Injury claims against schools has risen
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The BBC reports that Kent County Council has paid nearly £700,000 in compensation to school pupils in the past five years, receiving some 20 to 30 claims a year from the schools they insure.
This not only includes those accidents caused by negligence or a malfunction in the physical premises of schools and school grounds, but extends to accidents caused by other pupils.
Bullying, in particular, is a worry for many parents. It is recognised in the case of Bradford-Smart v WestSussexCounty Council  EWCA Civ 07 that a duty of care exists on the part of the school against pupils at risk of harm from other pupils. Not only must they intervene where necessary, but they have a duty of care to warn a pupil against the potential for harm and plan accordingly, as depicted in the case of Webster and Others v Ridgeway Foundation School  EWHC 157. In that case the court referred to the dicta of Auld LJ in Gower v London Borough of Bromley (Court of Appeal) 29th July 1999):-
"A head teacher and teachers have a duty to take such care of pupils in their charges as a careful parent would have in like circumstances, including a duty to take positive steps to protect their well-being."
The article quoted Jonathan Isaby, political director of the Taxpayers' Alliance, expressing concern that this 'compensation culture' had got out of hand. However, as specialists in personal injury and clinical negligence, we can safely say that such cases are not pursued on a whim, and that concrete evidence is needed in order to demonstrate a clear breach of duty attributed to the school.
It is always advisable to seek initial advice from a solicitor with experience in this area, if you feel that you have a claim for damages in situations such as these.
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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org