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Children are naturally more adventurous and less risk aware than adults, but if your child suffers an accident at school due to a clear breach of the school’s duty of care, as a parent or guardian you are entitled to make an injury at school claim.
The school is legally obliged to take precautions to keep your child safe at all times. The younger your child, the more precautions should be taken.
Your child may suffer an injury or accident at school due to a lack of health and safety measures, whether that’s inadequate supervision or a failure to ensure the safety and suitability of equipment in the classroom or the playground. If that is the case, an accident at school claim is not only possible, it is entirely justified to provide the care and support your child may need and to prevent the same thing happening to other children.
Some of the most common types of accident in school result from slips or trips because of poorly maintained floors or footpaths or defective equipment such as chairs, desks or playground and gym equipment. Injuries are common on the sports field, usually caused by a lack of instruction or supervision and cases of food poisoning can also sometimes arise.
Even when children are on school trips for example, they should still be adequately supervised and kept safe from danger. If your child was injured at school in an accident that was not their fault you are perfectly entitled to make a claim on their behalf.
How do I make a claim about an accident at school
If you think you have a case for making a claim based on a school accident contact Access Legal’s specialist lawyers who can give you initial advice, usually without any cost or obligation to use our services.
Anyone under 18 cannot make a claim themselves and although they are the client, an adult (usually a relative) must act as their litigation friend. Their role is to instruct the solicitor and sign legal documents on behalf of the child.
Seeing your child in any sort of pain is very distressing, so we will investigate the causes of the accident and work with medical experts to establish your child’s immediate needs and fund any medical treatment by interim payments from the other side before the claim has even begun. This also allows us to build a case that accurately values the cost of any current and future support your child might require, which could be life-long and expensive if their injuries are severe.
You should report the accident to a teacher or other person in authority as soon as possible, making sure it is noted in the accident book. Claiming any medical costs and travelling expenses is always easier if you keep any receipts as evidence.
If successful, an award is usually paid into the Court Funds Office, where it is held until the child reaches the age of 18. The money, plus interest, is then released, however it is possible to ask the judge to allow some of the award to be paid straight away if it's needed.
If I have a claim about an accident at school
The key to making a successful accident at school claim is to prove that another person (the nursery or school where the accident happened) was responsible for the injury to your child. Such proof must be convincing, but it is only necessary to persuade a judge that, on the balance of probabilities, your version of events is likelier to be correct.
Accidents at school need careful consideration. Some minor injuries are simply part of a child's natural development as an active, social human being. Litigation should not be your first thought if your child comes home with a few bumps, scrapes and bruises.
If your son or daughter suffers a significant injury which was caused by someone else's negligence you may have a case for making a claim on their behalf. While a child is on the premises (and also when off on school trips) school staff must take the same care of the children in their class as a parent would.
Some school activities do require extra care and attention. Games and PE lessons for example involve a risk of injury so the equipment used should be maintained in good condition and pupils should be given adequate instruction on how to use it safely.
Thousands of school trips pass off safely, but sometimes things can go wrong. If the trip was not properly planned or was reckless or ill advised or the equipment, transport or instruction was inadequate you may have a case to make a claim for an accident at school.
More about accident at school claims
A school has a duty to take care to avoid your child having any sort of accident in school. Clearly, there are some accidents that may be genuinely beyond the school’s ability to prevent but there should always be sufficient staff on duty to properly supervise the activities of the children.
A child is encouraged to be inquisitive both mentally and physically at school, but that inevitably involves an element of risk taking. The instruction, supervision and equipment provided by a school must take into account the age of your child and the dangers of any activities in which they are expected to participate.
There are unavoidable risks in using some playground equipment like climbing frames. No amount of supervision can completely eliminate the risk of a fall, however any equipment should not be too high for the children and the surface under it should cushion a fall.
If your child was injured in these circumstances, an accident at school claim could be made because the school had been negligent in their duty to ensure equipment provided was suitable and safe.
Ordinarily, a personal injury claim by an adult must be brought within three years from the date of the accident. In the case of a child the three year period runs from their 18th birthday. This means an accident at school claim for a child can be made at any time before their 21st birthday. However, it is not advisable to wait until the limitation period is imminent and legal advice should be obtained at the earliest opportunity after the accident.
'You need to have a legal team who are caring, who you absolutely trust and who will tell you the truth. Certainly from our point of view Denise Stephens from Access Legal has been absolutely amazing.'
Our expert and approachable lawyers at Access Legal are very familiar with accident at school claims. We will fight your child’s case with diligence, sensitivity and care for your entire family.Why Access Legal