Many schools and child care centers devote large rooms to multiple purposes, including cafeteria and gymnasiums. These multi-use rooms often have large pieces of folding equipment attached to their walls. Most such equipment has reliable devices for holding them in place, but the failure of a hook or clamp can have disastrous results. An early childhood center in Poplar Bluff was the scene of such an accident on February 1, 2019 when a large table fell on and killed a four-year-old student.
The incident occurred in a large room that doubled as the school’s cafeteria and physical education class room. According to witnesses, the child pushed a bench into a wall-mounted table. The table broke loose from its latch and fell on the child. According to an autopsy performed the next day, the child died from injuries consistent with the witnesses’ description of the incident. The child was given CPR by the school nurse and then transported to a nearby hospital. The child died at the hospital.
According to personnel for the school district, all tables of the type involved in this incident have two safety handles that can only be released with a key. According to the school superintendent, both safety latches on the involved table were properly engaged. The school district is inspecting all similar tabled to ensure that the safety latches are properly engaged.
Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to explore the possibility of pursuing a legal claim for damages based on premises liability. A conference with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide a helpful evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.