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Science Lab Accident in Queens Sends 20 Students to Hospital

A science lab experiment gone wrong led to 20 students being sent to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. One student told local news reporters that a student in a science class at Holy Child of Jesus School poured a chemical into aluminum foil while conducting a science experiment. The chemical exploded upon contact, filling the room with smoke.

Students were evacuated as soon as possible, and some were sent to the hospital with a wide variety of symptoms. Some began having a burning sensation in their throats and eyes, others began to vomit, and still others were unable to breathe. Physicians examined the students for eye irritation and chemical and smoke inhalation, among other injuries. All students were eventually released with no serious injuries being reported.

It is unclear at this point what the cause of the accident was, whether it was due to a failure to follow the precise instructions of the chemistry class or whether there was a lack of supervision or proper instruction on the part of the teacher. However, when injuries occur on school premises, there are a lot of different liability issues that the school or the school district opens itself up to.

If you have a child who was injured in an accident at school, you may have the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. You will, however, need to be able to prove that the school was somehow negligent and that this negligence led to the accident and subsequent injury to your child. Every parent should know that the statute of limitations within which to commence an action on behalf of an injured minor against a public school is different than one against a private school.  If you intend to sue a public school, a Notice of Claim must be filed against the municipality and its Board of Education within 90 days of the accident.  Technically, a summons and complaint must then be filed against the Board of Education and the City within one year and 90 days of the accident.  However, the statute of limitations within which to file the summons and complaint is usually tolled until the infant is 18 years old.  A lawsuit against a private school requires no notice of claim.  Lawsuits against private entities in New York State must normally be commenced within 3 years of the accident, but the tolling provisions also apply.  Always consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that you are compliant with strict time limitations.

For more information on these types of issues, consult the dedicated New York personal injury attorneys at Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson today.

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