Injured on University Campus: Who’s Liable?

When joining college, students look forward to learning, enjoying different co-curricular activities, and making friends in a safe environment. So what happens when you are injured while on campus grounds? What steps should you take, and most importantly, who will be held liable for your injuries?

If you have been injured on campus, it is easy to feel lost in all the emotions. On top of it all, your college might attempt to deny or tone down the accusations in a bid to protect their reputation. Remember you have a right to file a claim and receive the right settlement amount for your injuries.

Common Injuries on University Campus

Injuries on the campus can result from poorly maintained pathways, insufficient security personnel, poorly lit parking lots and streets, slippery floors, unmaintained gym equipment, and a host of other causes.

Some of the resulting accidents and injuries include the following:

  • Slip and falls
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Sports injuries caused by poor supervision or faulty equipment
  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Physical assault
  • Car and pedestrian accidents caused by university or visitors’ vehicles

What to Do when Injured on University Campus

The first step to take after being injured on campus is to notify the campus police and file a report with them. Next, seek professional medical attention and remember to mention that you were injured on college grounds. Remember to keep all the doctor’s records, tests, and bills. Such documents will come in handy when filing a personal injury claim against the institution.

Depending on the type of accident or injury, you might need to notify the campus president to open a formal investigation. Cases such as rape, assault, violence, and robbery will also require you to report the same to your local police department for a criminal investigation too. 

Premise Liability on University Campus

Premise liability holds a property owner or overseer responsible for any injuries that might occur within their establishment. This means that a property owner owes a safe environment to anyone within their establishment. 

When an accident occurs due to the proprietor’s negligence, the victim can file an injury claim against them. This is facilitated by premise liability law. 

However, the extent to which premise liability applies depends on the victim’s status or relationship with the establishment. This falls into three categories:

Licensee

These are people who are visiting or staying in the premises for social purposes. Premise liability gives the property owner a greater leeway if the injured person is a licensee. 

Invitee

This would be a person invited or staying within an establishment for business purposes. As a property owner, you owe the greatest duty of care to this category.

Trespasser

These are people who are illegally accessing a premise. A proprietor legally owes no duty of care to a trespasser, unless they are children.

As a college student, you hold an invitee status with the campus. Thus, you can hold the school, authorities, employees, coaches, supervisors, drivers, and so on liable for any injuries that occur within the university grounds.

Proving Negligence

Just like any personal injury case, proving negligence on the university’s part will require you to show a breach of duty of care. 

One of the most important elements to prove is the foreseeability of harm. Together with an attorney, you can prove that the campus was aware of the harm and did not take any measures to improve the situation. Evidence includes witness statements, previous incidents, and reports.

For instance, if you were injured by a campus shuttle driver, a car accident lawyer can help you prove that the school had received complaints about the employee but did not take any action. 

It is also important to look at your state laws because some public institutions have qualified immunity that protects them from certain kinds of lawsuits. Additionally, if your college identifies as a charitable institution, getting your injuries compensated might be more difficult.