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Campus Crackup

Is a state university responsible if I am injured on campus?

We chose your question because injuries on campus are one of the leading reasons students visit the hospital emergency room. Slip and falls, automobiles, and assaults are all causes of on-campus injury.

However, the university is not always legally responsible. Two main factors are: 1) were you injured on university-owned property, and 2) did the university know of a problem and neglect to resolve it, leading to your injury.

The university has a general duty to protect students from foreseeable harm while on campus, says Herrman and Herrman, injury law firm.

Physical conditions in a school, such as slippery floors or unsafe dormitories or classroom buildings, are responsibilities of the university. The school must take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries or accidents.

Injuries can also be caused by staff or other students. The university must ensure your safety with: proper staffing, staff screening and measures taken when incidents do occur.

States across the U.S. have sovereign immunity laws shielding public institutions such as state universities from being sued, except in special circumstances. Sovereign immunity is a legal concept dating back centuries to English common law that held that the king could not be sued, except with the king’s consent.

Rules that apply to filing lawsuits against state universities, vary from state to state. In New Jersey, you have 90 days to notify the State of a pending injury claim. The public agency then has time to respond.

Depending on the state, you may have to prove the university had knowledge that an unsafe condition existed on campus and failed to repair it.

If you are injured, follow these steps to protect your rights: 1) Seek medical attention. 2) Use your phone camera to document your injury and the accident. 3) Speak with a personal injury lawyer to understand your legal options. Keep in mind that special rules apply to lawsuits involving public universities.

Unfortunately, if you are injured on government property, you cannot sue the Republicans.

Jacob Maslow is the founder and editor of Legal Scoops.