The first day of school is fraught with emotion for both children and parents. The gravity of such a milestone often weighs heavily on a parent who leaves their child in the care of someone else for the very first time.
As the years go by, kiss and drop off at the front gate becomes routine. The intense emotions of that first day are long gone, but it doesn’t change the reality that each day your child walks into school you entrust their care and wellbeing to someone else. It goes without saying that parents put a great deal of trust in teachers and schools, so it’s normal to feel angry when your child is injured on their watch. A phone call informing you that your child has been injured at school, naturally, demands an explanation, but what can you do if your child is injured at school?
Who is Responsible?
Schools owe an implicit duty of care to students while they are at school or in the care of the school on an excursion or camp. This means that it is the school’s responsibility to keep your child safe while they are at school, from both physical injury and emotional distress as a result of bullying. It is not only the responsibility of teachers to keep students safe in the classroom and playground, but the school is also responsible for maintaining safe grounds and equipment.
When Can You Make a Claim?
In addition to expensive medical bills, a serious injury at school could have a significant impact on your child’s future and wellbeing. If your child has been injured at school, you may be able to seek recourse through a compensation claim.
In order to make a claim you must prove the school was negligent in their duty of care and as a result your child was injured. For example, a teacher that leaves a classroom unattended may be liable if an accident occurs during that time. If a broken table injures a student, then the school may be held responsible for not maintaining equipment properly.
However, the law does recognise that accidents happen, especially where children and young people are involved, and a claim cannot be made for all injuries sustained at school. In addition to negligence, a court will also consider whether the accident was preventable. This means that even if an accident occurs while a teacher is absent from the classroom, if the accident wasn’t preventable then in some circumstances the school may not be held liable.
A successful claim would have to prove that on the balance of probabilities, the accident could have been prevented with appropriate teacher supervision.
A court may also consider if there was an obvious risk. This means that if the child is engaging in an activity where there is an obvious risk of injury, such as climbing a tree or playing with a stick, then the school may not be held liable. This obvious risk also extends to organised sport within schools, however exceptions do arise in some circumstances so it’s important that you seek appropriate legal advice as soon as possible.
What Should You Do?
The facts surrounding the accident will be very important should you make a claim. Be sure to write them down so you have a clear record including how the accident occurred and how the school responded. It may be helpful to gather notes from your child, teachers and other parents where relevant.
If you feel that your child has been injured at school and someone else could have prevented the accident or indeed caused the accident, then you may be able to make a claim. The circumstances surrounding such a claim can be complex so it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Taylor & Scott we offer a free case assessment where we will be able to advise you of your rights and the best course of action to ensure your child receives the best care and support – contact us today.
What are the most common child accidents in school?
Some kids are natural risk-takers, and it can be difficult to provide adequate supervision at all times, although schools have a duty of care to mitigate risks and hazards wherever possible. The risk of injury is heightened where young people with boundless energy congregate and the most common child accidents at school include:
- Slips, trips and falls indoors, outdoors, in the playground and elsewhere;
- Defective equipment such as poorly maintained gym and playground equipment;
- Sports injuries suffered while engaged in school-supervised activities;
- Injuries involving doors such as finger trapping incidents and being hit by a door;
- Food poisoning caused by inadequate food preparation and service standards.
If risks and hazards are acknowledged, yet the school or supervisor doesn’t act to mitigate them or encourages dangerous behaviour without an adequate standard of care, the school may be liable to pay compensation if an injury occurs.
Can you sue if your child gets hurt at school?
Child injured at school compensation cases can be complex, and every case is judged on its individual merits. Schools have a duty of care toward everyone on the premises, whether in the classroom, in the playground, or while engaged in extracurricular activities under school supervision. If your child suffers a physical injury or psychological injury at school due to the negligence of the school or its representative, you may be able to sue. Strict time limits apply for school accident injury claims, so it’s imperative that you contact Taylor & Scott Lawyers as soon as possible after the incident.
If the accident was caused by the child’s own misbehaviour, for example, by failure to follow instructions or clear behavioural guidelines, it may be harder to establish a personal injury compensation case. Your Taylor & Scott Lawyer will put you in the picture regarding your claim potential and offer the best legal advice available.
What can I do if my child is injured at school?
Personal injury claims are the result of serious injuries resulting in medical expenses. You will need to accurately establish the facts surrounding the accident, write down all relevant details, and collect statements from teachers, witnesses and other relevant parties. Taylor & Scott Lawyers offer a free case assessment and our famous no-win no-fee guarantee where we withhold all client/lawyer fee payments until your compensation claim case is won.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.