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School Injury Claims

When you send your children to school, you expect them to be kept safe and well, and properly cared for throughout the school day. Once they cross the threshold, it is the school’s responsibility both to educate and look after your children. So if your child suffers a school injury due to negligence or failing to uphold their duty of care, you should be able to make a school injury compensation claim. The same applies if your son or daughter is at a nursery or college.

Making a claim for injuries and accidents at school

According to data from ROSPA, children are most at risk from accidental injury at school during the ages of 10-14, with 40,000 children per year having to visit hospital due to injuries sustained.

Most reasonable people accept that ‘children will be children’ and that they can be accident prone. Children invariably enjoy the usual rough and tumble at lunchtime of playground play and running around in the fresh air. Getting a bump on the head or falling over and getting up with bloodied knees is going to happen at times. Children also get sick: this is part of life.

What’s not a part of life, and therefore not something you should have to put up with, is when your child is injured or made ill at school because of someone else’s negligence or failure to act. And you certainly shouldn’t be out of pocket because of someone else’s fault.

A compensation claim will not just reimburse you for any lost expenses, for the time you’ve had to take off work, or the alternative costs of educating your child with a private tutor because they can’t continue with mainstream education; it will ensure your child receives the support they need throughout their life. Even if the injury is only minor, that doesn’t matter, children are still growing and the impact of the injury might not become apparent until they’re older.

If you believe your child has suffered an injury at school, and it was someone else’s fault, get in touch on 0800 234 6438 or submit your name and number on this page for a callback. We understand how complicated school accident claims can be, and our trained legal advisor will discuss what happened with you to find out more, and put you in touch with a specialist solicitor who will work with you on a no win no fee basis, to secure you the compensation you and your child deserve. All initial calls are free, and there is no obligation to use the services or action the advice offered.

Type of school injuries

Not all injuries at school are caused purely by accident. Parents and children can expect that the school’s sports equipment is safe to use, that the corridor floors are kept clear of tripping hazards and school stairs kept in good repair.

Sometimes, injuries are caused because the school has failed in its duty of care towards its pupils. Accidents at schools may happen as a result of defective school grounds or facilities, a lack of adequate and effective supervision or through using broken equipment. The school should have an accident book in which staff are expected to log details of all accidents that occur, with details of the injuries caused and treatment given.

Some children have illnesses, such as diabetes or asthma that require treatment during the school day. If a child has an asthma attack but their inhaler is not kept in its designated place and the child is injured or dies as a result, the school may well be held responsible. In cases such as these, it is only right that the law allows the child’s parents or carer to make an injury claim on the child’s behalf.

If you would like more information on making a school accident claim, you can speak to a trained legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 or submit your name and number on this page for a callback. All initial calls are free, and there is no obligation to use their services.

DID YOU KNOW: The government has not been collecting any data on child accidents or injuries since 2002 which means we do not know the statistics for school injuries involving children.

The school’s duty of care

Every school has a legal responsibility to manage the risks on their premises, including school playgrounds and fields, fencing and walls and other boundary structures. This means they must take all reasonable steps to ensure children in school are not exposed to an unacceptable risk of harm.

School staff cannot be expected to prevent every possible accident and injury to a child but they must exercise their duty of care to an acceptable standard. This also includes complying with health and safety laws: for example, ensuring food prepared in the school kitchen is properly cooked and allergens clearly marked.

The risks may vary from season to season and schools will be expected to be proactive about managing those risks as they arise. This could mean ensuring Christmas tree light cables do not pose a tripping hazard, placing clear warning signs to exercise caution because of black ice on the playground, and gritting pathways and classroom steps.

If the school has failed to manage these risks in a reasonable way and your child has been injured as a result, you may be able to make a claim.

Can I sue the school if I was injured on school grounds?

Under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957, if you have been injured on school premises, i.e. in a public place, because a school breached their duty of care, and failed to put in place necessary precautions to ensure the reasonable protection of visiting personnel, then yes, you may be eligible to make a compensation claim. The same is true if you’re visiting a college or nursery. To make a claim, you have to be able to prove three things:

  1. The school owed you a duty of care;
  2. They failed in that duty of care; and as a result,
  3. You were injured as a result of that failure.

Can I sue my school for emotional distress?

Yes, you can sue a school for emotional distress, but the success of your case will largely depend on the specific circumstances and the evidence you can provide. Emotional distress claims are complex and require you to demonstrate that someone else’s actions – whether due to negligence or intentional harm – have significantly impacted your emotional state to the extent that it can be considered an injury in itself.

To make a successful claim for emotional distress caused by the school, you need to prove that:

  • The school’s actions or negligence directly led to your emotional distress (causation).
  • Your emotional distress is substantial, rather than minor or fleeting (severity).
  • The school’s actions involved some form of wrongdoing, such as intentional harm or negligence.

Who will be held ultimately responsible?

If you make a school injury claim against the school, the compensation claim will, for all practical purposes, be made against the relevant local authority responsible for the school, or the relevant academy trust under what is known as ‘public liability’ law.

