The traffic of visitors, faculty, and students traversing a university or college can result in wear and tear on some shared amenities. Construction to replace outdated features can also pose dangers to a student living away from home for the first time. Basically, safety issues in institutions of higher learning are immense.
Sustaining an injury on campus can be confusing because you might not know who to sue, when to do it, and where to file the lawsuit. Most being government institutions, the procedures could be different from the traditional compensation cases. Personal injury lawyers in Miami can guide you on what to do.
Are Universities and Colleges Responsible for Students’ Injuries?
Schools are responsible for maintaining their grounds so that accidents and injuries do not happen. But if you get injured on campus, it is critical to ask yourself the following questions:
- Was the injury foreseeable?
- Did the school know of the specific danger?
- Did the school take measures to prevent injuries and accidents?
Campuses that fail in their responsibility to keep you safe could be liable for your injuries. Discussing the incident that led to your injuries with a Miami campus accident lawyer can clarify who could be held responsible.
When are Campuses Exempted From Liability?
Campuses might be exempted from liability under certain circumstances. Some include:
- Injuries happening outside of campus-sponsored events
- Injuries happening on campus when school is not in session
- Sports injuries that are normal risks for any athlete, e.g., sprinkling an ankle
Parents might have difficulty successfully bringing a lawsuit against their child’s university in the above situations. Speaking to an attorney before pursuing compensation ensures that you do not waste resources pursuing a lost course.
How Do I Start Filing a Claim Against a Campus?
Filing a claim against a university is usually different from how you would file a lawsuit against an individual or a private company. Before filing a compensation lawsuit, you must first file a formal complaint against the campus.
The complaint should indicate the grievance, and the nature of the injury sustained. A Miami campus accident lawyer can guide you on the vital details to include and present it to the court clerk. This action is usually interpreted as an attempt to settle before the actual lawsuit.
What Elements Must One Prove to Get Compensation From the Campus?
Just like all other Miami cases, there are certain elements to prove before pursuing damages. You must show negligence on the campus’ part in the following ways:
- The specific student was enrolled in the campus
- The campus neglected its duty of keeping the student safe
- The student suffered an injury
- The injury is directly related to the breach
Evidence of negligence in a university might look like this:
- Improperly maintained handrails or stairways
- Hallways, walkways, or sidewalks that aren’t cleared of weather or other hazards
- Improperly maintained sports/playground equipment
- Improperly maintained school buses
A Miami campus accident lawyer can assist you in relating your situation to all the negligence elements, and piece together an award-winning lawsuit. And it all starts when you schedule a consultation to have your case reviewed.
How Much Time Do I Have to Pursue a Compensation Lawsuit?
Victims have three years to file a formal complaint with the court’s clerk regarding the campus injury. After that, there is a further waiting period before filing the lawsuit. Victims can only file after 180 days or after the claim is denied.
It is advisable to file early instead of waiting until the last minute. Remember that preparation of the documents and evidence needs a bit of time. Additionally, the memory of the witnesses and the victims might fade over time, which could compromise the strength of the case. Besides, the campus could also fix the issue, and the evidence might be unavailable later.
How Can I Fight the “Open and Obvious” Argument?
Institutions would do anything to avoid liability. And one of the defenses a campus’ legal representative could use is the “open and obvious” argument. The defense is often used when the hazards that caused your injury is avoidable if you were careful enough. It is an argument intended to shift the burden of responsibility from the campus to you.
Your counter-argument would be dependent on the circumstances. While a hazard might be open and evident from one angle, it might not be visible from another. Your Miami campus accident lawyer can show the judge that the hazard was not apparent from the angle you approached it or due to lighting issues.
What Happens if I’m Injured After a Third-Party Attack on Campus?
If an attacker injures you within the campus, you can sue for damages from both the third party and the institution. The campus management is responsible for beefing up security to ensure that you are safe from attacks. Lack of security lights, guards, and surveillance cameras might have contributed to the on-campus attack.
You can argue and bring evidence showing that the campus did not do enough to discourage criminal activity within the institution. And if there have been strings of attacks near the campus in previous times, the campus ought to have tightened its security measures. Such cases are diverse and complex, needing the expertise of an experienced and skilled lawyer.
Injury Attorneys Helping Campus Injury Victims in Miami
On-campus injuries can be more complex than most other premises liability and personal injury cases. And if you lose the lawsuit, you might have to cater for all the medical and non-medical expenses by yourself. Additionally, failure to observe time and file a claim the right way can rob you of your rights.
Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A. is highly rated for its ability to aggressively tackle campus-related injury cases and win. Our attorneys can ensure that you get compensation in full, without paying anything until you get an award. Talk to us today to discuss your injury experience.