Accidents cannot always be prevented, but parents expect their children to be safe at school. By law, teachers must reasonably do what they can to prevent injuries or mitigate aggressive behavior and bullying. When these behaviors do occur, some parents are left at a loss.
If you are the parent of an injured child, you will seek justice, but you may not know exactly who is responsible. Though schools are subject to unique liability laws, there are standards administrators and teachers must follow to keep your child safe. When these duties are breached, a family may seek compensation against the institution.
School Liability and Negligence in Missouri
Teachers and administrators must meet certain duty of care standards. According to these principles, faculty, and staff must do everything possible to:
- Protect students from conceivable harm, injuries, and fatal accidents.
- Provide a safe and secure learning environment.
- Fix problems or dangerous conditions as soon as possible.
- Supervise children at all times – including while on buses and when traveling to events.
- Ensure meals are properly cooked and served.
Additional responsibilities include preventing bullying when the school knows it is happening, developing adequate evacuation plans and ensuring alarms work, administering all student medication properly, and maintaining effective security policies. For example, keeping strangers off of school grounds and supervising parking lots and all other areas on the property are basic expectations.
Failing to meet these standards is considered negligent. When this happens, the institution is held liable for any damages that may result. Damages could include hospital bills, prescription and medical equipment costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Though schools are held to high standards, when an accident does occur, it doesn’t mean the facility is automatically liable. There are plenty of situations it cannot control, and parents and students must also follow reasonably safe behavior. In fact, there are several instances where a pupil’s behavior (or his or her family’s) may lead to legal trouble.
- Failing to provide proper medication. If a child has a condition like asthma or diabetes, the school must have the medicine and instructions on how to use it. The school is not responsible for problems that result because a prescription or information was not supplied.
- Disrespectful behavior. Students need to respect other pupils and school staff. If an issue is brought to a parent’s attention, he or she must correct it before it becomes a more serious problem.
- Aggressive behavior. Bullying is not tolerated in any schools today. These facilities also have policies against bringing weapons to school. If these rules are violated, the student and his or her parents may be held liable for damages.
- Disobeying the rules. Schools have dozens of rules, and it’s important that every student follows all of them. Even something as innocent as running through the halls can lead to a lawsuit if a child is injured.
Though there are plenty of situations where a school may be prosecuted for negligence, administrators are not the only individuals that may be held liable. If your child was injured but the school was not responsible, you may have legal options against another student or his or her parents.
Consult an Attorney for More Information
Parents, students, and administrators are all responsible for creating a safe and secure atmosphere. Whether it is a fatal accident at a bus stop or an improperly cooked meal, when an accident does occur, it’s important to know your rights.
Reach out to a Kansas City child injuries lawyer for additional information. There are many individuals whose negligence may have contributed to an accident. The right legal team will walk you through the process and help you gather all information needed for a successful claim. For more information about your case and legal options, contact the team at Dickerson Oxton, LLC.