Is a College Liable for a Student’s Injuries or Death?

A phone call from a college student is a welcome relief for many parents. Whether it is your first child off at college or your fifth, the excitement of communicating with your burgeoning adult is cause for joy.

What happens if that call is not from your child, but the college reporting an incident. If a student is injured or murdered on campus, is the college at fault? Find out how responsible a college or any other institution is for an on-campus mishap.

Freedom Versus Liability

Students attending college assume the risks that come along with living away from home. While colleges have policies and procedures in place to afford specific protective measures, there is no guarantee that incidents won’t occur. Some of this has to do with the freedom students have around campus and the choices they make. For example, partaking in underage drinking activities that may result in injury or even death may not have anything to do with college officials. If students choose to break the rules, and the consequences are dire, the college may not be liable.

Negligence and Campus Safety

There are times when a campus accident falls squarely on the shoulders of the college, despite assertions to the contrary. While students have the right to make choices that may lead to negative consequences, there is also an expectation that the college will do what it can to prevent harm. Negligence in the legal sense includes times when institutions fail to act to prevent injury to students. When on-campus drinking occurs, if a college is aware of what’s happening and does not take reasonable steps to thwart them, it may be negligent.

Wrongful Death Claim

When a student dies on campus, several questions need answering. First and foremost, how did such a horrible act occur? If the death was during a campus-led or endorsed event, the college might face liability if a wrongful death claim is filed. Personal injury claims become wrongful death claims if the victim dies as a result of the injuries. When a student is murdered, accidentally or intentionally on campus, the investigation may focus on, among other things:

  • The circumstances around the death
  • The student’s belief they were safe
  • The security present or lacking
  • The physical campus conditions existing in the area

When a dorm hall fails to lock, the college should repair it immediately. If they don’t and a crime, like murder, occurs in the dorm from an intruder, the institution may be liable. Reasonable and necessary security measures were not taken to ensure student safety.

A wrongful death lawyer in Tampa, FL, such as from Jeff Murphy Law, can provide more insight into a college’s role in a student’s injury or death. Find one in your area who can help you get through this difficult time.

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