Recently a chemistry lab went terribly wrong at Beacon High School in Manhattan, when a 16-year-old student suffered serious burn injuries. He remains hospitalized in critical condition. Another student sustained minor burns. The accident occurred when fumes from methanol ignited in a chemistry room.
After an investigation into the incident, the school was cited for eight violations. This included storing a supply of dangerous chemicals unsafely and in higher amounts than legally allowed. Additionally, improper safety practices and a lack of safety equipment were present, not only in the room where the fiery accident took place, but also two other rooms.
The school has 30 days to comply with some of the violations. But for others pertaining to building/fire codes, it has 10 days. The fire department stopped short of ordering the chemistry labs to be completely closed down.
But this isn’t the only school laboratory to have safety violations. It’s a widespread problem across the nation that has caused other students and teachers to be injured. One of the issues for the state of New York is that teachers aren’t educated on lab safety. Therefore, they have no idea about the potential risks that could cause not only disfiguring injuries, but also death.
Negligence on School Grounds Could Lead to a Lawsuit
Pursuing legal action for accidents that occur on public school grounds can be challenging. In general, school districts are protected from lawsuits based on government immunity. But there can be exceptions to this, such as when negligence is the cause of injuries. The aforementioned case certainly has the potential to result in a lawsuit.
There are many factors to consider in a case against a public school. The process for filing a premises liability claim against a school is inherently set against the claimant because most schools are protected as governmental entities. Because of the complexities involved, it’s best to consult legal counsel. An attorney can explain one’s legal rights and the options that may be available at Gacovino, Lake & Associates: (800) 550-0000.