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Child has Slip and Fall Accident on School Stairs, Defendant Denied Summary Judgement


A ten year old boy studying at a Jewish elementary School in Kings County was supposed to stay in the classroom but he slipped out. A New York Injury Lawyer said he met his younger brother in the hallway near the stairs. They played and horsed around. While they were doing so, the ten year old boy had a slip and fall down the stairs during which he sustained injury. His parents sued the school on two basis: their failure to duly supervise their child and for their responsibility to keep their premises safe for the students.

The parents and the school asked the teacher in charge of the ten year old boy to execute a statement detailing what he knew and observed on the day of the boy’s slip and fall. He testified that the boy had slipped out unnoticed from the classroom prior to the accident; but the boy also managed to obtain permission to leave the classroom on several occasions prior to the accident so that the teacher cannot now remember if the boy had obtained his permission to leave the classroom on the day of his accident.

The Court ruled that this statement of the boy’s teacher cannot be considered as evidence in admissible form as it was not signed or sworn to before a person authorized to administer oaths.

The school filed a motion for summary judgment asking that the complaint for damages against it be dismissed. First, the ten-year old boy’s himself testified that his younger brother may have pushed him down the stairs. The school also claims that there is no preliminary evidence that there was any negligence in the supervision of the boy.

The only question before the Court is whether or not the complaint should be dismissed.

A Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said the Court held that schools cannot ensure the safety of their students but they do have the duty to supervise the students who have been left in their care. Schools will be held liable for foreseeable injuries caused by the absence of sufficient supervision. A school’s duty toward its students is the same as the degree of care that a parent would exercise.

If the slip and fall down the stairs and the resulting injury to the boy occurred in so short a time that even the closest supervision could not have prevented it then the lack of supervision is not the cause of the injury such that the school is entitled to the summary judgment it asks for.

Here, the school failed to show that they exercised supervision of its students when they are on the hallways or on the stairways during class times. It is common knowledge that a slip and fall on the stairs carries a foreseeable risk of injury. A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer said that even if the boy left the classroom without permission, there is no proof that the school had sufficient supervision of the hallways and stairways of the school.

Even if the school can prove that the brothers engaged in horseplay, this cannot excuse or exempt the school from liability. In fact, the reverse is true: the fact that the two boys were able to engage in aggressive horseplay in the hallway is proof that the school had no adequate supervision over the children; for had there been an adult present in the hallway or on the stairs, the adult would have stopped the children’s horseplay and he would have sent them back to their classroom.

The Court resolved to deny the motion for summary judgment and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Did your child slip and fall on the stairs while in school? Was your child pushed by a school mate? Are you wondering whom to sue? Are you wondering what causes of action you can bring? At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, they have New York City Slip and Fall lawyers who can help you first, by listening to your story. Their New York Slip and Fall attorneys can lay out your options as to what causes of action you can bring and whom you can sue. Their NYC Slip and Fall lawyers can help you decide what cause of action you should pursue based on the evidence available to you. The NY Slip and Fall lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can represent you in court. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today at any of their offices in the New York area.

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