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Slip and Fall Accidents at School

Casey Woodruff

school crossingFor any parent in Naperville, finding out that your child got hurt in a slip and fall accident at school is extremely distressing news. You might be wondering how the accident happened and why the administration did not take steps to prevent something like this from taking place on school grounds. If your child sustained serious injuries as a result of a slip, trip or fall at school, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit.

As an article in Property Casualty 360 points out, schools need to have liability policies that include premises liability coverage.  The Illinois Premises Liability Act(740 ILCS 130/) makes clear, schools (whether public or privately owned), like other businesses, owe a duty to anyone who legally comes onto the premises. What else do you need to know about slips and falls at schools?

Conditions for Slips and Falls Are Common at Schools

There are numerous dangerous conditions that can lead to a slip and fall accident, and many of them occur with some regularity at schools. As you might imagine, liquid spills occur often in school cafeterias, and during rainy or snowy weather in Naperville, entryways can become slick as students, faculty, and staff track in mud or as snow melts from boots. In addition, inclement weather can produce slip and fall risks outside the school (but still on school grounds). For example, an icy patch of sidewalk leading to the bus ramp can be especially dangerous for students walking quickly to catch their rides home.

Risk factors for trips and falls also tend to arise in school settings. For instance, carpeting that is particularly worn in a hallway can lead to a slip, trip, and fall. Torn carpeting can cause someone to trip. In some situations, school hallways have objects left outside doors that can get pushed into walkways. In other cases, technology wires for internet and phones can create a tripping hazard. Schools should also be aware of dangers posed by unkempt stairs. When railings are loose (or absent altogether), it is foreseeable that someone might trip and fall down the stairs.

And students are not the only ones at risk of slips, trips, and falls on school grounds. To be sure, faculty and staff can also run the risk of getting hurt. Many of the conditions we mentioned above can also lead a teacher or a front office employee to slip and fall. When spills occur in school cafeterias, it is important to consider risks to cafeteria employees and custodians.

Premises Liability Law in Illinois

When is a school liable for a slip, trip, or fall? The Premises Liability Act emphasizes that schools owe a duty of reasonable care to people on the premises, which includes but is not limited to some of the following duties:

  • To warn of risks of slips, trips, or falls;
  • To take reasonable care to protect entrants from risks that are both known to the school and that could reasonably be discovered;
  • To warn of any latent defects on the premises;
  • To warn of dangers associated with misuse of the premises; and
  • To protect entrants from their own misuse of the premises.

Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Naperville

If you have questions about filing a lawsuit, an experienced Naperville premises liability attorney can assist you. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to discuss your case.

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