All schools have a legal duty of care towards their staff and students. Regardless of the legalities, most school authorities do take the utmost care to make sure that their premises are as safe as possible for their students, teachers, and parents. For parents, their child’s safety at school takes precedence over all else. If your child is injured in an accident at school because the school failed in their duty of care, you may have legal grounds to make a school accident claim for compensation for your child’s injuries.
What Types Of Accidents At School Could You Claim Compensation For?
You can file a school accident claim for any accident that resulted in your child getting ill or injured, provided that the accident was caused by the school’s negligence.
Due to their curious nature and lack of maturity, children are more prone to getting injured while going about their various activities. If your child was injured after bumping into another child in the class or while running round on the playground that may not be sufficient grounds to file a compensation claim.
These are some of the more common school-related accidents that may warrant a compensation claim.
Accidents On The School Playground
Accidents on the school playground are the most common cause of injuries that children suffer while at school. Not all of these injuries can be attributed to the school’s negligence. If your child was injured in an accidental fall while playing with friends that would typically be considered a genuine accident, with no one in particular at fault. However, if the injury was caused because of faulty or ill-maintained playground equipment or fixtures that do not have any safety measures in place, those are likely to be solid grounds to file an accident claim against the school for negligence.
Allowing children to use playground equipment that is not appropriate for their age is also considered as negligence.
Faulty Or Unsafe Equipment In The Classroom
Regular maintenance of equipment is paramount in a school environment. Furniture that is wobbly, frayed, or has sharp edges are all potential causes for accidents. If your child was cut by a frayed or sharp edge of a desk, or because their chair gave way, it could constitute negligence on part of the school, and you may be able to file a school accident claim for compensation.
Laboratories are another common setting for accidents among older children. You may be able to file a claim if your child was allowed to use laboratory equipment or chemicals that were not appropriate for their age. Allowing students to use the laboratory unsupervised is also a breach of a school’s legal duty of care.
Trips, Slips, Falls Within The School’s Premises
You may also be able to claim compensation if your child was injured in a trip, slip and fall accident caused due to a broken path that had been left unsafe to use, wet flooring, slippery staircase or slippery bathroom tiles.
Sports related Accidents At School
Students who participate in fast-paced sports such as basketball and football are more prone to suffering from more serious injuries. While the risks inherent in sporting activities cannot be eliminated completely, schools can take proper precautions to minimise these risks by hiring qualified coaches, providing proper training to players and also providing players with the appropriate protective equipment. Failure to do any of these can be considered negligence.
Did your child fall ill after eating lunch in the school canteen? Food that is under-cooked or not properly stored is the most common causes of food poisoning. Usually, in the case of poorly prepared food, several children will get ill. However, even if your child was the only one to fall ill after eating the school food, you should explore the possibility of filing a school accident claim if the doctor diagnoses it as food poisoning.
Accidents On School Trips
Children tend to be more boisterous and adventurous on school trips. Schools must anticipate this and make sure there are enough responsible adults accompanying the children on any school trip. In the case of any accident that happens on a school trip, a lot of factors can go into determining fault.
Who Can Make A School Accident Claim?
It is safe to say that most school children who are injured in accidents are minors and cannot make a school accident claim themselves. They need an adult to file a claim on their behalf. This adult could be the child’s parent, guardian or a relative, often known as a litigation friend.
Understanding The Statute Of Limitations In School Accident Claims
The statute of limitations in school accident claims is slightly different to the time limit on other personal injury compensation claims. There are two aspects to consider here:
- If you qualify to pursue a compensation claim on a school student’s behalf, you can do this up until the student turns 18 years of age.
- If no case is filed by the time the injured student turns 18, the student can pursue the school accident claim themselves. In this case, the 3-year statute of limitations begins on their 18th birthday and the claim must be filed before their 21st birthday.
How To Start A School Accident Claim
Sometimes, it is difficult to determine whether or not you are eligible to claim compensation for a school accident. If you find yourself in that position, the best way to find out about your legal rights is by consulting an experienced personal injury solicitor. They can give you the best advice on how to proceed after listening to the details of the accident which can done so through a free pone consultation at no cost at all to you.
If your claim has merit, the solicitor will almost certainly agree to help you pursue the school accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis, which essentially states that you do not have pay any legal expenses until you’ve been awarded compensation. If we file your claim you will only pay a fee (a set percentage of the compensation awarded) once the claim is won and compensation has been received, and you will pay nothing at all if the claim is lost.
Once both parties have agreed to begin the claim, the solicitor will put together all relevant documentation and evidence that is necessary to file a successful claim. They will also liaise with the school and any other party involved in the incident so that the injured child is not exposed to any unnecessary stress during the school accident claims process.