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Daughter Fell At School & Broke Arm

Been the victim of Legal Malpractice? Discuss it here.

Daughter Fell At School & Broke Arm

Postby Vagn » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:12 pm

My daughter fell down a flight of stairs at school in May of 2007. It was not during passing time, so there were not a lot of other students crowding the stairs. There wasn't any type of liquid that caused her to fall. She initially was diagnosed with a buldge fracture to her radius, right by her elbow. It has healed but she is still having issues with her arm, she is unable to straighten it completely & there still is pain. We have made a recent trip to the ortho doctor, & he has discovered that her elbow is broken from last year(different fracture). It's an injury that was missed initially. My mother thinks that the school should pay for it, but I thought that since my daughter just unfortunately tripped while going down the stairs, there was nothing that could be done. Am I correct in that assumption? If I am incorrect, has it been too long to do anything? What about the doctor that missed her second fracture?
Vagn
 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:16 am

Daughter Fell At School & Broke Arm

Postby Tremen » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:22 pm

Hi Lezlie,

It is surely one of the toughest things as a parent to see our children suffer injuries.  I hope that your sweetie heals up and is restored to good health with no lingering problems.  

In direct answer to your questions,(1) it is NOT too late to do anything about making a claim;(2) it is hard to find a claim versus the school district;(3) it is also hard to postulate a claim versus the doctor.

I have no idea whether or not the school is liable since there is no real reason why your daughter fell.  BUT, if there really was no liquid on the stairs, then maybe the steps were defective. Have you examined the stairs to see whether or not there might be a loose tread strip or the like?  

Even if the stairs are repaired to an OK status this school year, if your daughter can find a friend who remembers that the brass safety tread was curled up a bit on that step, THEN you would have a good claim.

Here is the basic rule regarding premises liability claims.  There is no automatic liability against a land owner, business, or school; one has to show negligence on their part.  

Premises Liability(Slip Or Trip And Fall Accidents) http://www.settlementcentral.com/page3006.htm  is an excellent review of premises liability or slip and fall accident confusion as to liability.  There are three good examples on that page to show you the difference between liable property owners and those whom one cannot sue. Maybe there WAS liquid, and some friend may have noticed it.  When we fall, we are embarrassed, and hence we do not take a good look around.  Ask her friends if they noticed liquid on those steps.  Did the floor get wet by the action of the school?  Did the floor stay wet because the school failed to mop up a big spill from a kid or a lab beaker?  Maybe there would be liability in those cases.

Or, did the floor get wet because some kid filled his mouth with water and spit it out?  Or did the floor get wet because some kid passed by five minutes before your daughter and leaked his thermos?  There would be no liability in those cases.  

So here is your lesson: assume that they will claim that your son is at least one-half at fault, and be prepared to defend on the basis that there was either a hidden pool of water or that your son's eye attention was drawn away for some good reason(i.e. climbing stairs).

DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED about that defense, but just be aware that it will be raised if your daughter's claim has any value.  Without telling anyone about your visit, you and your daughter should go into the school and spot the area and take some photos.   Show the eyelevel distractions of what would have caught your daughter's eye as she walked down the stairs.  http://www.settlementcentral.com/page0216.htm  Evidence to Support Your Personal Injury Insurance Claim of Premises Liability, Slip and Fall.  

Absent proof from you and your daugher that this is something the school should have rectified or warned students about, it will be hard to prove liability for a personal injury award, including any payment for medical bills.

However, many schools do have insurance for kids injured on the premises.  Ask about that.  Unless your school district has some kind of insurance or stipulation to pay medical bills for any student injured on the property, this looks to be something that will be the responsibility of your daughter(i.e. YOU!).  

NOW, for the malpractice claim.  Was it malpractice to miss the fracture on the first go-round?  AND, assuming it WAS malpractice, what are the damages?

One would first want to ascertain whether or not this first diagnosis was in fact malpractice.  The mere fact that something was missed DOES NOT automatically make it malpractice.  The standard of care is what would a reasonably competent doctor be expected to do in the same circumstances. Yes, I can see that your daughter likely had more pain as a result of this alleged malpractice, but an attorney will really want to know whether or not there are any SIGNIFICANT damages to speak of regarding the missed diagnosis.  That is because malpractice claims are VERY difficult to prove and no attorneys will get involved UNLESS there are significant damages.   Thousands of malpractice claims go unresolved each year simply because the small damages do not warrant the time, effort, AND EXPENSE that such cases require.  

There may be extra suffering in the case of your daughter.  You will need a doctor to state two things: first that there was malpractice, and second, that your daughter suffered for some time as a result, AND that there is some continuing problem in her healing to get back full use of that elbow.

Absent those proofs, you will not find anyone who will take on this claim.  My solution is to go to one of those NO FEE initial consultation attorneys who advertise malpractice and ask her to review your daughter's medical records.  She will be able to give you some idea of the proof problems on both negligence and damages.  From this distance, it does not sound like something I would have taken, and Dr. Settlement handled insurance claims for malpractice.  Just my two-bits worth: I would ask someone who can look at the medical reports and interview you and your daughter about how this alleged malpractice has made her life more difficult.

I trust that my time extra here has produced some information that has been of value to you, and thus I would respectfully request that you take the time to locate the FEEDBACK FORM on this site and leave some feedback for me.

Best Wishes, Dr. Settlement, J.D.(Juris Doctor) http://www.SettlementCentral.Com
Tremen
 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:38 pm

Daughter Fell At School & Broke Arm

Postby Briggs » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:27 am

My daughter fell down a flight of stairs at school in May of 2007. It was not during passing time, so there were not a lot of other students crowding the stairs. There wasn't any type of liquid that caused her to fall. She initially was diagnosed with a buldge fracture to her radius, right by her elbow. It has healed but she is still having issues with her arm, she is unable to straighten it completely & there still is pain. We have made a recent trip to the ortho doctor, & he has discovered that her elbow is broken from last year(different fracture). It's an injury that was missed initially. My mother thinks that the school should pay for it, but I thought that since my daughter just unfortunately tripped while going down the stairs, there was nothing that could be done. Am I correct in that assumption? If I am incorrect, has it been too long to do anything? What about the doctor that missed her second fracture?
Briggs
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:56 pm


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