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School Injuries in Alabama a Daily Occurrence

Jan 27, 2014 - Premises Liability by

A recent report by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center reveals that, on average, there were six violent offenses that occurred daily in Alabama schools in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.
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The agency indicates that police responded to an estimated 2,140 incidents of school violence – from kindergarten through college – throughout the year. Among those calls were one homicide, 17 rapes, 30 robberies, nearly 250 aggravated assaults and nearly 1,900 simple assaults.

A large number of these incidents resulted in severe bodily injury.

And the worst of it? Other studies indicate that violence only accounts for a tiny portion of overall school injuries on an annual basis.

Previous research by the firm Education Management Consulting LLC in New Jersey indicates that of the 53 million children who spend almost a quarter of their waking hours at school, some 14 million under the age of 15 will sustain some form of unintentional injury at some point during the year. That breaks down to about 1 in every 14 students who suffer some type of medically-attended or temporarily disabling injury at some point during the school year.

These unintentional injuries might range from sustaining a concussion during volleyball practice to being hurt in a school bus crash.

While these incidents tend to be more common, school place violence garners more attention. Everything from bullying to school shootings would be included here, and certainly, it is a worthwhile topic.

Another recent (broader) study on school violence, published earlier this month in the journal Pediatrics, indicates that every year, some 90,000 students are treated at hospital emergency rooms for what are described as intentional injuries. Researchers with the Alpert Medical School at Brown University culled information from injury reports over the last decade.

That report indicated that of 7.4 million school injuries in the U.S. over the study period, about 740,000 were intentional.

The most common of these injuries were cuts and bruises (about 40 percent), but there were also fractures (12 percent), brain injuries (10 percent) and sprains and strains (7 percent). The vast majority of school violence injuries were the result of assault, mostly by perpetrators who had been identified as friends or at least acquaintances. In a full 10 percent of cases, the assaults involved multiple aggressors.

One of the major challenges in filing a school injury lawsuit is that most schools will claim immunity on such cases. That is, they will say that as an extension of the government, they should be immune from civil liability.

There are cases in which, unfortunately, this is a solid defense. However, an experienced injury lawyer can help you explore your options. There is sometimes the potential for schools or their employees to be successfully sued on grounds of negligent supervision or security.

Be mindful that there are strict statutes of limitation requirements in Alabama for civil liability cases, so it is in your best interest to immediately consult with an attorney as soon as you become aware your child has suffered an injury.

Additional Resources:

Violence Accounts for 10% of School Injuries, Jan. 13, 2014, By Cari Nierenberg, LiveScience.com
Stats indicate 6 acts of violence occurred daily at Alabama schools in 2011 (updated), Jan. 16, 2013, By Evan Belanger, AL.com

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