For most students in the Show-Me State, the college experience is their first taste of freedom. While this newfound freedom is somewhat thrilling, this unbridled independence can lead to potentially dangerous choices.
College is also a time for young women and men to explore their latent passions and discover new friends and intellectual pursuits as they come of age and decide how to reach for their life and career objectives.
Schools recognize their responsibility and manage it with extreme vigilance. However, accidents do happen on campus and in life. Here are a few common situations –
Slip & Falls
Although distance education has forever altered the higher learning landscape, a college community and campus is still a place with a tremendous amount of traffic –
- Foot & Segway traffic.
- Bicycle, Inline Skates, & Skateboard traffic.
- Auto & Vespa/Motorcycle Traffic, among others.
Even those campuses located in urban areas tend to have miles of walkways and corridors. Schools are required to maintain these pathways to ensure campus safety. However, if a sidewalk is left in disrepair – without signage warning of the danger or a repair that is made within a reasonable amount of time – the school may be responsible for the college student’s resulting injuries.
Here is an example to help elucidate the issue –
While attending a class at a Missouri community college related to re-entering a job market as an older adult, a 65-year-old woman fell and injured her hip when she fell on a tree root that had uprooted an otherwise paved pathway.
Automobile, Bicycle or Pedestrian Injuries
Students attending college have a reasonable expectation that the campuses to be well-lit, with safely lit parking lots and well-designed traffic flow patterns. Yet, even those campuses with well-designed campus traffic patterns and well-lit parking areas, injuries from campus accidents are, sadly, more commonplace than one would like to believe.
For example, a female student attending a four-year college in Florida was hit and killed when a campus garbage vehicle struck her while riding. College campuses are motion-filled areas and require constant vigilance to stay safe and to always look out for one another at all times.
College campuses are generally comprised of outdoor grounds and many buildings that are home to classrooms, labs, elevators, stairwells, and sports facilities. Schools have a responsibility to maintain these campus facilities in accordance with reasonable standards to mitigate potential injuries.
However, the reality is any one of these buildings (or outdoor areas/grounds) may offer a student risk of injury.
Campus buildings are subject to local building code which requires them to –
- Ensure all exits remain unblocked.
- Lab equipment is certified and regularly maintained.
- Capacity totals, etc.
However, even those buildings that meet each local building and safety code could be the cause of a potential injury to a college student in Missouri.
As noted previously, college offers young men and women newfound independence that gives them a somewhat controlled environment to challenge their boundaries – in positive ways. Yet, danger lurks whenever someone chooses to move outside their comfort zone.
According to a reported survey conducted by the NIH – the National Institutes of Health, in 2018 –
- More than 26% of individuals 18+ answered that they binge drank during the past 30 days. NIAAA defines a binge drinking pattern as alcohol intake that results in a BAC – a Blood Alcohol Concentration – of .08 per g/dL. Seventy-five percent of the cost of the abuse of alcohol is attributed to binge drinking.
- More than 54% of full-time college students (18-22) drank alcohol during the past 30 days.
- More than 1,800 college students die from unintentional injuries related to alcohol use – this includes auto accidents.
- About 25% of college students note that drinking has had a negative impact on their academic life.
While federal regulations mandate that higher education institutions are to provide hazard-free/safe academic environments for students and visitors of the school, this includes employing an appropriate level of security and medical personnel ready to respond to injuries and safety threats.
Unfortunately, criminal activity is found everywhere, including college campuses. According to CollegeCrimeWatch.org, burglaries, car theft, and forced sexual assault are the most common criminal acts found on larger campuses.
Most schools consider student safety paramount to the school’s initiatives. However, college is a bit of a microcosm of society in general. As such, as in life, accidents can and do happen on college campuses. The question becomes – does the school bear any responsibility for the accident that caused a student’s injury.
It is best to have injury attorneys in Columbia, MO investigate to discover if the school is liable in any way for a student’s injuries caused by accident on campus.