The moment when your child crosses the school’s doorstep gives you peace of mind, because you wholeheartedly believe that your kid will be safe and protected there, but this is often a false illusion.
In reality, injuries on school grounds do happen, and they are more common than we think. You may be surprised to hear this, but a whopping more than 80 percent of all elementary school children visit the nurse due to injuries at school, according to a study.
“It is true that some injuries are unforeseeable and cannot be avoided, but the vast majority of them are preventable and there are parties to blame for this,” says our Los Angeles premises liability attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP
More often than not, even with parents not realizing this, injuries at school happen due to (1) unsafe physical conditions on the school premises that were created or should have been remedied by the school, and (2) negligent actions or lack of action on the part of school staff and/or other students.
Does it mean that someone can be held liable for the injuries of your children at school? That’s right! Our lawyer from the premises liability attorney Los Angeles Law Firm is going to explain the basics of premises liability at schools.
Are schools responsible for my child’s injuries?
First and foremost, each and every school in Los Angeles and all across California has the legal duty to maintain a safe environment for its students. When your child arrives at school, the school automatically assumes the responsibility to take care of him or her.
While schools are not expected to keep all students out of harm’s way and prevent all kinds of injuries and accidents (this would be unrealistic), they do have the duty to maintain their premises in a way that prevents foreseeable hazards from harming students.
Our experienced premises liability lawyer in California explains that such dangerous conditions at schools can include but are not limited to slippery floors, defective playground equipment, faulty elevators, poisonous and toxic materials and agents such as mold, asbestos, lead, and many others.
What if someone hurt my kid at school?
But unsafe conditions at school is not the only danger that can be encountered by students on the school premises. Your child can also be hurt and injured by others. That is why schools have a duty to keep students from harming one another, which requires schools to hire enough staff to supervise the students (hall monitors, teachers, recess monitors, and others).
No less important is what kind of people are hired by schools to do their job. Dangerous people cannot be around people, and it is the duty of schools to conduct a reasonable number of background checks to make sure that they are not exposing their students to dangerous adults. For example, you may be able to hold a school liable for the sexual assault of your child by a teacher if the school knew or should have known about the teacher’s history of molesting children.
Can I hold the school liable for my child’s injury at school?
Failure to maintain a safe environment for children or properly supervise the students on the premises exposes the school to a plethora of legal problems. “More often than not, in order to establish whether or not the school can be held liable, it must be determined whether or not the injury or harm was foreseeable,” says our Los Angeles premises liability attorney.
In order to determine whether or not the school was negligent, your lawyer will have to investigate the case and see if the school was aware or should have been aware of a specific danger but failed to remedy it or take precautionary measures.
Do note, however, that schools are not generally liable for injuries that occur on the school premises outside school hours, when the school has no responsibility to supervise the students on its property. Similarly, you will most likely not be able to sue the school for your child’s injuries sustained during a sports game unless the school was negligent (otherwise, students and parents assume the risk of injury when playing sports at school).
As you can see, navigating the premises liability waters regarding school injuries is quite tricky.