Injured on Campus: Who is Responsible?
When you send your child away to college, your primary source of concern should be on their ability to keep up with their class work and to have access to healthy food. You should not, under any circumstances, need to worry about their safety. Unfortunately, increased incidents of campus violence and accidents make this a real concern.
Drinking on Campus
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), excessive drinking on college campuses is linked to some disturbing outcomes. One survey found that nearly 60 percent of college students ages 18-22 consumed alcohol over the past month. Two out of three of those who drank admit to binge drinking.
Drinking on campus is connected to more than 1,800 student deaths each year. These are due to such things as alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle crashes, and unintended accidents. Approximately 686,000 students claim being physically assaulted by another student who has been drinking. About 97,000 students report either date rape or sexual assault involving alcohol.
Many students seek to play sports or join organizations and other social clubs at their college. Unfortunately, this membership often comes at a cost that is in addition to any membership dues. More than half of all college students involved in these types of activities have experienced some form of hazing, and 26 percent of those involve alcohol.
Other Types of On-Campus Injuries
There are many ways that a student can be injured on campus involving alcohol or drug use, but these aren’t the only sources of injury. Some students are injured during sporting events or training when they are pushed beyond their limits. Others might suffer a serious injury in a lab due to a lack of proper supervision. Campuses are busy places, so it’s not uncommon for a pedestrian or cyclist to suffer injury from a careless motorist.
Finally, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) reports that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually abused while in college. When there are sexual assaults on campus, there are strict Title IX rules about reporting and investigating those allegations. There also have been some high-profile and violent assaults on this nation’s college campuses in recent years. Whether the result of a protest march or due to the actions of a disturbed individual, violent acts on campus can result in serious injury and even be deadly.
Who is Responsible for College Campus Injuries?
When you send your child away to college, you expect that the institution will provide a safe and nurturing environment. When they fail in this task, a college or university should be held accountable for the resulting injuries and other damages. When there is an injury or accident, it becomes important to show that the college failed in its duty to protect your child and that that failure contributed to the injuries.
Students injured on Alabama campuses have brought claims against the colleges, its Chancellor, and its Board of Supervisors for failing to protect them from being attacked or severely injured. Specifically, those claims might be for the college’s failure to enforce security and safety measures to help prevent attacks or for failing to have locked entrances and security cameras for campus residents. The university should also take reasonable steps to discourage underage drinking, hazing and other unsafe behavior.
Your success in filing suit against a college or university might depend on whether that school is a public or private school. Many public schools are protected by the “sovereign immunity” doctrine, which states that you can’t sue the government unless given permission. While you may still be able to sue a pubic Alabama university, the state’s laws could limit your access to damages. Other parties that might be liable for an on-campus injury include individuals who caused harm and third parties. Examples of third parties might be a food service company or a vehicle manufacturer.
If you or a loved one have been injured on an Alabama college campus as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful acts, the personal injury attorneys at Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, are ready to speak to you about your case. Contact us today at (334) 737-3718 or online to schedule a free consultation.