Most children are born risk-takers, and the school playground or buzzing classroom presents a ‘perfect storm’ for adventurous little ones, oblivious to the laws of gravity. Grazed knees and bumps to the head are all too common, but when an accident results in a serious injury, parents may wonder how it was allowed to happen and who will cover the mounting medical bills?
A serious injury can have a significant impact on your child’s future prospects and their wellbeing. In some cases, a parent may be able to seek recourse for their child through a compensation claim. Pursuing compensation will involve looking at the circumstances of the accident and establishing the following:
- Duty of Care
To pursue compensation, you must establish that a duty of care existed. Schools owe an implicit duty of care to students while they are at school during school hours or at after school care. It is the responsibility of the school to keep students safe through appropriate teacher supervision in the classroom and on the playground, in addition to maintaining safe grounds and equipment.
Did the school fail in their duty of care? In any compensation claim, the claimant will need to show that an act or omission caused the accident and injury. For example, if the school failed to fix a broken chair and a student is injured as a result this would be negligence. In another example, if a teacher leaves a classroom unsupervised and a student is injured during that time the school may have failed in their duty to keep a student safe and this may constitute negligence.
- The injury was preventable
Children are particularly susceptible to accidents and compensation cannot be pursued for all accidents and injuries that occur at school. When deciding if compensation should be awarded a court will consider whether the injury was preventable. This means that even if an accident occurs in the playground with inadequate teacher supervision, if the injury wasn’t preventable then the school may not be held liable. In order to receive compensation a claimant would have to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that with adequate teacher supervision the injury could have been prevented.
- It wasn’t an obvious risk
Certain activities carry inherent risk or obvious risk. Children can often engage in behaviour that carries an obvious risk. For example, if a child climbs a tree or runs on asphalt, there is an obvious risk of injury. In these circumstances the school may not be held liable. Obvious risk also applies to sporting activities within schools where children take part knowing the risk involved. To claim compensation, it must be shown that the injury was not an obvious risk.
- The facts
If your child has been injured at school, you should take the time to establish the facts surrounding the incident. Speak with your child, other students, teachers and parents if applicable. You should write down or store information you have collected as soon as possible as the facts of the case will be crucial when pursuing a compensation claim. Taking photos of the injury and any equipment or property involved may also be helpful.
Seek legal advice
Pursuing compensation if your child has had an accident at school will require specialist expertise. At Taylor & Scott lawyers our experienced personal injury lawyers bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding to your case. We can help you to establish the facts of your case and collect significant information to help you with your compensation claim. If someone else’s negligence has affected your child, you have a right to be compensated. Ensure you restore their health and wellbeing with appropriate compensation.
Arrange a meeting with us or call today on 1800 651 671
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.