What to do if we have an injury that occurred at a local high school during a wrestling tournament?

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What to do if we have an injury that occurred at a local high school during a wrestling tournament?

The wrestling club had a disclaimer stating they are not responsible for any injuries while on school premises. Could the school be held responsible for the injury? Husband fractured his ankle and is on crutches. Due to no janitor on duty during the tournament, kids spilled water in the hallway and in the men’s bathroom resulting in my husband falling twice and falling on the fracture causing it to break completely so now he has to have surgery and be off work longer than expected.

Asked on December 16, 2015 under Personal Injury, Kansas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The validity of the disclaimer can be challenged.  Even if it is deemed valid, it will be narrowly construed to perhaps kids participating in wrestling and not a blanket disclaimer applicable to your husband slipping and falling on a wet floor.
However, the school district is the party primarily liable and not the wrestling club.
Your husband should notify the school district in writing of his personal injury claim and obtain the name, address, and telephone number of the school district's insurance carrier.  That insurance carrier should also be informed in writing of your husband's personal injury claim.   When your husband completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a  point in his medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, he should obtain his medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  His personal injury claim filed with the school district's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the school district's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If your husband is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the school district's  insurance carrier, he should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against the school district based on premises liability.
If the case is NOT settled with the school district's insurance carrier, your husband's lawsuit against the school district must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your husband will lose his rights forever in the matter.
 
 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the tournement was a school district event, then they *may* be liable for the failure to have a janitor on duty to mop up, etc. IF, under the circumstances, that would reasonably have made a difference: that is, if the slip occured long enough after the spill that it would normally or reasonably be expected that a janitor would have mopped up by then. But if your husband fell shortly after the spill, then the school would not have had a chance to clean up, and so would not be at fault (and therefore would not be liable) for failing to do so.
If it was not a school event but the school was just letting a community, etc. organization use the space after hours, they would not be liable for what people (e.g. kids) at that event did.


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