The suit was filed last year after an incident which happened at the student’s middle school in October 2017.
While in French class, the student got up to ask her teacher a question. Her hand was resting on the door jamp and she was looking out the window. The teacher then tried to get the attention of the class by slamming the door.
The three middle fingertips of the student’s hand were severed.
The student was airlifted to hospital where she had surgery on her fingers but has still suffered permanent injuries and nerve damage and deformities.
Her family are now suing the Maryland School District for negligence. The case of negligences comes from the teacher not having checked if a student was in the path of the door. The figure of $75,000 is the minimum amount when filing an injury case in Maryland.
There have been many other reports about door finger trapping accidents in schools over the past few years.
Many schools and media outlets describe these incidents as ‘freak accidents’, however, reports show that 600,000 injuries resulting from fingers getting caught in doors occurred between 1999 and 2008 – leading to more than 67,000 amputations. An additional 580,000 injuries were caused by impact with a door or hinge.
While this case, in particular, may from first glance seem like one of those ‘freak accidents’, it can still be argued that not enough precautions were taken to prevent the chances of a door slamming accident from occurring.
Many schools simply rely on the notion that their doors are always supervised at all times, therefore, the chance of a door finger-trapping happening is not possible, however, this method of ‘safeguarding’ is hardly practical nor does it guarantee a finger-trapping accident won’t occur. As this report shows, teachers or other employees simply won’t have ‘I must ensure there’s no one in the way of this door’ before closing it at the forefront of their mind.
The use of hinge guards on doors in educational buildings is important for preventing injuries on the hinge side of a door. When it comes to the handle side of the door, door stoppers are ideal for preventing a door from slamming shut.
Swivel door stoppers are available which ensures that an adult has to turn the door swivel away in order to close the door – making checking the surroundings of the door and ensuring there are no fingers in the way more of a conscientious decision.
If you would like to find out more about the best practices when it comes to preventing door finger-trapping accidents, please give us a call on (904) 962-2688.