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UK School Injury Claims

In the UK, school injury claims enable you to claim compensation for an injury sustained on school premises if you – as a teacher or visitor – sustains an injury due to the negligence of the school, or if your child suffers an injury in an accident for which they were not to blame. School injury claims for compensation should be made with the assistance of an experienced school injury claims solicitor to ensure you or your child receive the maximum entitlement to compensation and, if you would like to find out more about making school injury claims in the UK, you are invited to call our freephone helpline and speak directly with a solicitor experienced in making school injury compensation claims.

Essex School Fined for Maintenance Worker´s Fall from Height

August 11, 2016

An Essex school has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £1,477 costs for a maintenance worker´s fall from height at a hearing of Chelmsford Crown Court.

Keith Chandler (63) was a member of a maintenance team restoring the Grade II listed Newnum House when, on February 17th2015, he fell 2.6 metres from the roof of a bay window he was helping to repair. As a result of the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Keith suffered five damaged vertebrae a bruised kidney and a hairline fracture of his shoulder.

Despite being able to return to work within six weeks, Keith is still unable to climb ladders or lift heavy loads eighteen months after his maintenance worker´s fall from height. The accident has also had an impact on his personal live. The pain Keith experiences in his back prevents him from enjoying his leisure time playing with his grandchildren.

An investigation into the maintenance worker´s fall from height was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that Keith´s employers – the Brentwood School in Essex, on whose grounds the listed building is located – had breached Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to conduct a risk assessment or install guardrails.

The HSE prosecuted the Brentwood School´s trust – the Brentwood School Charitable Incorporated Organisation – and a hearing to hear the charges was held this week at the Chelmsford Crown Court before Judge Charles Gratwicke.

At the hearing, Judge Gratwicke was told that although health and safety policies existed, they were rarely enforced. The school´s former maintenance manager – Anthony Bridger – told the judge that the policies were difficult to enforce because the maintenance team consisted of tradesmen who were “old school and just wanted to get on with the job in the easiest way”.

Representatives of the Brentwood School acknowledged that the work was not closely supervised and admitted liability for the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Judge Gratwicke fined the school £40,000 and ordered it pay £1,477 costs – commenting that the outcome could have been much more serious if Keith had landed on his head when he fell.

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Family Successful in Swimming Pool Injury Compensation Claim

February 20, 2015

A family from Basildon in Essex is celebrating the success of a swimming pool injury compensation claim that has taken almost fifteen years to resolve.

In 2000, Annie Woodland (now 24) attended the Whitmore Junior School in Basildon as a ten-year-old schoolgirl. Swimming lessons were included as part of the school´s curriculum but, when Annie took part in a lesson at the nearby Gloucester Park Pool, she got into difficulties and nearly drowned.

Annie was pulled from the pool and resuscitated, but she suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and has since suffered from learning difficulties.

Annie´s father – Ian – made a swimming pool injury compensation claim against Essex County Council alleging that swimming teacher Paula Burlinson and the lifeguard on duty Deborah Maxwell had been negligent in the care of his daughter and that the education authority was vicariously liable.

Essex County Council denied it was responsible for Annie´s swimming pool injury and, in 2011, the High Court ruled in the council´s favour. Ian appealed the decision, and took the swimming pool injury compensation claim to the Court of Appeal.

At the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Tomlinson said that finding in Annie´s favour would have “a chilling effect on the willingness of education authorities to provide valuable experiences for their pupils”, and he upheld the High Court´s verdict.

Ian continued his battle for compensation and, in 2012, was successful in his appeal to the Supreme Court – Lord Sumption finding that Essex County Council had a non-delegable duty of care “in the capacity of loco parentis”.

However, the breach in Essex County Council´s duty of care still had to be established, and the case returned to the High Court where Mr Justice Blake was told the circumstances of Annie´s swimming pool accident and the alleged negligence of swimming teacher Paula Burlinson and lifeguard Deborah Maxwell.

Judge Blake found that the two defendants were negligent in their duty of care towards Annie. He said that Paula Burlinson´s failure to notice Annie´s distress “fell below the standard of care reasonably to be reasonably expected of a teacher”, and that Deborah Maxwell “was not paying sufficient attention to users in the water”.

