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Schools and premises liability

New Jersey schools have a duty to keep the children who attend them safe from harm. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for children to be injured at school and this is why numerous lawsuits have arisen related to the failure of schools to keep their students safe while they are on school property. A lot of these lawsuits utilize the legal theory known as "premises liability."

Under premises liability theory, those who occupy and/or own land have a legal obligation to keep their premises safe for people who visit the property. More specifically, property owners and/or property managers are obligated to exercise a reasonable level of care to prevent accidents related to the premises from happening. That means walkways need to be free of obstacles, rickety stairs need to be fixed and other tripping hazards and dangers need to be resolved.

In the specific case of schools, property owners are under an even higher standard of care because schools have children present. Usually, the law requires people to be extra careful when children are present because children are less capable than adults when it comes to avoiding dangers and getting hurt. In addition to physical dangers related to the property, though, children may also be at risk of being bullied by other children, being harassed or falling ill. In these circumstances, the school employees must come to the aid of the child.

In situations where a school fails to come to a child's aid to resolve problems related to bullying or illness, or in cases where a school fails to offer safe premises free of dangers, the school could be held liable if the failures result in a serious injury to a child. New Jersey parents of children who were hurt at school may therefore wish to discuss their child's injuries with a qualified legal counselor to determine if a viable claim for damages can be made.

Source: FindLaw, "School Safety Legal Issues and Laws," accessed June 03, 2016

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