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Florida family alleges school was negligent in teen's accident

Football isn't exactly the safest sport in the world for teens to play, but it is one that a lot of boys enjoy. When a child plays football for a school team, parents usually expect that the school will make sure that the child isn't subjected to an unsafe environment during practice. One Florida family alleges that an unattended paint striping machine and a delay in getting medical attention have put their son's life in danger.

The family has announced an intent to sue the Hillsborough County School District over the incident, claiming that the team trainer knew of the injury and didn't follow proper protocol for evaluation or medical intervention.

The injury to the teen occurred as he was playing catch with other members of the football team to warm up for drills on Oct. 16, 2013. He wasn't wearing a helmet when he lost his balance, bumped into another player and hit a field striping machine that was left unattended. Security cameras show him holding his head as he walked into the locker room. About 30 minutes later, his car leaves the campus. He was disoriented when his sister found him at home. He was rushed to the hospital and placed in a coma to allow him to begin healing. The doctors had to remove part of his skull. He now requires cognitive and physical therapy, and he has a titanium plate in his head. The brain injury will likely impact him for the rest of his life.

A letter to the school district's attorney serves as notice that the Wharton High School player intents to sue the government entity. The letter is required to be sent six months prior to the lawsuit being filed, according to Florida law.

The state limits damages to $200,000 if it is found that liability falls on the school district. Florida Legislature would need to approve any amount over $200,000 if a jury chooses to award more than that amount.

Anyone who has been injured by unsafe conditions on someone's property might have the right to seek compensation for those injuries. Understanding how to seek compensation and knowing your rights is important if you choose to pursue compensation.

Source: Miami Herald, "High school athlete to sue school after injury" Tamara Lush, Associated Press, Feb. 24, 2014

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