No parent wants to consider the possibility of an accident occurring while their child attends school. Unfortunately, accidents are not uncommon on Florida campuses. If your child is injured, you may be able to pursue a claim and recover compensation from the school.
This is because the school has a duty to keep the students safe. When this duty is not upheld, legal action is possible.
While true, it can be confusing when your child sustains an injury on campus. At Fetterman Law, our injury and accident lawyers can help you understand the law and your rights. You can also learn more about what steps to take after an injury on a college or university campus in Florida here.
Are Colleges and Universities Responsible for Students’ Injuries?
All schools have a duty to maintain their grounds so accidents and injuries don’t occur. However, when accidents occur on the campus, you must consider the following questions:
- Was the injury foreseeable?
- Did the school know about the danger or hazard?
- Did the school take steps to prevent accidents and injuries?
If a campus fails to keep students safe, they may be liable for any injuries.
Situations Where Schools Are Not Liable for Student Accidents and Injuries
A school campus may be exempted from liability if specific circumstances are present. Examples include:
- Injuries occurring outside of campus-sponsored events.
- Injuries that occur on campus if classes are not in session.
- Sports injuries that are considered normal for athletes, like a sprained ankle.
Sometimes, parents may find it challenging to file a lawsuit against their child’s school in the above mentioned situations. Talking to a personal injury attorney before filing a lawsuit can ensure you don’t waste your time or money on a claim that is not viable.
Filing a Claim Against a School or University
Filing a personal injury claim against a university is a different process than what you would follow when filing one against another person or a private company. Before you file the lawsuit, you have to file a formal complaint against the school.
When filing this complaint, you must include:
- Date of the incident
- The specific grievance
- Nature of the injury sustained
Hiring a Florida personal injury attorney is recommended. They can help you create this complaint and include all necessary information. Once created, it is taken to the court clerk. When you do this, it is seen as an attempt to settle before filing a lawsuit.
What Must You Prove to Receive Compensation from a School?
Like other personal injury cases, you must ensure certain things are true before you pursue damages. You must prove negligence on the campus’ part in these ways:
- The student who was injured was enrolled at the school, and that campus
- The campus neglected the duty it had to keep the students safe
- The student sustained an injury
- The injury was a direct result of the breach
Examples of negligence at a school include:
- Improperly maintained stairways or handrails
- Sidewalks, walkways, or hallways that are not clear of weather or other hazards
- Sports or playground equipment that is not properly maintained
- Hazards in the parking lots
Your Florida accident attorney can help you gather evidence to prove negligence and help you secure compensation.
The Statute of Limitations to Pursue Compensation After an Accident on the Campus
Students injured on campus have up to three years to file a formal complaint with the court’s clerk about the campus injury. After that point, there is an additional waiting period before the lawsuit can be filed. Victims can only file a lawsuit after 180 days or after the initial claim is denied.
It is recommended that you file early, rather than waiting until the last minute. It takes time to prepare the documents and evidence. Also, witness’s memories and even the victims can fade as time passes. This can impact the strength of your case. Also, the campus will likely fix the issue, which means the evidence could be unavailable later.
Strategies for Fighting the Open and Obvious Argument
Schools will do anything they can to avoid liability. One defense a campus legal representative may use is “open and obvious.” This defense may be used if the hazards that caused the accident and injury were avoidable if the student had been careful. The argument is used to attempt to shift the burden of responsibility from the school to the victim.
The argument you could use against this depends on the circumstances. The Florida accident lawyer you hire can present a case to the judge showing how the hazard was not apparent from the way you approached it due to lighting or other issues.
Understanding Your Rights After Being Injured on a College Campus
If you or your child is injured while on a college campus, it is important to know your rights. While it may be possible to hold the school liable for the injuries, this is not always the case.
It is recommended that you contact our personal injury lawyers at Fetterman Law to learn more about your rights and how to pursue compensation. We can review the facts of your case to determine if you are entitled to compensation and then fight to help you secure the maximum payout possible.