School Injuries/School Negligence | Lawyers & Attorneys
School is supposed to be a safe environment for children where they can learn, grow, and play. Parents send their children to school with the expectation that their child will spend the day in an environment in which teachers and administrators will keep them safe. When a child suffers harm because of a dangerous condition or lack of proper supervision at school, parents often wonder what their rights are and how their child can be properly compensated for his or her injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions about School Injuries/School Negligence
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Yes, schools can be held liable for injuries sustained by students and/or visitors, but it is important to understand that not every mishap is grounds for a lawsuit. In order to have a successful personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to establish all of the requisite elements of a claim.
Common claims against schools or day care centers include Negligent Supervision or Premises Liability claims.
What is negligent supervision?admin2020-07-09T18:37:44+00:00
Negligent supervision is when someone who has a legal responsibility to supervise others fails to do so in a responsible manner. This can include a wide range of supervisors including teachers, recess monitors, bus monitors, daycare providers, camp counselors, or coaches. Negligent supervision can involve any number of dangerous scenarios. Schools can be found liable for failing to keep children safe from an assault by another student, traffic, pools, dangerous chemicals, and much more.
Proving negligent supervision involves proving many of the same elements of a typical negligence claim. First, the plaintiff must prove that the person or organization accepted the responsibility to supervise a child. Given that students spend so much time at school, schools are often considered to be inloco parentis, a Latin phrase meaning “in the place of a parent”. By virtue of this, schools and daycare centers are considered to have accepted the responsibility to supervise and keep a child safe.
Next, a plaintiff must prove that the teacher or supervisor failed to properly monitor the child. Based on many factors such as the age of a child or nature of the activity, a reasonable person would expect different levels of supervision. Proving this element requires establishing the reasonable standard of supervision, then showing how the teacher or monitor in question failed to meet that standard. Once this is established, the plaintiff must prove that the injury sustained was foreseeable and a direct result of this lack of supervision. In other words, the plaintiff must be able to show that a reasonable caregiver could have seen the incident coming and prevented it from happening.
What is premises liability?admin2020-07-09T18:37:15+00:00
Property owners and managers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for those who visit their premises such as students, parents, or other visitors. When a safety hazard or dangerous condition develops, a property owner has a duty to provide a warning until the hazard can be remedied or repaired. If a school has knowledge, or should have knowledge, of a dangerous condition which could cause injury but fails to fix the condition or make it otherwise safe, the school may be legally liable if a student were to get hurt because of that condition.
Examples of potentially dangerous conditions include wet floors, broken tiles or flooring, broken windows, poor lighting in stairwells or hallways, broken or dangerous playground equipment, or ice on walkways.
Who can bring a claim for personal injuries against a school?admin2020-07-09T18:36:47+00:00
When filing a lawsuit for injuries suffered by a child, a parent or legal guardian typically brings the case on behalf of the child. A parent may also have a claim for aspects of their child’s injury that have affected them, for example the cost of medical care, or loss of the child’s services at home. A parent may also have their own claim if they were to be injured as a result of the examples of the dangerous conditions set forth above.
What is the statute of limitations for an injury that occurred at school?admin2020-07-09T18:36:16+00:00
Public schools and their employees are considered municipal entities which means special provisions must be followed even before starting a formal lawsuit or your child’s potential claim is at risk for being lost forever. The General Municipal Law requires that within 90 days of accrual of a claim, i.e. when the accident happened, the school must be served with a “Notice of Claim”. A Notice of Claim provides some information to the municipal entity so that it has the ability to investigate what happened and collect evidence in a timely manner. The parents then must wait 30 days after the Notice of Claim has been served on the school to file a lawsuit in Court. The statute of limitations to commence a lawsuit is 1 year and 90 days from when the accident occurred.
Children under the age of 18 are given the benefit of a toll to the statute of limitations until he or she reaches the age of 18. This means that once the notice of claim is provided, the 1 year and 90-day time limit does not commence until the child turns 18. Tolling means to pause. This does not mean that a claim cannot be brought sooner, it just means that it does not have to be. A lawsuit can always be commenced during the tolling period. Any claims that belong to the parent, as noted above, are not given the benefit of this toll and must be commenced within 1 year and 90 days of the incident or they may be lost forever.
