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How much can I sue the public school for my child falling on ice and slipping down stairs causing a fracture to the back

Freeport, NY |

My child was leaving from practice one evening and slipped on ice that had not been cleaned on the stairs of the school. The school had all day to clean the steps being it snowed earlier that morning with freezing conditions throughout the day. There was no salt or anything on the steps and when practice was over they exited the building and she slipped and fell.

I did take photos the night she fell, and she also was taken straight to the emergency department were x rays were taken and showed the fracture.

Attorney Answers 10


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter's injuries. The amount will depend on the specific injuries, her treatment and prognosis, and liability on the school. What you noted about the weather is critical to the case. These cases require that it not be snowing at the time of the accident. As if had snowed earlier in the day, and nothing was done to clear the snow and ice, then your daughter's claim would be very strong.

    What is critical is that a Notice of Claim be filed immediately with the school district. You have 90 days to do so. You then have 1 year and 90 days from the date of the injuries to file a lawsuit.

    I can not stress enough that you should retain a personal injury lawyer to handle your daughter's claim. Without one the school district will never act in a fair or reasonable manner.

    If this Answer was of assistance please mark it as "helpful." Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.


  2. This is a case you definitely need a lawyer. There are specific notice requirements when suing a school and if you don't comply your could be barred from making a claim. Check this web site or the local bar association for a lawyer.


  3. If this was a public school and you haven't filed a notice of claim, the answer may be nothing. If you haven't done so already, you need to consult with an attorney in your area and make sure your time to file hasn't expired. If you have an attorney and trust his/her ability, then he or she should really be answering this question. There are too many factors that need to be considered for someone on this site to venture a guess let alone give an opinion.

    Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change appropriately.


  4. Hire a lawyer to talk.

    You may find the school has immunity from liability.


  5. Hopefully you have photos of the condition which caused her to fall. Invariably these are the most important pieces of evidence in these types of cases.

    It sounds as though there may be a claim worth pursuing but nobody would ever be able to tell you how much it is worth at such an early stage.

    There are many variables - most importantly the exact time of the last precipitation (including snow or rain). The 'storm in progress' doctrine gives landowners the right to wait a storm out before commencing clean up. They have a reasonable amount of time from the end of the snowfall etc. Here you could argue that a reasonable amount of time is within 30 minutes because of the fact that children were actually on school grounds that day.

    In order to protect your rights you should contact a local personal injury attorney at once. You have 90 days in which to file a notice of claim against the village and school board and investigation must happen ASAP

    Good luck!

    The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.


  6. I'm sorry to learn of your child's injury. The pleading rules in New York changed a number of years ago so that if you do elect to commence a lawsuit, your attorney will only state that he or she is seeking an amount greater than the jurisdictional limit of all lower courts (such as District Court on Long Island). How much the case is actually worth can't be determined at this point without knowing much more about your child's medical condition and her prospects for any future problems because of this injury. This is not the type of information that should be shared publicly.

    Be aware that School District cases tend to be defended very aggressively. You will need an attorney immediately, because you will have to serve a notice of claim on the school district within 90 days of the accident and commence a lawsuit within a year and 90 days. Even if the case can be settled, the settlement has to be approved by a Judge unless your daughter turns 18 at some point in the process.

    Speak with an experienced attorney and arrange for an in-person consultation to go over your daughter's potential case. Any attorney that accepts your case will do so on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not pay a legal fee unless that lawyer recovers money for your daughter.

    Good Luck

    Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.


  7. It's too soon to talk about amounts because it depends on how strong liability is and your child's recovery. Retain a personal injury lawyer asap because you need to serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days.

    The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  8. You can sue for anything, it is really irrelevant. It only matters what the case ultimately settles for or what damages you can prove at trial. Either way you need an experienced NY personal injury attorney to maximize your son's recovery.

    In seeking an attorney on this site, beware of limiting your search to attorneys with a 10 rating, and carefully read the AVVO disclaimer regarding their rating system. There are certain factors that are given great weight which do not necessarily have any bearing on an attorney's experience, abilities, and results with certain types of cases. Accordingly, the rating numbers can be misleading. Also beware of basing your choice on the fee charged, as a low fee, depending on the skill, experience and determination of the specific attorney handling your case, could actually have an inverse relationship to the amount actually put in your pocket.


  9. Hire a personal injury attorney. Serve a Notice of Claim on the school district-this must be done within 90 days of the day of the accident. The fact that it stopped snowing many hours before your child became seriously injured creates, in my mind, a presumption that the school was negligent and at fault . The value of the case is highly speculative and cannot be known until,you have a much better understanding of the effect it will have on your child's life and ability to,participate in all sorts of activities.

    The responses provided to your questions are not legal advice, do not create any attorney client relationship, and are provided for informational purposes only.


  10. You have a very short period of time to file a Notice of Claim with the school district that operates the building where your daughter fell. You should consult with an attorney in your area immediately. Even if you choose not to hire the attorney, you can get the forms to place the school district on notice. The amount you sue for should be discussed with the attorney you hire, and ultimately depends on the type of fracture, and the recovery that your daughter has. Hopefully, its a good recovery.

    Gold, Benes, LLP offers free telephone consultations between 10 and 4 weekdays.