Child Playing with Syringe Pokes Classmates: Could the School be Liable?

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The Orlando Sentinel reports that three Altamonte Elementary School students were hospitalized as a precaution after one found a syringe and playfully poked classmates with it. According to school officials, a very young student picked up the syringe on the way to the bus stop and pretended to play doctor while poking two other students. One student’s skin was broken by the syringe. All three were immediately taken to the hospital and the parents were notified. While the children did not seem to be exposed to anything dangerous, they will be retested in a few months, according to a Seminole County spokesperson. Because there was no intent to harm, law enforcement will not conduct a criminal investigation.

Understanding Legal Issues in Florida Public Schools

Public schools owe a legal duty to keep children safe and protect them from harm. This is not always an easy task, however. If a school or teacher has been negligent — in other words, failed to fulfill the duty owed of keeping the children safe and protected — and that negligence resulted in harm to the minor, the victim can and should take action. Just like any other property, an injury that happens at a school falls under premises liability law.

The school has an obligation to keep the school safe and free of hazards. If your child has been harmed in a school activity, but not regular activities where it is foreseeable for a child to be injured such as recess or sports, due to negligence, you may be able to file a legal claim. If your child was injured because of bullying or a fight, you may have a legal claim against the child’s parents, as well. If your child was hurt in a school bus accident, those who could be held liable for injuries include the school, the school district, or even the bus driver. If another vehicle aside from the bus was involved in the crash, the other car’s driver may also be named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

To consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer today, call 855-780-9986

Florida Public Schools and Sovereign Immunity

Suing a school is not such a clear-cut process. There are several obstacles to succeeding in a Florida court against a school or school district. Like every other personal injury case, the injured victim must prove negligence. But, unlike your run-of-the-mill personal injury case, when the lawsuit involves a public school, there is one major hurdle that is in your way – sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity, often referred to as government immunity, is a type of legal protection that makes government entities (federal, state, county, and municipal) immune from lawsuits except in specific circumstances. The biggest factor as to whether a school is protected from liability by sovereign immunity is whether its actions were discretionary or operational. Typically, a school will not be liable if its actions were the latter and not the former.

The school has an obligation to keep the school safe and free of hazards.

Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys

If your child has been injured in a Florida school accident, know that you are not alone and you have specific rights under state law. Also know, however, that you may not be able to recover if the school can put forth sovereign immunity as an affirmative defense. Our Orlando premises liability attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you take the necessary steps to ensure your legal rights are preserved.  Contact us today for your free personal injury consultation.

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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