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School liability - Student hit by golf cart driven by school's maintenance employee - Tibia/fibula fracture - Open reduction - Internal fixation.

Pinellas County, FL

The minor plaintiff was 13 years old when he claimed that he was struck from behind by a golf cart which was negligently operated on the property of the defendant School Board of Pinellas County. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff ran into the front of the golf cart in a grassy area which was not intended for students.

The minor plaintiff testified that he was walking to his bus at Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg when the defendant’s golf cart came from behind and struck him, knocking him to the ground. The plaintiff contended that the cart was negligently operated and should not have been utilized for transportation on school grounds where students were present.

The plaintiff sustained a fracture of the tibia and fibula as a result of the incident. He underwent open reduction with internal fixation, as well as a second surgery to remove the orthopedic hardware.

The defendant’s maintenance employee, who was operating the golf cart, testified that the minor plaintiff was running to get on the bus and ran into the left front of the golf cart. A passenger in the golf cart, also an employee of the defendant’s maintenance department, corroborated the driver’s testimony that the boy ran into the golf cart.

The defense argued that the minor plaintiff should not have been in the grassy area where the incident occurred. The defendant also contended that the plaintiff had made a good recovery from his leg fracture.

The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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