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School Ground Injuries: Are Schools Responsible?

School Ground Injuries: Are Schools Responsible?

Parents send their kids to school expecting them to return safely. Even so, school ground injuries are common. Schools and their staff have a duty to do whatever is possible—within reason—to keep kids safe from foreseeable harm. But what happens when a school does not prevent foreseeable harm and a child is injured? The answer depends on whether it was negligent.


What Is Negligence?


Negligence is the failure to act with the level of care a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. But the legal standard of care for teachers and administrators is higher. School staff act in loco parentis, which means “in place of the parents.” Under this doctrine, they assume some of the same responsibilities as the parents. This allows staff to better supervise and manage children, but it also means they have to exercise an even higher level of care to prevent harm. The court might find them negligent if they fail to do so.


What Happens if a School Is Negligent?


If school staff acted negligently, the school may be held liable for damages, and the parents could file a personal injury claim against the school. Damages may include medical bills and pain and suffering.


Holding the School Accountable


If the harm was not foreseeable or school staff acted prudently and exercised the level of care required under law, the court might not find the school negligent. The court will consider many factors when determining negligence, including what or who caused the harm, whether school knew about the potential for harm, should the school have known about the potential for harm, and what they did to prevent it.


Pursuing a Claim


Filing a personal injury claim against a school can be difficult. You must prove school staff acted negligently to be successful. If your child suffered an injury while on the school ground, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury attorney about your options. Also, make sure your child is aware of the safety risks at school and how he or she could avoid them. We like to believe every child is safe at school, but, in reality, they face risks every day.


If your child has recently been injured on school grounds, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.


Easter Tips

Easter is this Sunday and as it quickly approaches there are a few safety precautions to keep in mind in order to maintain a happy holiday. Easter is a holiday that commonly results in numerous injuries for small children. The most common injuries are a result of traveling, poisoning, drowning, falling, and cuts.

The American Red Cross has compiled a list of simple precautions to take during busy travel weekends, such as Easter weekend. American Red Cross recommends that: [Read more…]

Medicare Data to Be Annually Released

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin releasing Medicare physician-payment records every year.

In April 2014, the CMS released the 2012 Medicare data on payments to 880,000 medical providers, which totaled $77 billion. This was the first time the Medicare data has been released since a 1979 injunction prohibited Medicare from disclosing its payments to doctors. The injunction was put in place based on efforts by the the American Medical Association, which argued a doctor’s right to privacy outweighed the public’s interest in knowing how tax dollars were spent.

The Medicare data released in April included most payments to doctors, laboratories, ambulance companies and other medical providers under Medicare Part B, which makes up about one-seventh of the program’s nearly $600 billion in annual expenditures.

[Read more…]

Why Chicago has Extremely Short Yellow Lights

The city of Chicago made a profit of nearly $8 million after just a few months of installing a stoplight with a yellow light that is a fraction of a second shorter than the recommended 3 seconds. There are no federal laws that regulate a time span for yellow lights. However, the United States Department of Transportation advises for cities to allocate 3-6 seconds for a yellow light. Starting at the beginning of 2014, Chicago began implementing the shorter yellow lights. Some experts believe that the new shorter light is strictly to produce revenue for the city by catching people on camera who run red lights.

The red light cameras have been around for some time now. Starting back in 1990, cities slowly began installing red light cameras in hopes that less people would run red lights. The outcome resulted in fewer red lights run, but mixed results in safety hazards. Several studies have shown that the red light cameras reduced fatalities and accidents while other studies show that the fear of being caught on the cameras has resulted in more collisions. Thus, the red light cameras are not proven to improve safety in drivers. But, they are proven to heavily increase revenue in the cities that utilize them.

[Read more…]

Winter Sport Safety

As the snow falls, skiing and snowboarding season begins and with these winter sports also comes great danger and responsibility. There are dangers besides the icy roads and potholes. Winter enthusiasts typically enjoy skiing and snowboarding because of the enticing thrill and risk that coincides with the sport. Skiing and snowboarding require skill and experience that can take years to acquire. While acquiring these skills, misjudging your skill level can lead to collisions and injuries. However, based on technology and new safety measures, injuries and collisions have drastically decreased over the past few decades.

Skiing and snowboarding roughly result in 50 serious injuries and 54 deaths annually. Considering that most people only engage in winter sports over two months out of the year,it’s crucial to be aware of safety precautions. Most fatalities and injuries occur in the population of people who engage in high-risk behavior. On average, the victims are predominantly males in their late teen to early 30s.

[Read more…]

Hands-Free Devices Still Risky

Beginning January 1, 2014, Illinois prohibited drivers from using their electronic device to send messages while they are driving with an exception for hands-free devices. In the past few years, nearly every state now encourages drivers to use hands-free devices because generally hands-free devices are thought to be safer than texting or manually operating your phone with your hands by driving.

However, according to the National Safety Council, 80-90% of auto accidents are due to human error. More likely than not, humans errors arise from distractions while driving. The hands-free devices have been found to be a hassle and still distract drivers who use them. In fact, studies have shown that driving while operating a hands-free device is going to be four times more distracting than just simply operating your vehicle.

[Read more…]

New Law Captures Illegally Passing School Buses

When we put our children on a school bus in the morning, the last thing we think about is a car accident. When we are driving to work, there is nothing more aggravating than seeing someone whip around a school bus that is picking up or dropping off children. Yet, we have all seen people not drive safe or put the safety of any child running to or from the bus at risk. [Read more…]

Uber – Safe?

Uber is taking over Chicago as the new innovative and inexpensive way to travel. What is Uber you may ask? Uber is a ridesharing app that has taken off in the past five years. As of September, this app can be used in 100 cities and is valued at nearly $15 billion dollars. Downloading the app is free and customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle’s location. You simply type in your location and a hired Uber driver nearby comes to pick you up. The app will tell you how much your ride will cost, give you a review of the driver, the kind of car the driver has, and much more. It has simplified traveling for people all over the world, especially Chicago. However, the system is new to many people. With the app being so new, many customers are worried about the safety of this app. The drivers are not licensed taxi drivers and typically use their own vehicle. The customers pay the drivers by syncing their credit card with the app. Therefore; the driver never has cash on them and is never paid directly by the customer. Uber takes care of it all. The concern is how safe is Uber? [Read more…]

Pet Safety Tips – Summer

As temperatures rise, it is crucial for our awareness of pet safety to rise as well. Residents of Illinois are required to give their pets adequate protection from weather under the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act. This includes requiring pet owners to provide their animals protection from extreme heat or extreme cold.

So, what do you do if you see an animal in distress during a hot summer day inside a vehicle? Can you act in response to a fear of a disregard of pet safety? As an Illinois resident you are NOT allowed to take matters into your own hands and rescue an animal. However, if you are concerned with an action that jeopardizes pet safety, you may call an animal control officer, law enforcement officer, or Department investigator. Each of these officials must first try to locate the owner of the vehicle or another person responsible. If they are unable to locate anyone then they do have the authority to enter the vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances. [Read more…]

Child Safety Seats

A fun trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa isn’t easy when you need to get your baby into a child safety seat. However, auto collisions are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. While automobiles are a necessity and an integral part of American culture, riding in one presents many safety risks. So, naturally, the government along with car manufacturers constantly work to tweak automobile design, construction, equipment and regulation in order to minimize the occurrence and consequences of accidents. Protecting the safety of children riding in cars also poses a unique challenge. In 2009, 179,000 children were injured in auto accidents and more than 1,000 died. Currently, the best solution to this problem has been the child safety seat, a seat specifically designed to protect children from injury or death during collisions. [Read more…]

About the Firm

Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron


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