Can a case against a school be settled without a lawsuit?admin2020-07-09T18:35:45+00:00
Yes, in some circumstances a case can be settled before a formal lawsuit is filed. Factors that are considered when a school negligence lawyer is trying to negotiate a settlement include the strength of the liability (i.e. the ability to legally prove that the school or employee is responsible) and the severity of the injuries. Settlements often occur when the responsibility for the injuries is clear and the injuries suffered are fully known and understood.
How long does a school negligence case take?admin2020-09-24T19:16:22+00:00
The length of time from the incident to the time of settlement or verdict depends on many facts. These factors include the injuries and extent of treatment, the number of defendants, the type of insurance coverage, the nature of the conduct that caused the injury, and whether a settlement can be reached or the case needs to proceed to trial. More information about how long a personal injury case takes, can be found here.
Settlements involving children under the age of 18 have an additional step which adds to the length of a case. In New York, settlements made on behalf of a child must be brought before a court by way of an “Infant Compromise” proceeding. An infant compromise proceeding requires that your school injury attorney submit documents to a Judge describing the nature of the case, the resolution of the matter, how the settlement proceeds will be handled to ensure the money is protected on behalf of the child until they become of age, and that the settlement is fair. The Judge’s role in reviewing the matter is to ensure the child is protected.
How much is my child’s injury case worth?admin2020-07-09T18:34:45+00:00
Compensation in a civil case is meant to provide monetary compensation to make the injured individual whole. The value of a case depends on several factors including the strength of liability, the significance of the injuries, and the amount of out of pocket losses suffered. An injury that requires surgery or results in a permanent limitation or disability increases the value of a case whereas an injury for which no surgery is necessary and results in a smooth recovery would have a lower value. The out of pocket expenses incurred for such things as medical expenses, is also an important factor in determining the full value of a claim.
What can I do to help my child’s injury claim?admin2020-07-09T18:34:22+00:00
As with any case, evidence is crucial. Photos of injuries when they occur and heal over time are often much more effective in explaining injuries to a jury than talking or writing about those same injuries. Photos of a dangerous condition or object that caused an injury are also crucial. Medical records are essential in understanding the extent of an injury. Documentation of concerns in writing before an incident occurs can be very important in a case. It is always best to document communications in writing but if a phone call or in person conversation does occur, following up with an email regarding your understanding is a simple way to then write down what was discussed.
You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
Wrongful Death Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
Farm/Tractor Accident The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Automobile Accident Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
Nursing Home Negligence An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
Medical Negligence Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
Bicycle Accident Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
Vicki Testimonial Transcript
Well, I met George in 2014. My son was arrested for a criminal offense, and George—he has this ability, it’s just who he is. He’s genuinely empathetic and he’s very compassionate and he has the ability to just make you feel safe. You know? I just always felt I was in great hands and my son was in good hands and that we would have a good outcome of our situation and we always have. And he’s brilliant. He’s a brilliant lawyer. He’s very skilled and very creative. He has excellent rapport with all the judges and DAs and officials, and he’s always found a rehabilitative outcome for my son which I genuinely appreciate.
Laurie Testimonial Transcript
George was referred to me by my estate attorney. They go way back and it was a great referral, I don’t think I could have done any better, it was a very good match for me. Something that was really really instrumental in the whole thing was George keeping us up-to-date on what was going on and very much included. I was invited to be at all the depositions if I wanted to be and he gave me all the written depositions to read through, so I was always up-to-date on what was going on and I felt like a part of the process. I would definitely recommend George to other people. In fact, about 2 weeks ago I did. A friend of mine was in a pedestrian car accident, she was the pedestrian and is in pretty rough shape, and he was the first person I thought of so I actually asked him if it would be in his purview and he said yes. And I know that she’s very happy with him so far.
