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Florida Personal Injury Accidents – Child Injury – Expert Advice

November 6, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Personal Injury Accidents Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Son injured himself in school

Question: My son got injured last week at school. We live in Satellite Beach Fl, and my son goes to school at a magnet school in Cocoa which is at least 30mins away from us. He was in his science class when a girl who had her foot on his stool pulled her foot out and took the stool with her as my son was going to sit on the stool. He fell and hit his head on a table behind him and broke his scalp open. Thankfully, he did not have any major trauma to his skull. The school and the school board have been so unhelpful and quick to absolve themselves from any liability. First while my son was waiting for me to pick him up a roach appeared in the clinic and the nurse ran out of the clinic leaving my son behind alone. Then the principal called my husband and told him that they had "investigated" what happened and said that it was an accident and that no one had pulled the chair out from underneath my son. Now I had to pay out of pocket for my son to be taken care of (I do not have insurance) and when I called for an incident report last Friday, they said they needed to find it and they would call me back. When they did call, I was not available to speak with them so I called them later in the day and they told me that they could not release the accident report because my son did not fill it out. He was not aware that he needed to fill out a report. They also never made us aware of it needing to be done. Now the person that has the authority to release it is not going to be in the office until next week and I am livid that I cannot get that report. What are my options? Thank you.

Answer: Don’t expect to find anything worthwhile in the report.  If the School turns it over to you, it will most likely contain very generic information and will definitely not assign any fault to the school.  At best, it may contain the names of witnesses to the incident that you could speak to in order to find out exactly what happened.  Your options are to investigate the incident more fully to find out what exactly happened, and determine whether the school is responsible for the incident.

Keep in mind, in cases of Florida personal injury accidents, a school is responsible for dangerous conditions which they know about, or should know about, and their failure to protect the children at the school from the dangers.  This could be actual dangerous conditions at the school such as a door that slams too quickly, or an uneven, cracked sidewalk, or it could be a student that continually pulls "pranks" on other students, or a student that bullies other students.  A stool that is pulled out by another student, without any further information or facts, is probably not a dangerous condition that the school would be responsible for.   However, if it is a stool that other people have been injured on, or maybe this other student has a history of doing this to classmates, then maybe there is liability against the school for failing to fix the stool, or failing to discipline or remove the student from the classroom.

Most schools have insurance for the type of incident you have described. Their insurance usually includes "medical payments coverage", or Medpay. Medpay is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical bills which arise out of an injury that occurs at the school.  Since you have incurred out of pocket medical bills, you should speak to the school to find out whether they have medpay coverage.  If so, you need to submit the bills to the school’s insurance company and you will be reimbursed.

If your son does have a claim, you would not sue right away.   Most Florida personal injury accidents claims get resolved without having to file a lawsuit.  Once your son finishes his medical treatment, your accident lawyer would get the medical records together, photos of the injury, and copies of his medical bills, then submit them to the school, or its insurance company in an effort to settle the claim.  If the school doesn’t settle the claim, then you would have the option of filing a lawsuit.

It sounds like your son’s injury may have healed without any permanent effects.  If it has not, you should consider speaking with a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer as soon as possible. There are many steps your attorney should take now, i.e. notify the insurance company for the school, and find out what types of coverage are available.  There are also statutes of limitations which may apply and preclude you from bringing a claim if you wait too long, particularly if it is a public school.  There are special rules for Florida accident and injury claims which apply to governmental entities such as public schools, including when you have to notify them.  If it is a public school in Florida, there are also other governmental agencies you are required to put on notice of your son’s claim, so it is best to speak with a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer as soon as possible.

Most attorneys specializing in premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. the attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.  So it won’t cost you anything to at least speak to an attorney in your area.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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