Under public liability law, a person can make a compensation claim for injuries resulting from land or property which is open to the public, which includes school premises. Schools are expected to have public liability insurance in place to insure the risk of a public liability claim for personal injury.

This means you do not need to be concerned that school funds will be depleted if you win compensation for your child because the insurance company will cover the claim.

What to do if a child is injured at school

When your child is injured at school, it’s incredibly distressing for both you and them. Your first priority should be seeking immediate medical treatment. But that’s not all. After ensuring your child receives the necessary care, it’s essential to take the following steps to address the situation effectively and safeguard your child’s rights:

  • Document the injury and incident: As soon as possible, document everything about the incident and the injury. Take photographs of the injuries and the location where the incident occurred, if feasible. Write down a detailed account of what happened, including dates, times, and any witnesses.
  • Notify the school: Inform the school about the injury immediately. Ensure this notification is made in writing (email is a good option for a time-stamped record) so there’s an official record of the incident from your perspective.
  • Request an official report: Ask the school for a copy of the accident report. Schools usually have a protocol for documenting injuries and incidents that occur on their premises. This report can be a key piece of evidence for any future steps you might take.
  • Keep medical records: Save all medical records, receipts, and documentation related to the treatment of your child’s injury. This includes doctor’s notes, hospital visits, prescriptions, and any other relevant medical care documents.
  • Ask for CCTV: If there is CCTV in use at the school, ask for a copy of the incident.
    Monitor your child’s well-being: Keep a close eye on your child’s physical and emotional health following the incident. Some symptoms or effects of an injury may not be immediately apparent. Continued medical check-ups might be necessary.
  • Get in touch with a legal professional: If you believe the injury was due to negligence on the part of the school or any of its staff, consult with a solicitor who specialises in personal injury or educational law. They can advise you on your rights and the potential for a compensation claim.

Taking these steps can help ensure your child recovers fully from their injury and that any negligence is appropriately addressed. Remember, your child’s health and safety are paramount, and there are mechanisms in place to support you in protecting their well-being.

Child injured at school by another child! Not sure what to do?

Discovering that your child has been injured at school by another pupil can be a deeply distressing experience, leaving you feeling concerned and unsure about the best course of action. It’s important to understand that if your child has been harmed in this way, there are steps you can take to address the situation and possibly seek compensation for their injuries.

Firstly, it’s crucial to determine the nature of the incident. Was the injury accidental, or was it the result of an intentional act? In the playground environment, accidents can happen during play, but there are also instances where harm is caused deliberately, e.g. as a result of bullying. The context of the injury significantly affects how the situation should be approached.

As mentioned above, schools have a duty of care to their pupils, which includes protecting them from harm caused by other children. This duty of care means the school must take reasonable steps to prevent bullying and violence among pupils. If your child was injured because the school failed to uphold this duty – perhaps due to inadequate supervision or not addressing known instances of bullying – the school might be liable.

Was the injury caused by negligence or an intentional act?

Identifying whether your child’s injury was a result of negligence or an intentional act is critical. For example, if your child was bullied, leading to physical harm, the school could be considered negligent if it failed to act upon previous reports of bullying. In cases of intentional harm, particularly if the perpetrator is over the age of criminal responsibility (10 years old in the UK), there may also be grounds for criminal proceedings alongside a compensation claim.

If the school is at fault, either through negligence or failure to act on known risks, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. This compensation can cover medical expenses, any psychological treatment required, and for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity your child has experienced.

If you’re unsure about whether you could claim compensation for your child who’s been injured at school by another child, call for free on 0800 234 6438 and speak with a trained legal advisor. Or submit your name and number on this page for a callback. All initial calls are free, and there is no obligation to use the services.

Every child has the right to a safe educational environment. If this has been compromised, taking action can not only help your child but also prevent similar incidents from happening to others in the future.

How to sue for school injuries

Most school injuries are minor, and the majority of parents are likely to take the view that their child had been clumsy or wasn’t paying attention to instructions. However, if your child has suffered a non-minor injury at school which was due to negligence, and you think the school was to blame, you might be able to make a claim for personal injury compensation on behalf of your child.

To make a successful claim, you will have to show that the accident was caused by the school’s negligence or breach of their duty of care towards your child. This means proving, on the balance of probabilities, they breached their duty and this caused your child’s injuries.

If you plan to sue a school after an injury, it is important that your son or daughter sees a doctor – whether at your GP’s surgery or at the hospital – as soon as possible after the accident. This will ensure there are medical notes available from when the injuries were first treated. You should also check with the school that the accident and injuries have been properly logged in the school accident book, and request a copy of the entry.

If possible, it is a good idea to sit your son or daughter down and have them talk you through the incident, including where it happened and how, and who was there at the time. Make a video or voice recording of this if you can and keep it safe as it may be important when a claim is made.

DID YOU KNOW: Information supplied to the BBC by 50 local education authorities in England suggests that school compensation pay outs to children injured in school doubled from £1.65m in 2014 to £3.45m in 2016.

