Premises Liability for Accidents on Public School Grounds

When someone has been injured on another person’s property and it was the result of a hazardous condition, the victim can generally file a premises liability claim against the owner. However, when it occurs on government property, such as public school grounds, things may become a little more complicated.

Rules Dictating School Injury Claims

Government immunity generally protects government entities like a school district. However, there could be exceptions based upon a claimant’s actions and the school district’s response. If someone has been injured on school grounds and a notice of claim is appropriately filed, the school district must respond to it within 30 days.

A failure to respond or make payment could allow for the pursuit of a lawsuit. However, there is a limited timeframe to file suit against the school district. The person would have one year and ninety days from the event that caused injuries on the property. If the injuries were fatal, however, the deceased’s representative would have two years to file it.

Basis of Premises Liability Claims against a School

The basis for any type of premises liability claim against the government is going to be whether or not the school had a duty to protect the injured person. If so, did it use a reasonable standard of care? If not, was it the direct cause of the person’s injuries?

Another issue that is likely to arise is whether or not the person who suffered physical harm had also acted in a negligent manner. Let’s say someone was injured while using playground equipment in need of repair. But it was also discovered the person had been using it incorrectly. This could be factored into the case.

Determining if Negligence Caused Injuries

One consideration might be the time of day in which the person was injured. Was it during or after school hours? If the issue was a lack of child supervision, school personnel may not be responsible for the child’s injuries if an accident occurred after hours.

But the time of day may not matter if the issue is that equipment on the school grounds was defective. For instance, failure to inspect and maintain the playground equipment may have caused someone’s injuries. For example, a slide could collapse if some bolts fell out over time.

Another example of potential school liability for injuries is when the school does not properly maintain the grounds. Cement that is cracked, uneven or crumbling could cause someone to fall while walking. A slip and fall on school grounds – such as in the cafeteria if a custodian did not properly mark a spill with a sign or orange cones or if it wasn’t immediately mopped – might warrant a claim as well.

Importance of Seeking Legal Counsel When Injured on Public School Grounds

There can be a variety of complex issues that impact a premises liability claim, especially one involving a school. It would be beneficial to seek legal advice to discuss the basis of the case, the types of proof necessary to establish liability, and the steps required to pursue a claim.

Local and state laws may impact how the claim is handled. And with different time limits to file paperwork, consult an attorney right away. This could avoid waiting too long and losing the ability to pursue compensation.

If you’re in need of legal counsel or representation, contact a lawyer with Gacovino, Lake & Associates today. Call us at 800-246-4878 to schedule your free consultation and get started on your case.

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