unexplained injury, here is what you should do. Any deviation from these procedures could put the outcome of your injury claim at risk.
Take photographs and record your child giving you an account of the injury. Do not ask the teacher or any of the other students because you could taint your case.
Contact a local personal injury lawyer that works with child-related cases and schedule a free consultation, if applicable. Seeking legal advice is smart and often covers the legal procedures your state requires to have your case heard in a court of law.
File an official claim with the school or the school district. You can consult the parent-student handbook for information specific to your child’s school. Keep in mind, most schools and school districts have a statute of limitations during which a claim can be filed.
After the claim is filed and processed, wait until the school administration or district board addresses it. They have the choice to approve or deny the claim. This is the start of the school investigation into the matter.
If the claim is denied, you cannot proceed further with a lawsuit. If the school does not provide an answer within three to six months, your personal injury lawyer can begin the process for a legal injury claim settlement.
All remaining procedures will be between you and your personal injury attorney.
As a parent, it is important to realize that even if there is a cause-and-effect situation between your child and another student or any other parties, you still have a potential case with the educational facility or the school district itself. Reporting the incident could unveil potential negligence or other contributing factors. Here are some potential scenarios that may be like yours, and the article details how the school district may still be liable for them.
Every parent hates to see their child in pain. If they suffered any types of injuries while at school or their day care, hire a lawyer to give your child a legal voice. You and your child should not have to deal with their unexplained injuries in silence.
For more information about these and other types of injuries sustained by children at school, contact