The start of the school month is a hectic time for many households in Atlanta. Parents will need to juggle work and other obligations with a demanding school schedule, homework, extracurricular activities, and more. It can be easy to forget to go over important safety tips and accident risks with your child. To help keep children safe, the National Safety Council recognizes Back to School Safety Month in August.
Getting to School
No matter how your child gets to school, there are risks of transportation accidents. This includes the following:
- Riding the bus – Ensure your child knows how to safely wait at the bus stop, as well as board and exit the bus, which includes ensuring the bus driver can see them at all times. Once they are on the bus, they should wear seat belts (which should be available) and remain seated at all times.
- Riding a bike or walking – Teach your child how to cross streets at crosswalks and follow traffic signals and crossing guards. Make sure they always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, and that they do not stray from their usual route.
- Driving to school – If your teen is driving to school or riding with another teen driver, discuss safe driving techniques. Moreover, set an example of how they should not drive impatiently or aggressively, even if they are running late.
What We See at Spaulding Injury Law
Unfortunately, the main injury situations we see at the firm involving children getting to school are pedestrian accidents, where the child is stuck by a vehicle boarding or exiting the school bus or walking to school, and car accidents where a motorist collides with the school bus. In the pedestrian accident scenario, the most dangerous situation we see is when a child is struck crossing the road.
In the car accident scenario, we see all types of situations. Everything from a motorist not paying attention and struck a stopped school bus with its flashing lights on, to school bus drivers acting negligently while operating the bus. Each of these scenarios could have devastating results.
Injuries at School
You should be able to trust school administrators, staff, and teachers to keep your child safe. However, injuries do happen at school in many different ways. Some examples of common school-related injuries include:
- Slip and falls
- Playground injuries
- Swimming pool injuries
- Assaults due to inadequate security
Some of these accidents can happen due to school-related negligence, no matter how careful your child can be. Though ensure your child that they should always be honest about how injuries occurred during the school day.
What We See at Spaulding Injury Law
The typical injury scenario we see at the firm involving children getting hurt at school is playground-related injuries. Often these are equipment failure issues where something like a swing breaks while the child is using it or a trip and fall hazard on the playground that was not properly dealt with by the administration.
From time to time we also see assault cases. These can be teacher-on-student or student-on-student assaults.
Many school-aged children play sports, whether as part of their physical education program or as an extracurricular activity. In either case, your child is at risk of injuries from sports, and this risk increases if the sports program is run in a negligent manner. Be sure that your child:
- Knows how to follow the rules of the game
- Reports if someone is allowed to play rough or violate the rules
- Has the proper safety equipment in working order
- Has a safe environment in which to practice and play (i.e., not in excessive heat)
- Is not -pushed beyond their ability, age, or skill level
- Gets prompt medical attention if a suspected injury occurs
Negligent coaches and sports teams can result in serious preventable injuries to schoolchildren.
Beware of Sovereign Immunity in Georgia
While we hope no child is ever injured going to or from school or while at school, injuries do occur. What parents need to be aware of is that if it is the school’s fault for your child’s injury, more likely than not, there is nothing that can be done to pursue the school. In Georgia, sovereign immunity protects the school, its employees and the school system from liability in a large number of scenarios. In fact, there are only a very small amount of exceptions to this rule that allows the pursuit of a civil action against these entities.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information
At Spaulding Injury Law, our personal injury attorneys all over Georgia hope that your children have a safe start to the school year. If you or your child was injured in any type of accident, you should not hesitate to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced member of our legal team.