Every year a combined 50,000 students attend the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky in Lexington. They remain the two most prestigious and well-known universities in the state. You or your family members may attend one of these public institutions.
Students attend college to determine their life path, open their horizons, and have a little fun. But those hopes and dreams can take a detour when campuses become unsafe places. Students, staff, and visitors can end up hurt in accidents.
Any area on campus can become dangerous under the right circumstances. Think classrooms, dorms, labs, and major campus thoroughfares. This can even include Nicholasville Road in Lexington or Floyd Street in Louisville. Accidents can happen anywhere. The risks increase when school boards and campus facilitators become negligent. Their duty is to protect students, faculty, employees, and all visitors. Injuries on Kentucky college campuses can affect the rest of your life.
Contact A Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer If Hurt at College
If you’re hurt in an accident or crime while at the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, or any other college in the state, please speak with a personal injury attorney that has the experience to deal with these situations. We can help no matter where the injury takes place. Car accidents, slip-and-falls, or other dangers in classrooms or dorms. Please talk to us about how we can help you.
Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, attorneys have over 100 years combined experience. We help victims of personal injury receive the support they need to recover. Our attorneys understand that students experience unique financial limitations while going to school. We offer a free consultation to any injured victim. If you choose us to represent your case, we don’t get paid until we’ve won your case for you.
Premises Liability for The University of Louisville and The University of Kentucky
A business or public institution has a “duty of care” to protect any visitor on their property from danger, known as premises liability. Universities must regularly inspect for threats that could harm any visitor invited onto their property.
When a student’s carelessness creates a dangerous situation, the university must remove the threat. The fix must happen in a reasonable amount of time.
Can Premises Liability help?
If you get hurt, you can hope to recover support for your recovery under the legal concept of “premises liability.” You can argue that Universities owe students even more care because of the nature of the responsibility they accept to nurture students and keep them from harm.
Slip-And-Fall Accidents On Campus
You could reach for an unsecured railing in a campus library stairwell, or step into your dorm bathroom after it’s just been mopped and be sent for a dangerous tumble. Falls are thought of as only affecting the elderly, but the fact is, a slip or trip for anyone can lead to debilitating injuries. Broken bones and hip damage can occur when you make impact with hard surfaces.
Your head is also exposed as you fall and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is always a possibility. You could hit your head on a sharp corner on the way down or absorb an impact as your head strikes the floor. The trip could be on a discarded snack in the upper levels at Kroger Field for a University of Kentucky Wildcats Football game. Your foot may come out from under you after another student left a spilled drink on the tile of the University of Louisville’s Swain Student Activities Center.
University employees can’t always be on the scene as these hazards appear, but they should always be monitoring for them and get them quickly cleaned up or repaired before you have the opportunity to get hurt.
That’s not to mention the dangers university representatives can create themselves. The constant renovations to dorms and new buildings going up can leave students at risk around construction sites. When universities don’t properly protect students and staff while work is going on, they should be held 100% liable for any injuries that occur.
Car and Pedestrians Accidents on Kentucky Campuses
A car accident on or around a busy campus can leave you in shock and pain from an injury. Your vehicle may have been struck by a careless or reckless driver or a driver may have hit you while you were on foot or on a bicycle.
Once you’ve received treatment for your injuries, you’ll be at the mercy of whatever car insurance coverage the driver to blame happens to have chosen. If you’re a student you likely can’t afford the costs of an ambulance ride, emergency room care, or an extended stay in a hospital. If a careless drive is to blame, you absolutely should not be the target of these costs..
Unfortunately, insurance companies work harder to discredit your accident claim than they do actually trying to help you. They can stall responding to your claim while your bills, tuition, rent, and other monthly expenses stack up. You could also lose out on income while having to miss work.
All of these factors can leave you in a desperate place and willing to accept any “lowball offer” put in front of you. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we never want to see accident victims left vulnerable to an insurance company’s tactics. We work to make sure our clients get what’s fair for their injury and receive everything they’ll need to pay their bills and continue their education.
Traffic Accidents and University Liability
Accidents on campus usually find resolution in the same way a crash on any road in Kentucky would be handled. However, when a collision involves a university vehicle like a bus, a public university could be held accountable.
Universities may also face liability if an accident happens on schools grounds or when the actions of school officials put you in danger and contributed to your accident. Campus road work or a construction project may put pedestrians or cyclists in a dangerous predicament.
Clear evidence is necessary to demonstrate that the University is aware of the unsafe conditions. Their liability hinges on the evidence demonstrating the lack of action on their part to prevent an accident from occurring.
What to Do After an Accident on Campus
With the lengths insurance companies can go to in order to question your innocence and avoid blame, evidence becomes very important after an accident.
If you are physically able, you should try to collect certain details on the scene of a campus accident.