How long do I have to make a compensation claim for school injuries?

As stated in the Limitation Act 1980, in general, you have three years from the date of the incident, or the date you first became aware of the injury, to make a compensation claim. However, for children under the age of 18, this time limit doesn’t start until they turn 18. If you haven’t already claimed on their behalf, they have until they’re 21 to submit a claim.

It is important that you make your school accident claim as soon as possible while events are fresh in people’s minds, particularly for your child. That said, children have until they are 21 years old to make an injury claim, though their parents usually make a claim on their behalf (a child under 18 cannot take legal action on their own).

The problem with a delay in making a claim is that any witnesses may not be so easily located with the passage of time (teachers may move on, etc), your child’s memory may fade and any additional expert medical evidence needed to support the claim may not be as helpful as it would be if obtained early.

For these reasons we suggest you take specialist legal advice early on behalf of your child so that you can start the process of making as strong a claim as possible on their behalf.

If your son or daughter has been injured at school, call a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 about pursuing compensation as early as possible. They work with expert solicitors on a no win no fee basis, which means there is little risk financially to starting a claim.

Accidents on school trips

The school’s duty of care towards your child continues while they are on school trips, even if outside of normal school hours, and it still has a legal obligation to minimise the risk of injuries.

If your child has been injured off the school premises but while under the school’s responsibility, for instance, while on a school trip to a country park or at sports tournament, you can still make a school injury claim.

Making a claim if your child died at school

In the devastating event that your child suffered a non-accidental catastrophic injury, such as a brain injury after a heavy fall off gym equipment or, a fatal asthma attack – you can still make a compensation claim against the school.

You should be able to claim for any pain and suffering your son or daughter endured before they died, their funeral expenses and damages for your bereavement. Your solicitor will be able to guide you with compassion through the claims process.

How much compensation could my child receive for a school injury?

If your child is injured at school, there are two types of compensation your personal injury solicitor is likely to pursue on your behalf: special damages and general damages.

Special damages refer to the actual financial losses you may have incurred or are likely to incur in the future as a result of your child’s injuries. These could potentially include:

  • Private tutoring
  • Home adjustments
  • Prescriptions

General damages refer to your injuries including pain and suffering. Because these types of damages tend to be more subjective, the Judicial College Guidelines outline compensation ranges for specific injuries and their severity. For example:

  • Multiple serious injuries with special damage – Up to £500,000+
  • Facial disfigurement – £29,780 to £97,330
  • Moderate knee injury – £14,840 to £26,190
  • Severe hand injury – Up to £36,740

To find out more about claiming compensation for injuries your child has sustained while at school, or to determine how much compensation your child could be eligible to claim, contact 0800 234 6438 today and speak with experienced, trained legal advisors.

What happens to the compensation your child receives?

If you are successful you can expect to receive compensation to cover your child’s pain and suffering and ‘loss of amenity’. In the case of serious injuries, the compensation amount could be significant, particularly if they have been left disabled or with learning difficulties, or their academic ability has been curtailed. In some cases, compensation will cover vital costs such as further medical treatment, the costs of making alterations to your home and paying for a bigger vehicle if your child is left with mobility problems.

The law requires that your child’s compensation is placed into a special court bank account and held on trust until they reach 18. In the meantime, if you need access to some of the cash to pay medical or rehabilitation costs, and so forth, a personal injury trust fund can be set up. This must be properly administered by suitable trustees – usually including a parent – who can release money for that purpose. Specialist financial advice should be taken and your solicitor can point you in the right direction.

Why make a No Win No Fee injury claim when your child is injured at school

Making a No Win No Fee injury claim when your child has been injured at school is a practical and accessible way for parents to seek compensation without the upfront financial risk typically associated with legal action. With a No Win No Fee agreement, you don’t have to pay any upfront fees to start your claim, making legal support accessible regardless of your financial situation.

This type of agreement means that if your claim is not successful, you won’t be required to pay your solicitor’s fees. This reduces the financial risk involved in seeking justice for your child’s injury, providing peace of mind that you won’t be left out of pocket for attempting to claim compensation.

A No Win No Fee agreement allows you to secure professional legal advice and representation from experienced solicitors who specialise in school injury claims, helping you navigate the complexities of the legal system, advocate on your behalf, and work towards securing the maximum compensation for your child’s injuries. It also ensures that every child, regardless of their family’s financial situation, has the opportunity to receive compensation for injuries caused by negligence or wrongdoing at school.

Additionally, because solicitors know they won’t get paid unless they win, they’re more selective about the cases they take on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if a solicitor agrees to take your case, they believe it has a strong chance of success.

Finally, No Win No Fee claims serve as a deterrent for schools. They encourage educational institutions to uphold high safety standards and take their duty of care seriously to avoid potential legal action.

To find out more about making a school injury claim or to start the ball rolling, get in touch on 0800 234 6438 or submit your name and number on this page for a callback. All initial calls are free, and there is no obligation to use the advice you receive.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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