Los Angeles Schools and Premises Liability
Schools and school districts operate as a safe haven for students – a location where parents can be assured of their child’s safety throughout the day. While the media tries to portray the dangers of potential school violence, the statistics indicate that the majority of schools remain relatively safe and free from gun violence. However, many schools can still run into safety issues regarding the safety of their premises and the unfortunate accidents which can occur on school grounds.
Premises Liability at Los Angeles County Schools
Property owners have a duty to ensure their guests do not experience injuries while on their property. This level of care depends on the “status” of the property visitor. For example, a guest will receive the utmost protection by a property owner, and must be informed of any latent or hidden dangers. However, even a trespasser is entitled to a duty of care by the property owner, and must be informed of any hidden dangers, such as a covered-up well.
Schools operate on a similar level of responsibility, and must be responsible for the safety of hundreds of students every day. Therefore, any spill, defective staircase, or other defect must be promptly addressed to ensure students do not injure themselves while on the property. The failure of a school to properly discover a dangerous area or protect students from discovering it, could lead to liability in case of injuries. Los Angeles schools are often large institutions, with several thousand square feet which must be consistently kept in working order and free from damages. School districts are ultimately responsible for ensuring each school in the district has an adequate property staff who can detect and quickly fix defects, or at least protect students from injuring themselves. It may be difficult to maintain a school campus and keep it free from defect, but schools should at least ensure that students are kept away from dangerous situations.
A school, as a property owner, may also be held responsible for any injuries which occur on the property which are caused by the failure to adequately supervise students. For example, a school may be held liable for injuries sustained in a fight between two students – which often lead to brain or spinal injuries. As a property owner, the school has the responsibility to maintain constant vigilance over students, including preventing injuries from occurring during fights.
Does the School Have a Duty to Protect Students?
Schools have an ongoing responsibility to ensure all students are kept safe while on their property. This means safe from any outside influence, such as faculty, staff, other students, and potential property injuries. The family of a student who is injured on the school’s staircase because of a faulty handrail should not have to absorb the costs of medical care the student must undergo as the result of their injuries. A school operates in the same role as a property owner, and is therefore liable for any injuries which occur on its property. If your child was injured on school property in Los Angeles, a claim for damages may be brought against the school district since the injury would not have occurred but for the danger on the property.
Los Angeles School Premises Liability Attorneys
If your child has been injured while on a school campus due to a defect on the property, you may be entitled to bring a claim for damages against the school or school district. A school has a duty of care to protect your child from serious injuries during the eight hours (or more) your child spends on the premises. At Panish Shea & Boyle, our Los Angeles school premises liability attorneys have years of experience in handling school premises liability cases and will work tirelessly to ensure your family receives the compensation it deserves. Contact our Los Angeles or Irvine offices today for your initial free consultation.