University police may respond or city officers could show up depending on the location of your accident. They’ll prepare an accident report that will serve as valuable evidence for your case. Make sure to give them every detail you can remember. After crashes involving a car, speak up if you saw the at-fault driver on a cell phone or making a reckless move before the accident.
Allow paramedics to check out every injury.
Go to the hospital if necessary. When you can’t remain on the scene, ask someone with you or a helpful witness to gather basic evidence for you.
Take photos and video.
Use your phone to secure images of the damage to vehicles, or in a slip-and-fall injury be sure to capture images of the obstacle that sent you to the ground. If you were on foot or on a bike, take pics of any damage to personal property, your bike, and your clothing. Show any visible injuries. Record any signage that identifies a driver and vehicle involved as part of rideshare, a business, or the university.
Get contact information from witnesses.
Campuses are usually busy places so ask for help from anyone who might have seen what happened. Make sure your personal injury attorney can locate them to secure testimony later.
Trade information with the driver to blame after a traffic accident.
However, don’t talk about the fault in the accident or about your injuries. Any statements you make to the other driver or to an insurance representative who calls can end up working against you later.
Alert someone on the premises about a slip-and-fall or some other injury.
Universities will usually require a representative on the scene, such as an RA or a cafeteria manager to fill out an incident report. This report will become valuable evidence for you later.
Make an appointment with your doctor.
Get full documentation on all injuries paying special attention to any injuries that appear the day after your accident. The shock and adrenaline of a crash or fall can mask the pain of a wound until the next morning. This is why you shouldn’t talk about your injuries with the other party. You may think you’re okay at the moment, but be in great pain the next day.
Recreational Activities and Sports Injuries at Kentucky Colleges
A campus-sponsored event, like an out-of-state field trip or a kayaking adventure, are all potentially great life experiences, but they can also leave you at risk of a serious injury. Students often sign waivers or permission slips when they go on these trips or participate in collegiate sports. These waivers can make it harder to file an accident claim with a school, but there are exceptions.
Universities may find themselves accepting some liability for students who suffer injury when the school’s actions specifically contribute to the dangerous circumstances the victim experiences. Those hazards would need to be above and beyond the usual risks taken by someone engaging in an activity.
Evidence could prove gross negligence, and colleges would have to take part in supporting victims throughout their recoveries. Gross negligence is a legal term. It denotes the conscious, reckless disregard of a legal duty to show reasonable care which is likely to cause harm to a person. If a university’s lack of caution is well beyond normal negligence, victims can demand support as they heal.
Negligent Security and Sex Assault on Campus
College campuses have their own police departments for a reason. Once a student or staff member steps onto campus, they don’t leave the hazards of the outside world behind. Sadly, there are violent crimes occurring on school property. Schools have a responsibility to ensure more than adequate security in place to prevent these dangerous threats from targeting students and faculty.
When assaults of any kind occur, universities and colleges face liability if their inaction is proof of contribution to the danger. A background check on an employee or student could have missed a vital piece of information that would have kept the offender off-campus.
The victims of sex assault can sometimes show that a university didn’t properly investigate the crime. They might have let a suspect retain his or her freedom. These can all be factors that prove a university was negligent in its duties.
Sovereign Immunity And Campus Injuries
The legal concept of sovereign immunity protects many government agencies and state universities in Kentucky from lawsuits. Sovereign immunity requires that lawsuits against the University secure approval from state leaders.
This may seem unfair to injured victims, but most state institutions enjoy this protection across the U.S. This doesn’t mean you should give up on your attempt to hold your university responsible for a negligent act. Victims of a serious accident where gross negligence on the part of the school is evident may receive permission.
An important note – sovereign immunity might keep you from holding a university liable, but other parties who don’t enjoy the same immunity could share in the liability. If another student’s action contributed to your injury, you can file a claim against that student. A third-party company that works for the university could also end up responsible and part of a lawsuit.
The personal injury lawyers at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have an extensive background in filing lawsuits against government agencies. They also know the unique time limits on such cases. It’s important to bring your case to a personal injury attorney as soon as you’re able, so they can begin work to inform lawmakers of what happened to you and your intentions to file suit. Wait too long and your opportunity to file a claim may disappear.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Serving Kentucky Students and Faculty
Whether you’re an employee or a student, you deserve a safe environment. Stepping onto the property of a university or college campus should not cause fear or worry. Experiencing an injury can derail studies. Students may even have to drop out of school and put off getting an education.
Injuries may occur among faculty members and campus employees doing their jobs in an unsafe environment. Great suffering occurs if the university doesn’t prioritize healing and recovery.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, want to protect innocent victims in these cases and make sure universities don’t repeatedly get away with negligence. In our experience, the numbers of these cases only increase when a party does not face a penalty time and again.
We offer a free and confidential case consultation for any victim attending or working for a college or university. We want to hear what happened to you so we can help you determine all of the options available to get you the support you need.