Top Five School Injuries
For safety and health purposes, schools are basically surrogate parents. They have a legal duty to provide a safe and secure environment. Schoolchildren are invitees in Washington. Since the landowner (the school district) benefits financially when children come to school, the duty of reasonable care applies. Furthermore, children are vulnerable to injury in many ways. The law extends special protection to people who cannot adequately protect themselves.
If schools breach their duty of care, or if they negligently allow injuries to occur, a Seattle premises liability lawyer can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Before-and-after school bus collisions are common. After-hours field trip school bus collisions are even more common.
Many local school districts still struggle with bus driver shortages. As a result, many buses have substitute drivers who are unfamiliar with the route. These drivers often over-rely on GPS navigation devices, and they’re dangerously distracted.
Distraction is bad enough for full-time drivers. Usually, these drivers must keep one eye on the road and one eye on sometimes unruly students.
Furthermore, large school buses are difficult to navigate over narrow streets. Additionally, these drivers have very poor sight lines, so driving through traffic is also difficult.
Field trip drivers usually operate large vehicles early in the morning or late at night, when they are naturally fatigued. Drowsy driving is as bad as drunk driving. Operating a motor vehicle after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in Washington.
Fall injuries, aside from a fall from a height, often don’t affect children very much. Parents and other school guests, especially older people, are another matter.
These victims often sustain severe physical injuries, like head injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries. Psychologically, these victims are often so afraid of falling again that they don’t go to the school or even get out of the house ever again.
A Seattle personal injury attorney usually settles fall and other personal injury matters out of court. These resolutions are much better than trial verdicts. They end cases sooner and are much more certain.
Most of the injuries on this list are unintentional injuries. In this context, unintentional basically means non-malicious. The conduct is intentional, but the result is unintentional.
Staff-on-student sex abuse is an intentional tort. However, the school district could still be liable for damages in these cases, under one of several legal theories.
Legally, the injuries in these cases are often hidden for years or decades. These victims are aware of their injuries, or at least most of them, but they cannot connect their injuries to a person’s misconduct. The brain buries such traumatic memories.
Staff-on-student assaults, like overly-aggressive physical punishment, is an intentional tort, much like sex abuse. Usually, school districts negligently allow other types of assaults, like student-on-student or stranger-on-student, to occur.
Many schools are very crowded. Infectious diseases, like viral and bacterial infections, usually spread like wildfire. The school has a duty of care to isolate sick children and sanitize the building to keep these infections from spreading.
Connect With a Hard-Hitting King County Lawyer
Schools have a legal responsibility to protect students. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle, contact the Emerald Law Group. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.