Slip and Fall at School
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident at School?
Have you or your child sustained a serious injury in a slip and fall accident at school? Do you wonder if you have a personal injury case? Are you worried about paying medical bills? Call us today or complete the online contact form below to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
Slips, trips and falls can happen virtually anywhere. Still, because of their design, public and private schools are hotbeds for slip-and-fall accidents. Whether you can recover financial compensation for a slip and fall at school, though, depends on a few different factors.
Before examining the legal process for a slip and fall claim, it is important to understand why schools can be common places for slip, trip or fall injuries.
Why Are Schools Common Places for Slips and Falls?
Whether you are a student, member of faculty or visitor, you may have a greater chance of suffering a slip-and-fall injury at school than at many other places. Schools often have tile, concrete or other hard floors. These floors may become slippery with just a bit of accumulated water.
In areas of the school that have carpeting, an upturned rug may also be dangerous. The same is true for damaged thresholds that bridge the gap between carpet and other flooring materials.
Schools are not only potentially dangerous indoors, of course. When you are outdoors on school property, water, snow or ice may make walkways hazardous. Likewise, if school officials do not properly maintain garden areas and lawns, you may slip, trip or fall.
What Are Some Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries?
Some slip-and-fall accidents cause more embarrassment than physical pain. Nevertheless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries from these accidents account for more than 20% of all emergency room visits.
While it is possible to sustain many different injuries in a slip and fall accident at school, some injuries are more common than others. Here are four of them:
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions. If you hit your head during a fall, you may sustain a serious TBI. Unfortunately, the effects of a serious TBI may last a lifetime.
If you land on a limb, joint or even your ribcage, you may fracture one or more bones in a slip-and-fall accident. While doctors can often use non-invasive methods to treat fractured bones, surgery may be necessary to repair your injury. Even then, you may have work or lifestyle limitations after breaking a bone.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spinal cord is vital for delivering neurological commands from your brain to the rest of your body. In a slip and fall, unfortunately, you may break your spine or otherwise damage your spinal cord. With moderate and severe spinal cord injuries, paralysis is common.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Muscles, tendons and connective tissues are everywhere throughout your body. During a slip, trip or fall, you may tear, sprain, strain or cause other damage to these soft tissues. Recovery from a soft tissue injury may require surgery and rehabilitation.
What Is the Legal Process for a Slip-and-Fall Claim at School?
If you have sustained one of the above injuries or a different one, you may wonder if you can pursue financial compensation. The answer may depend on whether you are a student, visitor or employee. Likewise, it may make a difference whether your injury occurred at a public or private institution.
Negligence Claims for Injuries at Private Schools
Whether you are a student, visitor or other non-employee who suffers an injury at a private school, you may be eligible for financial compensation based on a negligence theory. The types of damages you may recover, though, varies from state to state.
For a successful negligence claim against a private school, you likely must prove all the following elements:
- Duty of school officials to maintain a reasonably safe environment
- Breach of the duty by school officials
- A legal and factual causal link between the actions of school officials and your injuries
- Harm you sustained
School officials generally have an obligation to keep students and others safe. If you want to proceed with a negligence claim, you likely must demonstrate that someone at the school knew about the slip-and-fall hazard and did nothing or too little to remedy it.
Additionally, school officials must appreciate that not removing the slip-and-fall hazard was likely to put you or others at risk.
Possible Sovereign Immunity for Public School Officials
While it is often possible to go after private schools, public schools may be a different story. Usually, special rules apply to government-owned buildings, such as schools. As public employees, the officials who oversee public schools may enjoy sovereign immunity, making it difficult to seek financial compensation from them.
Workers’ Compensation for Employees
Administrators, teachers and school staff may be just as likely to sustain a serious injury in a slip-and-fall accident as students and non-employee visitors. If someone who works for the school suffers an injury, workers’ compensation benefits may be available.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that typically provides coverage for medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses. If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you typically cannot sue your employer for financial damages.
Whether you qualify for workers’ compensation payments probably depends on state law, the extent of your injuries and your post-injury actions.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
You should be able to attend school or work there without worrying about slipping, tripping or falling. Still, a slip and fall at school may change your life considerably. If you have sustained a serious injury, you probably want to explore your legal options as quickly as possible.
Because personal injury and workers’ compensation claims are usually a matter of state law, an experienced local lawyer is the right legal professional to see. Your attorney may investigate your case, negotiate with insurance providers, file a lawsuit and represent you at trial.
Securing financial compensation for your slip and fall at school may boost your odds of recovering from your injury. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!