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When Is a School Liable for Injuries Caused on Their Premises?

West Coast Trial Lawyers understand that when a child is injured at school, it’s not always clear who, if anyone, might be legally responsible. Certain accidents are unavoidable, but some injuries on school grounds are due to unsafe conditions, or the action or inaction, of school officials, staff, or even other students.

It may be difficult to determine who is legally responsible for a child getting harmed or injured at school. In some circumstances, there are accidents that are not avoidable. However, others could be a result from:

  • Hazardous conditions, or
  • No proper action done by school officials or students.

If you have any questions in regards to your premises liability case or would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please contact us by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Injuries

School officials and staff are required to provide a special duty of care to students to make sure they are kept from harm’s way. To do so, they will take on the responsibility of hiring enough staff members to supervise the students on the premises. This duty is reflected on all school district employees. The main objective of this is to ensure that the students are in a safe school environment.

To make sure that this goal is met, it is important to hire applicants that fit the appropriate qualifications of what the school district is looking for. Thus, background checks are an essential factor during the hiring process. Schools need to make sure that they are doing these checks when hiring staff members to know whether or not they fit with the standards established by the school district.

Additionally, the school is civilly liable for a student being sexually abused while they knew, or should have known about the situation, or if the offender had a history of exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Now, when it comes to bullying, it takes on a more difficult route. A school may be considered at risk of legal action if they were aware or had notice of a severe bullying issue and failed to prevent it from continuing.

The Importance of Checking Property

When a child is injured on school grounds, it must be determined whether or not the accident was foreseeable. If the school failed to conduct a proper inspection of their equipment, such as a playground, and if the child got injured utilizing it, then they may face legal consequences. This is why it is important for school districts to make sure their equipment is measured properly before allowing children to use it. An example could be a child playing on the swings. The swing’s chain can detach, thus resulting in the child falling and harming themselves. The school is required to check and see if the swing set was constructed properly to avoid this issue.

Exceptions to School Liability

There are significant exceptions that are applicable in regards to a school’s liability when a student is harmed or injured. Typically, schools are not held liable for a child being injured on their property if it is during outside school hours or outside events that are sponsored by the school.

An example could be a girl getting pushed off a school playground slide on a Sunday morning. The school is not held responsible for this injury since it did not happen during its open hours or at a sponsored event.

When it comes to student athletes getting injured, the school is not held liable for this either. Once a student joins a sports team, they are well aware of the general risks of what may happen during sports activities.

Immunity 

Public school districts attain immunity from liability based on specific types of reported harm. This immunity does have the potential of getting waived. The victim must follow through with the rules for informing the government about the claim along with giving important information on the situation. This must all be performed in a timely manner to avoid exceeding the statute of limitations, which is two years from the initial date of the injury.

Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers to Find Out How We Can Help

If you suffered injuries due to a premise liability incident, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we have experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorneys that are fully committed to helping our clients with their cases and ensuring that they leave with a satisfactory end result. Our attorneys will help you recover compensation for the losses you have endured, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are paid until we settle your case. Reach out to our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

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