Jules Testimonial Transcript
What brought me to the firm was a personal incident where Andrew was recommended to me very highly by a family friend who’s also an attorney, and Andrew represented me to great satisfaction in that case. What impressed me the most about Andrew was his direct straightforward approach, and he has this incredible way of setting you at ease and yet telling you the good and the bad of a situation. I felt that he was very much a straight shooter and lived up to the reputation that preceded him. I would recommend them and Andrew Safranko to anybody in the world. They’re just that class of a group of people.
Chuck Testimonial Transcript
Well, I came to LaMarche Safranko Law because I knew Andy was here and he’s helped me in the past and I just feel so comfortable coming to him because you know you’re going to get the best outcome that you can get in a criminal law field. He’s done such a fabulous job for me and I’ve seen what he does for me, so I’m sure he’ll do the same—put out the same effort and energy and zeal it takes to win their case like he has mine. I would feel very comfortable recommending him.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent representation on my recent matter. I have worked with lawyers, and in law firms much of my professional life, but I have never encountered the rare mix of skill, integrity and humanity in one individual—you….
“No one likes to be in a bad situation, but if you need a lawyer George is your man. Not only does he point you in the right direction he offers good advice for your future. As much as we bring him business he does not encourage that next time anticipation….
“The staff at LaMarche Safranko Law took care of whatever I needed, it was just fabulous. It was top shelf, if I called, I got George. If he was in a meeting, they left him a message. He called me right back after the meeting. Everybody was very courteous and very nice there. If I left a voicemail, everybody got back to me quickly. The level of service was very, very good and I would Highly recommend them.”
I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, diligence, and selfless manner that you put towards my legal difficulties in Colonie. From the first moment I met you, you helped reassure me that things were going to turn out in a more favorable manner than I originally thought. Clearly, the final result of my court case displays the quality of time and work that you put into this….
“I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to Mr. Andrew Safranko for the exceptional job he did in regards to my legal representation. Mr. Safranko displayed the utmost in professionalism and discretion during the entire court process, and took the time to explain each and every step….
“I cannot thank George E. LaMarche lll and his team for the excellent legal work they provided for my son, and in extension, our entire family. His experience, knowledge of the law, networking ability and communication is second to none. In our case, our son was wrongly accused by a small town police officer and charged with 5 tickets…
“I can honestly say that the best decision I’ve ever made was retaining George LaMarche as my attorney. I was in a situation where everything wasat risk; my career, livelihood, and the ability to provide for my family. In desperation, I contacted over a dozen attorneys. The majority of the lawyers I spoke with promised results without seeing paperwork or knowing valuable facts….
Thank you all for your kindness and all your help in getting back to my wellbeing and life. I could not have done it without you all. Everything is going so well again. I recommend you highly. Thanks Again!”
Thank you so much for everything you have done for our son over the last three years. This has been a very challenging time for our family and the knowledge that our son has an attorney as capable and amazing as you are has given us peace of mind!
“The arrest of my husband in 2008 was an extremely difficult and emotional time for our family. The arrest turned our lives upside down. It was sudden and unexpected and had tragic emotional as well as financial consequences. I had no idea what to do under the circumstances….
“Throughout the attorney client relationship regarding my personal injury lawsuit, George and his staff continually exhibited tremendous amounts of legal knowledge, skill, and a vast amount of expert resources that ultimately resulted in a final judgment in my favor. George was there every step of the way to explain where we stood and what to expect next and there was never a need to question his professional judgment…
Thank You so much for answering my question, and so expediently!
The dedication, respect, and consideration with which you treat your clients, current and past, is remarkable. It is why I reached out to you when searching in my time of need, and why I would highly recommend…
“My family and I cannot thank George and his staff enough for all of the support and guidance they have given us over the past six months. Anyone who has ever suffered a personal injury knows how difficult they are to overcome, but I’m glad we had such an intelligent and hardworking attorney on our side so I could focus on my recovery rather than on the details of the case….
“I am an attorney who found himself in the middle of a serious, personal legal matter that compromised not only my personal life but my professional life as well. I immediately contacted Andrew (Andy) Safranko, Esq. Andy worked tirelessly and extremely hard to bring my legal situation to a very favorable resolution. In so doing, Andy not only saved certain aspects of my personal and professional life…