Back to School

To the relief of many parents, summer is almost over and kids are heading back to school. It’s an exciting time of year – new teachers, new school clothes and school supplies, and new opportunities. Lost in all the excitement, however, is the possibility for serious accidents and injuries. We’d like to take the opportunity in this post to review these potential dangers so that you’re prepared in the event one of your children is injured in an accident.  

Bus Accidents

Once school is in session, more than 20,000 buses take to the roads across the state of Georgia. Some of us logged many hours on school buses as kids, and the fact that they didn’t have seatbelts seemed totally normal.  Despite the recommendation of the NTSB, Georgia law still does not mandate that school buses have seat belts. As a result, kids are exposed to risks of injuries that they do not face when riding in your car.  Here are some common causes of school bus accidents:

  • Negligent or reckless driving by the bus driver
  • Negligent or reckless driving by other drivers
  • Weather and/or poor road conditions
  • Mechanical failures on the bus due to lack of maintenance
  • Bus driver error due to inadequate training or lack of experience

You should also be aware that making a claim against the school district can be somewhat complicated due to a legal doctrine known as “sovereign immunity.” If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, we strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney to help you navigate the process.  

Walking or Biking to School

Some kids are lucky enough to be able to walk or bike to their school, maybe even without their parents. We know that you’ve briefed your kids on how to get their safely – use the crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, wear a helmet if riding a bike – but what happens when something goes wrong? Unfortunately, drivers pose the biggest risks to our kids when they are negligent. Take a walk around your neighborhood and you’ll probably see at least one of these typical examples of negligent driving:

  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Speeding
  • Looking left while turning right
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Distracted driving
  • Backing out of driveways without looking

If your kids are old enough that you don’t need to take them, we encourage you to have them go with a friend or two. In the event of an accident, teach your kids to get help from an adult as quickly as possible and to try to make a note of the make, model, and license plate of the car in case the driver flees the scene.  

Dangerous Properties

We all know that kids like to explore particularly in places that are abandoned or unoccupied. Generally speaking, property owners do not have an obligation to make their property safe from trespassers. In the case of children, however, they do have an obligation to keep kids safe from “attractive nuisances” by making reasonable efforts to prevent access. Here are some examples of attractive nuisances that are dangerous places for kids to play:  

  • Abandoned homes or buildings
  • Unattended swimming pools
  • Stormwater or drainage facilities
  • High retaining walls
  • Sheds and storage facilities

A property owner may be held liable for a child’s injury if his or her property has an “attractive nuisance” such as the ones listed above.  

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

If your child has been injured, you need to protect your child’s future. An attorney can help you with your claim in order to protect your most precious asset. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been helping accident victims across Georgia since 1992. Call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email in order to schedule your free consultation.  

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