Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere at any time. In fact, slip and fall accidents account for over 8 million ER visits each year. All it takes is a moment of carelessness on the part of someone working for a business or public place. This could be due to missing or lousy signage failing to warn someone about a wet floor or other tripping hazards or being injured at a festival because they slipped on beer.
It doesn’t matter whether you fell at a concert or slipped in a store. When these sorts of avoidable accidents happen, someone is always left hurt. Injuries can be anything from simple bruising or sprains all the way to permanent paralysis or even death. Even minor injuries can mean being out of work for weeks during recovery.
And while slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, one place where people may not expect for slip and fall accidents to occur is at school.
Should Parents Worry About Children Falling at School?
Maybe the most horrifying part of being a parent is knowing that the safety of your children isn’t always in your hands. Every parent worries about their child’s safety.
How often do we keep them in a car seat a little longer than we need to before switching to a booster? When they get their first car, things like mileage and emissions are on the back burner. We want them to drive something that’s safe and reliable.
Once a child is on school grounds, there is very little a parent can do. It is now the school’s responsibility to keep them safe, and a big part of this the school grounds being kept in good repair, free of dangerous obstacles, and foreign materials like water and other spills.
This isn’t always the case, especially in school districts that are always short on funding. The end result is crumbling schools and broken sidewalks. And remember, schools are legally bound to notify parents of when their child (who is under 18 or still in public schools) is injured on campus.
Why do I need an attorney for a slip and fall accident at school?
It should be noted that schools, except for private schools and some colleges, are government institutions. There can be different protocols and laws that govern how and when any sort of lawsuit can be filed. The best advice is to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Not acting fast enough could mean missing the window in which a suit could be filed, and any chance of getting compensated for the school’s negligence.
Schools Have a Responsibility to Keep Kids Safe
The first thing that comes to mind when the phrase “school safety” is mentioned is guns in school. While tragic shootings grab headlines and tug at heartstrings, there are far more students who are hurt from having slipped at school than from firearms. It doesn’t matter if a child is starting kindergarten or on their final semester in college, they all deserve to have a safe learning environment, and this includes being safe when it comes to something as walking to and from class.
How Common are Slip and Fall Accidents at School?
Slip and fall accidents are just as likely, or more so, at schools as they are anywhere else. There are the usual factors such as victims who have slipped on water due to a custodian mopping the floor without putting up a caution sign. There are also the instances of improper supervision.
It’s no secret that schools are often underfunded and understaffed which means our children are often left without proper supervision. One teacher may be directing and watching over several groups of students in separate parts of the school campus, during times like decorating for homecoming or a dance.
It isn’t surprising that these unsupervised students may improperly use a ladder to hang a banner and fall. In a perfect world, schools would have all the money and personnel they need, but our society isn’t perfect. As any of the Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers will tell you, a school’s lack of ability to supervise all their students does not absolve them of their liability is any accidents that happen on school grounds.
Are colleges safer than high school?
One common misconception people have is that colleges are safer, especially when you consider how high tuition is these days and the general aura of prestige most of these higher learning institutions have. In some ways, this is true, when you compare them to public schools.
College students are there voluntarily, and most students take their learning seriously. This means that there are fewer instances of fights, gang activity, and other factors that make what many people perceive as the extra dangers public schools face.
College students are just as prone to slip and fall injuries as any other person. Most colleges are more likely to stay open during inclement weather. Icy sidewalks and wet floors that haven’t been moped after a long rainy day of foot traffic are still dangerous, even to grad students.
Do I need an attorney if I slip and fall on campus?
Slip and fall accidents at universities and colleges highlight the importance of hiring an attorney who specializes in slip and fall cases. Most colleges, being private or semi-private institutions, lack the deep pockets of government.
This means they will fight harder when it comes to defending themselves against slip and fall claims, even when they know they are at fault. One familiar trick colleges and universities use is shifting the blame.
One typical example is that if someone falls on a sidewalk adjacent to a city street, they will try and claim that the fall didn’t technically happen on campus. They will also work and shift the blame to campus organizations such as fraternities and sororities.
What steps should I take if I’ve been in a slip and fall accident at school?
After an accident, victims will want to find the best slip and fall lawyer. An attorney can advise the victim of their rights and whether or not they have a case. There are some crucial steps a victim or their friends and family can take immediately after an accident, and before contacting a trip and fall attorney.
Seek Immediate Medical Help
First, make sure the victim hasn’t suffered any severe or life-threatening injuries, and if they have, immediately call 911. If the injured person is complaining of neck or back pain, they should lie still until paramedics arrive.
Once the safety and well-being of the victim have been ensured, take pictures of the accident scene. It is all too familiar for the people in charge of a property to clean up an accident scene or remove the tripping hazard that caused the accident as a way to avoid liability. They are destroying evidence that can be used against them. The sooner the pictures are taken, the better. It doesn’t matter if its mall accidents of school accidents. Always take photos of the scene.
See a Doctor ASAP
The next step is to get the victim examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Going to the ER or to a private physician will do. This should be done even if there doesn’t appear to be any severe injuries. This is especially important for children who may have been injured in a fall at school.
Teenagers may not want to admit that they are as hurt as they really are, or just not realize the extent of their injuries. What may seem like a simple sprain could be a small fracture or a torn ligament.
Sometimes the full extent of an injury may not be apparent right away, especially when it comes to neck and spine injuries. Once the medical examination is complete, get copies of all the records to show to your lawyer.
Never Sign Anything
Finally, never sign or agree to anything, without speaking to a lawyer first. Public and private schools and their insurers have their own attorneys ready to come at you. They specialize in sounding sympathetic and only wanting what is best for the victim. This is a lie.
They want slip and fall victims to agree to not suing or accepting a small payment that may not even cover a tenth of the victim’s medical expenses. These hired guns working for the insurance companies and schools or businesses will throw terms like fair when it is anything but.
They will also play at a victim’s own high moral standards by trying to get them to think that only people who file frivolous lawsuits hire lawyers in slip and fall cases. That’s wrong! The people who seek out a slip and fall lawyer in Philadelphia only want fair compensation for the pain and suffering that was caused by another’s negligence.
When it comes to slip and fall injuries, it’s best to hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. They have fought with the insurance companies, schools, and stores in the past. They know all the tricks and tactics the insurance company’s lawyers will use to try and deny a victim the justice they deserve.
A Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer will have in-depth knowledge about the laws surrounding such incidents. They have a better understanding of what makes a school, business, or other institution liable for a person’s injury. They will know when to settle and when to go to trial. A personal injury lawyer who mostly handles worker’s comp or auto accidents may overlook the finer details of a slip and fall case.