Slip and Fall Lawyer FAQ: What should I know about slipping and falling at a school?
Let’s say you’re late to bring your child to school. You walk them into the front office to explain what happened this morning. Over the night, it snowed so the entrance into the school is especially slippery. No signs have yet been posted. Your child slips and falls on the way in and is crying in pain. After taking them to the doctor, you discover they have broken their arm. If this example scenario sounds in anyway familiar, you might be wondering whether there is any legal recourse. After all not only might you have incurred medical bills, but you may also be unable to work due to having to care for your injured child.
Slip and Falls at School
All states have different premise liability laws, but in general, the owner of a property has a duty to maintain the premises and keep them safe from hazards. Schools are not an exception. A school does have a responsibility to ensure all of the occupants are safe.
Following a slip and fall accident at school or on school grounds you might wonder who can be held responsible. Unlike residential buildings or commercial properties, schools typically do not have an owner. To determine who can be held liable, you will first need to find out whether the school is private or public. Most likely you will know this right away.
Private School Versus Public School Slip and Fall Claims
Private schools have a duty to keep their premises safe. The difference is that unlike a public school, the state will not intervene in the affairs of the facility. If your child slips and falls at a private school, they would almost certainly be responsible for the injuries.
If your child slipped and fell at a public school, this matter may become more complicated. The reason for this is that public schools are owned by the government. In this case, you would likely have to pursue the government for compensation. Unfortunately, this is not always easy because public schools, and government entities as a whole, have special legal protections. For example, there are very strict time limits to file a claim after a public school slip and fall accident. Depending on the state, you may have 30-90 days to file a notice of claim. Due to the strict rules and restrictions, time is of the essence. Even then it may be difficult to win your case. You should consult a slip and fall lawyer immediately.
Proving Your Slip and Fall Claim
Before you can sue the school for a slip and fall, there will need to be some answers to questions such as:
- Did the school create a hazardous condition which was ultimately the cause of the accident?
- Was the school in need of maintenance or repair?
- Should the school have known about the hazardous condition?
- Did the school warn the occupants about the condition?
- Was there enough time to have known about the hazard, and address it?
In addition to the answers, evidence will be a vital element in a school slip and fall case. Photos of the scene, medical records, or witness testimony can be advantageous to prove and win your case.