Today's blog post is a guest post by Cyndi Laurenti. While she figures out her next career move, Cyndi works as an online writer and editor. Her primary interests are education, technology, and how to combine them. She enjoys the trees and beaches of the pacific northwest, and looking things up on other people's iPhones.
Personal injury lawyers assist clients who've been injured due to negligence on someone else's part. For example, victims of car accidents often sue the other driver over injuries. College students from undergrads to PhD candidates are as likely as anyone else to face situations where they have the right to personal injury compensation from their schools or from people around the school. However, they may have a more difficult time with personal injury lawsuits because of stereotypes about risky behavior among college students.
Schools may be liable if students are injured in a science laboratory accident in class. Many of these cases are settled out of court, but if a student were to go to trial over it, the student would have to prove the school was negligent.
If an instructor failed to warn students about inherent dangers of the experiment or didn't go over general lab safety before the first lab, the school may be liable for any injury to students taking that instructor's class. Similarly, if the instructor wasn't paying attention to what the students were doing or assigned a laboratory experiment that was needlessly dangerous, the school may be liable.
Public vs. Private Institutions
Public institutions are often immune from personal injury lawsuits, although many state laws make exceptions if a student can prove a particular instructor was negligent. Private schools don't usually have the privilege of automatic exemption. These schools may be liable for student injuries even if a particular instructor wasn't negligent.
For example, a public school may be exempt from lawsuits related to students doing experiments if the instructor wasn't negligent, while private schools may be liable simply because the experiment was inherently dangerous.