Parents can claim compensation for playground fights

The parents of a three-year-old child who was attacked by his playmate can claim compensation from the government, a court has ruled.

Jay Jones suffered head injuries and needed stitches after another toddler struck him 11 times on the head with a car jack while the pair were left unattended in a locked car. The incident, which happened in 2007, was only halted when the parents of Jones' attacker's parents heard his screams and returned to the vehicle.

The toddler's mother, Renai Williams, 29, said:

I thought Jay was dead when I saw him first. There was blood everywhere and he was limp and lifeless - it was a sight no mother should ever.

Although Jones' mother reported the assault to police, the attacker could not be prosecuted because he was under ten - the criminal age of responsibility, and therefore the claim must be against the government.

The family appealed through to the Tribunals Service after the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) had rejected their claim. The tribunal has now ruled that Jones qualifies for criminal injuries compensation, which could pave the way for numerous similar claims.

David Kirwan, the solicitor representing the Jones family said:

"It's a landmark decision, there's no previous precedent. It opens the floodgates and I'm quite sure there will be a lot of cases." Mr Kerwan also argued that the age of the perpetrator was irrelevant to the compensation claim.

The ruling could lead to a number of claims by parents for playground attacks. Mr Kerwan added: "Scrapes in the playground shouldn't attract awards. But there have been some serious incidents in the playground and around and about the school, and they have been turned down in the past by the CICA and now it does open the gates for compensation in these cases."

The attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has since been taken into care by local authorities.

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