Claiming Compensation Against a School

Schools are meant to be a safe place, but with so many children running around, accidents are common.  Much of the time it is indeed the child’s fault – running when told not to, or using school equipment against teacher instructions.

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However, schools have a high duty of care towards students, as well as others (for example parents) who enter school premises.  If you or your child suffer an injury on school premises and the accident is the fault of the school, then you may have a claim for personal injury compensation.

What type of accidents happen can I claim compensation for?

A school has a duty to ensure adequate supervision of students and that the school is safe and free from danger. Sometimes accidents happen which are nobody’s fault, but a school is obliged to make risk assessments, to check that all dangerous equipment is carefully locked away, to ensure all playgrounds and footpaths on the premises are safely repaired and safe to play on.  The food served in the school canteen must be kept hygienically.  Furthermore, it is accepted that children need to be looked after more than adults, and that they are likely to be enticed by danger.  Therefore, if there is a tree in the school grounds which children are likely to climb and hurt themselves, the school will have a duty to ensure there is a climb-proof fence around it.

What do I do if I have an accident in a school?

You must prove the accident was the fault of the school.  It is therefore important to get statements from any witnesses who saw the accident, or who saw the danger (for example, people who knew the floor was slippery or the chemical cupboards were unlocked).

If possible, you should take photographs of the accident scene, especially if it was caused by anything broken, such as paving stones.  You should also report the accident to the headteacher, who will log the accident and will be obliged to follow a strict accident procedure.

Can I claim financial compensation against the school?

If the school is a private school your claim is made against the school or the school trust.  If the school is state-owned then you will need to claim against the local council which owns the school.

You will need to quantify any claim for damages.  For example, if you incur any expenses, such as medical fees or transport costs to the hospital, you should keep all receipts so you can claim expenses later.  Your injuries may mean you lose earnings through loss of work or business contracts, and you may be able to claim for these expenses too.

The procedure can be intimidating and time-consuming.  You may need to instruct medico-legal experts to quantify the value of anticipated future expenses, and medical experts to assess the extent of your injuries.  Contact us at Manners Pimblett and our personal injury specialists will help you get the compensation you deserve.

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