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School Yard Injuries Can Attract Personal Injury Claims

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It often takes a lot for you as a parent to finally let go of your child when he or she has reached school age and you are no longer responsible throughout the day to meet everyday needs.  The last thing you could ever imagine happening is your child getting injured while you are not present.  Unfortunately this happens far too often so you cannot always be assured that your child is safe in your chosen school’s hands.

Typically, most schools have more than sufficient school yard protocols regarding their charges’ safety in place. School staff members go through enough training to minimize the chance of your child being injured. However, there are times when an accident or injury can unexpectedly take place. Your child may slip and fall on an object that shouldn’t have been there or another child could cause an injury through an aggressive action.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has revealed that emergency rooms throughout the country treat a huge number of children (200,000 annually) for injuries that have taken place in the school yard. These statistics don’t include injuries that occur in sports.

If your child is injured and requires hospital treatment it can be daunting for you if you have to confront your child’s school board or principal because you believe that negligence on behalf of a member of staff caused the injury.  You should not sit back and take the financial burden of an injury that you know wasn’t your child’s fault but seek the help from a personal injury attorney who will assess your chances of winning a compensation claim to cover the financial hardship you may have to bear.

Children Who are Most at Risk

The CDC recently indicated that the younger the child the greater the chance an injury is likely to take place in a school yard with the greatest incidence being among those aged 5 to 9. Girls have more chance of being injured than boys.

The Cause of School Yard Injuries

These include:

  • accumulation of Snow and ice
  • faulty playground equipment
  • collisions with other children
  • assaults from other children
  • sports injuries

The sorts of hazards that children most often encounter, in winter at least, are those caused by excessive ice and snow in the yard. The school is responsible for removing any dangerous amounts of these substances to ensure the children can move around freely without being injured. If the school yard is not safe it is the school’s responsibility to ensure the children are unable to access the facility until it has been made safe to use.

Apart from slips and falls on ice and snow, equipment failure has been cited as a cause of accidents too. Schools often have trampolines, swings and seesaws to keep their children amused. However, if any of the equipment is faulty or has not received the necessary maintenance by school employees any injuries might be down to the school’s administration. Overall, 67% of injuries in school yards are caused by slips and falls and failure of yard equipment. There are also a number of injuries caused by children colliding while at play. Bullying and physical assaults have been on the increase in recent years in school yards leading to both mental and physical traumas. If these things happen staff paid to be supervisors may be liable for any injuries.

Sports injuries are far more common than you may think as when a young athlete is hit by another in a game they won’t speak out and often hide any injuries even serious ones like concussion.  A recent children’s hospital in Ohio reported that fewer than 50% of athletes in high schools report their concussion. Additionally, when children are left to continue playing after an injury their coaches or schools could be held accountable due to negligence for not putting the welfare of their children first.

Signs of a School Yard Injury and What You Should Do

If you have detected that your child has been injured while at school you should ensure medical treatment is sought as soon as possible. Your child’s school may have contacted you about the injury. You should ensure that you keep records of the time and content of any phone calls related to your child’s injury and any correspondence either through email or U.S. post. This applies to bullying of your child too. You should be keeping an eye on your child to ensure no bullying is taking place as the school is responsible to ensure that your child is not injured either mentally or physically while under their care.

If one of your children has been injured at school and needs to receive medical treatment which keeps him or her away from the classroom for a while and you believe the school was negligent in failing to provide ‘’duty of care’’ you might be entitled to file a claim for compensation to cover the medical costs of an injury that was not your child’s fault.

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