It is that time of year when we send our children back to school. They are excited to start the new school year, and to reunite with friends and teachers. We expect that they will be in a nurturing environment, ideal for continuing their education. It is not unreasonable for parents to also expect that school be a safe place to learn and play.
While some school-related injuries may be minor and accidental, many injuries that occur are preventable, and parents should understand that there are laws in place to protect children while attending school.
How Injuries Happen on Schoolgrounds
Accidents occur for a variety of reasons– not enough adult supervision, negligent hiring practices, poorly maintained flooring or carpets, or leaking ceilings/slippery floors. Not surprising, however, is that most school accidents occur on the playground. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200,000 children are taken to the emergency room with injuries received while on the playground, and while sometimes accidents are unavoidable, many are preventable.
Playground injuries may be the result of defective/broken surfaces/matting, improper playground design, insufficient maintenance of equipment, such as swings and slides, or protruding nails/or debris. In addition, many accidents occur because of improper use of the equipment and a lack of sufficient supervision.
What Should You Do If Your Child Is Injured at School?
Each situation is unique, and depending upon how your child was injured, how badly, and the medical/financial concerns your family may be facing, the steps you take will naturally be different. However, there are several steps that should commonly be taken regardless of the severity of the injury.
Most importantly, the first thing is getting your child the proper care and treatment as soon as possible. Once your child has received medical care, you can focus your attention on determining who was at fault.
If you feel that the school was at fault for the accident, there may be time constraints governing how quickly you need to file a claim against the school (or the municipality or city in which the school is located) for the accident. It is critical that you do not waive your rights; speaking with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can help file the appropriate papers on a timely basis is always helpful.
While we all want our children to have the opportunity to enjoy their time on the playground, they need to do so in a safe, supervised environment. No child should ever be injured because of an accident that could have been prevented.