If the school’s negligence caused the injury, you might be able to sue if your child slips and falls at school. The rules can vary depending on whether the school is public or private because public schools are government agencies.
The Elements of Landowner Liability
Georgia law requires you to prove all three of these factors to hold a property owner responsible for damages from a slip and fall injury:
- There was a dangerous condition on the premises.
- The owner knew or should have known about the hazard.
- The owner failed to take reasonable steps to correct or warn others about the condition.
When the facts satisfy all three elements, you have proved negligence on the owner’s part. Let’s say that the cleaning crew at a school routinely left puddles of water after mopping the hallways. The school officials knew about the situation but took no action to change the behavior or require “wet floor” signs or barriers. The facts satisfy all three elements, so the school is negligent.
The property owner’s negligence must be what causes the injury. If a child walks through the hall and gets hurt when he slips and falls in a puddle from the mopping, the negligence caused the injury. The school will be liable for the child’s damages.
Why It Matters If the School Is Public or Private
Government agencies own public schools. Because of “sovereign immunity,” there are limitations on lawsuits against the government.
Depending on the situation, sovereign immunity can limit the amount of damages you can collect from a government agency or prevent you from suing them at all. When we speak with you about your case, we can explain how the rule of sovereign immunity could affect your claim.
If your child was injured at a private school, there is no sovereign immunity. You can sue a private school the same as any individual or business.
Damages for a Slip and Fall
Damages in a slip and fall case are no different from any other personal injury case. You can go after compensation for the losses you experienced because of the defendant’s negligence.
Here are some examples of damages we have won for our slip and fall clients:
- Medical expenses. You can recover the reasonable cost of medical treatment you needed for the injuries. You can also be compensated for the ambulance, emergency room, and hospital stay, as well as diagnostic services like blood tests, lab work, and imaging studies like x-rays and MRIs. We can also go after the cost of the doctors, surgery, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and similar expenses.
- Lost wages. Most students in elementary and middle school do not have jobs, but some high school students have regular employment. If the injury and recuperation caused your child to lose time from regular work without pay, it can be part of the claim.
- Pain and suffering. We can pursue compensation for the physical discomfort and distress your child experienced.
- Diminished earning potential. Severe injuries can lead to a different set of problems for children than for adults. Kids are still growing, and they have their entire lives ahead of them. A promising athlete, for example, might not get to continue at the high level of competition required to get a college scholarship or become a professional athlete because of an injury.
- Specialized treatment facility. If your child sustained a devastating injury like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord damage, he might have to go to a rehabilitation center for several months or a long-term care facility indefinitely. These healthcare providers are extremely expensive. We can add these damages to your total claim.
- Intangible losses. Some damages are not easy to measure in dollars. They do not come with invoices or receipts. Even though these items do not have out-of-pocket costs, they have value. This category can include things like disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic depression or anxiety, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
We will calculate the fair amount for the damages from your child’s slip and fall at a school. The amount of compensation you can collect will depend on the facts of your situation.
Getting Help from a Lawyer for Your Child’s Slip and Fall at a School
At S. Burke Law, it is our passion and our joy to help people get back on their feet after a severe injury. You focus on getting better, and we will go after the compensation to help you rebuild your life. We are proud to deliver personal attention to our clients. Call 404-842-7838 today for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation.