New York School Injuries and School Liability
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Between school sports, bullies and playground equipment there are plenty of ways that children can get injured while in school which is why schools are required to make sure children are properly watched over while they are at school especially while they are outside of the classroom such as when they are on recess or playing extra-curricular activities after school. When schools fail to properly supervise children while they are on school property or after school hours they are held liable for the injuries that the student sustains.
There are many ways that children can get injured during school but two of the most common injuries that occur to school students are:
- Playground related injuries - Children, especially young children, are allowed to go outside for a break or recess to allow children to run around, exercise and burn off some energy. While this is a great idea for children it is important that the teacher and teacher assistants assigned to the students keeps a close eye on them. Usually schools have a certain number of students assigned to each teacher especially for children in elementary school. Schools assign a certain number of students to each teacher to make sure the teacher is able to watch the children and make sure that they are not doing anything that can cause injury to the child. The most dangerous and most common school injuries usually occur on monkey bars. A child who is not properly supervised by a teacher on playground equipment is put at risk of injury and if anything is to happen to the child and the teacher is not paying attention the school is held liable. A recent study actually showed that 40% of school playground injuries are caused by lack of supervision. Disturbingly, the study also showed that children are more likely to be supervised if they are at a playground or park off of school property. Also, if the playground equipment injures your child because the playground equipment is old, rusty or broken it can cause serious injuries to the child. If a student is injured and the school is not in compliance with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials it is also considered a liability of the school.
- Sports-related injuries - School sports are a great thing for children to be involved in it offers exercises, allows children to understand team work and competition but sometimes coaches and schools fail to follow important guidelines that often result in injury to the student while they are playing sports. One of the most common injuries that occur during school sports are knee injuries and perhaps one of the most dangerous injuries that occur are injuries to the spinal cord which account for nearly 75% of school related spinal cord injuries. Injuries occur during games, during practice, in the gymnasium and out on the field and are not uncommon but sometimes they can be prevented. When schools fail to provide or enforce the proper rules such as the use of protective gear, if allow children to play on defective playing surfaces, make children do exercises or drills that are inappropriate for their age group, over-exert student or incorrectly match up the abilities or weight classes of students playing sports.
Some examples of a school being liable for a child's sport injury are:
- if a student who is 112 lbs is matched up with a student who is 135 lbs in a wrestling match).
- if students are not provided with protective gear (helmets, pads, etc.) during practice
- if a schools gymnasium has a dangerous crack in the floor and a child trips over the crack and falls during a basketball game or practice.
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