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When is a New York School Liable for Injury to a Child?

by Salvatore Aspromonte on Nov. 09, 2017

 General Practice 

Summary: Accidents happen, and children may be particularly accident-prone as they run, play, climb, roughhouse and generally take chances that most adults don’t encounter in everyday life.

Accidents happen, and children may be particularly accident-prone as they run, play, climb, roughhouse and generally take chances that most adults don’t encounter in everyday life. Still, when you entrust your child to an institution and the adults who staff it, you have a right to expect that reasonable precautions will be taken to keep your child safe.

Still, SafeKids Worldwide estimates that about 2.2 million kids aged 14 and under suffer school-related injuries each year. These injuries cost more than $109 billion, including about $3.4 billion in medical expenses. And, a national study of high school athletics in the 2014-15 school year concluded that about 1.2 million high school athletes are injured each year.

Some common types of school and school-related injuries include:

  • School bus accidents
  • School bus stop injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Physical education injuries
  • Altercations with other children
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Playground injuries

43% of school injuries requiring hospitalization are the result of falls, and 34% are sports-related.

Negligence of Teachers, Schools, and School Districts

Some forms of negligence that may render a public or private school responsible for these and other injuries include:

  • Failure to institute effective safety policies
  • Failure to maintain premises in a safe manner
  • Negligent hiring or training of teachers and staff
  • Negligent oversight of teachers and staff
  • Negligent supervision of children
  • Faulty or poorly-maintained playground equipment
  • Negligent operation of a school bus
  • Negligent selection and management of bus stops
  • Negligent selection of an outside school transportation provider

Certain types of negligence are closely tied to particular accidents and injuries. For example, 40% of playground injuries result from inadequate supervision. In fact, children are more likely to be unsupervised on a school playground than they are in a public park.

Determining School Liability and Third-Party Liability

When a child is injured at school or during a school-related activity such as a field trip or sporting event, there may be multiple possible responsible parties. The school and school district may be liable, but some others who may share legal responsibility include:

  • Playground equipment manufacturers
  • Playground designers
  • Outside school transportation providers
  • Sports equipment manufacturers
  • School vehicle or vehicle component manufacturers

Determining which parties are liable and to what degree can be complicated and confusing. An attorney who is experienced in representing victims of school injuries and their families can be an invaluable source of information and serve as an advocate and guide as you seek fair compensation for the harm to your child and the resulting costs.

Damages in New York School Liability Cases

Damages in a school injury case will vary. Some injuries are minor and involve only minor medical treatment and a missed day or two of school. Others can be quite serious, necessitating long-term or even lifelong medical care and limiting future prospects. Given that school injuries occur while a child is still developing psychologically and may involve a traumatic event in what was previously perceived as a safe place, victims of serious school injuries may also require counseling or other therapy.

Determining the extent of the harm suffered and what compensation will be required to make your child and your family whole again will likely require experts with extensive experience in the valuation of child injury claims.

Talk to a New York School Injury Lawyer

At Dansker & Aspromonte, our New York school liability lawyers have a track record of success. For example, one of our attorneys obtained a $1.2 million verdict for a young girl who sliced off the tip of her finger on a poorly-installed slide at a New York City school.

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