Over 9 million children are treated in the nation’s emergency rooms every year for unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children spend the bulk of their time in school, making schools the most common location for children to sustain injuries, often the result of slip and fall accidents.
What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents in Schools?
There are many conditions that can lead to a child suffering an injury in a slip and fall accident at school, including:
- Bleachers: Bleachers can cause falls resulting in serious injuries, especially those that are outside and exposed to weather conditions.
- Holes: Potholes in parking lots, cracked or missing cement, holes in the ground can all cause falls that potentially result in twisted or broken bones.
- Items in the halls: Oftentimes there are items in the hallways outside classroom doors, particularly in elementary schools, which can pose tripping hazards.
- Playgrounds: Any playground equipment can be dangerous, but playground surfaces can harbor risks for slip and fall accidents as well. Wet pavement, holes in the ground or asphalt, and wet equipment or grass can all cause children to fall and become injured, especially given how much young children run while playing.
- Slick surfaces: Wet and slick surfaces are one of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents in any setting, including schools. Rain, snow, and ice on sidewalks and at school entryways, water on bathroom floors, leaky roofs, food and drink spills in the cafeteria, spills in science labs, wet bus steps, and more can contribute to a slip and fall accident.
- Stairs: Stairs are another leading cause of falls. Broken treads, loose or broken railings, slick surfaces, spills, and more can cause a fall. Injuries from falling down stairs can often be more serious, depending on how far the person falls and whether they strike their head.
- Wires and cables: Schools house a plethora of electrical cords, wires, and cables for computers, multi-media items, shop equipment, and more. If not properly secured to the floor or tucked away from walkways, children can trip over them.
- Worn flooring: Some schools have carpeting to help minimize slip and fall accidents, however, if the carpeting is worn, uneven, or not secured to the floor, it becomes a trip hazard.
Children are not the only ones who can suffer a slip and fall accident on school grounds. Staff, family members, and visitors can all suffer an injury from a fall in any of the aforementioned conditions as well.
What Are Common Injuries from Slip and Fall accidents at school?
Slip and fall accidents often result in just minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, but some falls can cause serious injuries, including:
- Back injury: Injuries to the back are common in slip and fall accidents, causing torn muscles, slipped or cracked discs, or spinal injury.
- Broken bones: Children can suffer broken bones due to falls, usually to arms, legs, or ankles.
- Head injuries: In a fall, children can strike their head on the floor, a desk, stair railings, and more, causing cuts, lacerations, and more serious traumatic brain injuries such as a concussion.
Who is Liable for Injuries in School Accidents?
Claims against schools can be a bit more complex as they are owned by the local government, therefore accident claims are made against the government, not the individual school. In order to file a successful claim, you must prove that the school’s negligence caused the accident and injuries, such as not clearing ice from sidewalks. You must also be able to show that school officials knew, or should have known, about the hazard, but failed to correct it.
Private schools operate a little differently. In New Jersey, private schools are required to maintain a safe premises, per state laws. In contrast to public schools, however, there is little state intervention, making the school directly liable for injuries that occur on school grounds.
Burlington County Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Offices of David S. Rochman Advocate for Clients Injured in Accidents at a School
It can be frightening when your child is injured, especially in a safe environment such as a school. If your child, or other family member, has been injured on school grounds, our Burlington County slip and fall lawyers at the Law Offices of David S. Rochman are ready to help. Call us today at 856-751-2345 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients in Burlington County, Mount Laurel, and throughout the surrounding areas.