Mr Justice Blake adjourned the swimming pool injury compensation claim in order that an assessment of Annie´s future needs can be carried out. When the assessment is completed, the judge will determine how much compensation for a swimming pool injury Annie will be entitled to receive.

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£180,000 Paid in Compensation for Teacher Accidents in Scottish Schools

December 29, 2014

More than £180,000 was paid in compensation for teacher accidents in Scottish schools during 2013/14 according to figures from the Educational Institute of Scotland.

The figures revealed that settlements of compensation for teacher accidents in Scottish schools included £50,000 for a teacher who suffered a severe head injury as a consequence of slipping and falling on ice in a playground, and £25,000 for a teacher who badly broke his ankle when tripping and falling on school grounds.

Commenting on the figures, Larry Flanagan – the General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland – said: “Compensation payments are made because some employers continue to fail to protect their staff from avoidable workplace injuries. These can often be avoided by effective risk assessment and correct adherence to simple health and safety procedures.”

Mr Flanagan was also scathing about the role of insurance companies in paying compensation for teacher accidents in Scotland. He commented: “The total compensation bill would decline dramatically if insurance companies admitted liability earlier thereby avoiding the accrual of unnecessary medical and legal bills”.

A spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities argued that teaching in Scotland is a safe profession and that local authorities take the well-being of staff seriously. He noted that there are over 50,000 teachers and over 700,000 pupils in school and pre-school in Scotland and accidents will occasionally take place.

It has also become harder for injured employees to claim compensation for teacher accidents since changes were made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act. Whereas previously a conviction by the Health and Safety Executive for a breach of Health and Safety regulations would make an employer liable in a civil acclaim for compensation, injured teachers now have to prove that their employer´s negligence was the cause of their injury.

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Compensation for Slipping on Ice at Work Awarded to School Janitor

August 27, 2013

A sixty-one year old man has been awarded £30,000 compensation for slipping on ice at work after the injuries he sustained forced him to give up work as a school janitor.

Stephen McKeown from Port Glasgow in Inverclyde sustained his injuries in November 2010 after he had been asked to cover the holiday of the regular janitor at St Francis´ Primary School in Port Glasgow, rather than work at nearby St Stephen´s High School where he usually worked.

Having arrived at St Francis´ Primary School at 7.00am, Stephen began salting the playgrounds and the paths leading to the classrooms by hand as he had done on icy days for the past eighteen year; and, as lessons began at 9.00am, Stephen moved onto other areas of the school that had a lower priority.

During the first break between lessons, he was told by two pupils if a condom that had been discarded on one of the classroom fire escapes and, as he was ascending the steps of the fire escape, he slipped on an icy step and fell – injuring his leg and damaging his back.

As he was unable to continue his job as a janitor due to his injuries, Inverclyde Council – Stephen´s employers – terminated his work contract in November 2011.

Stephen made a compensation claim for slipping on ice at work – a claim which has denied by Inverclyde Council on the grounds that they had a system of work in place for clearing icy paths and steps which – they claimed – Stephen had failed to follow.

Nonetheless, Stephen pursued his claim for compensation for slipping on ice at work and, last week at the Court of Session Outer House, Lord Burns found that Inverclyde Council were in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Lord Burns found that Inverclyde Council´s safe system of work existed only on paper, and had never been put into practice. Criticising the council for failing to advise Stephen of the safest system of work or tell him that work equipment was available that could have prevented his accident, Lord Burns awarded Stephen £30,000 compensation for slipping on ice at work.

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Childrens School Injuries Cost Councils in Wales £800,000 over Five Years

August 20, 2013

A BBC news item has reported that childrens school injuries cost councils in Wales more than £800,000 in compensation settlements between 2008 and 2013.

According to the news item – compiled under a Freedom of Information request – more than three hundred compensation claims for childrens school injuries were made during the five-year period; mostly after minor accidents such as slips and trips, or caused by defective school equipment, but some related to serious injuries which each resulted in compensation settlements in excess of £10,000.

The highest individual settlements of claims for childrens school injuries occurred in Newport – where £248,131 was paid out over 44 claims (the education authority in Rhondda Cynon Taf paid the highest average compensation settlement – £18,993) – and the highest number of claims over the five-year period were made in Cardiff – where 74 successful claims were made against the education authority.

One of the mothers of a child injured in an accident at school appeared in the BBC report. She retold the story of how her son – Isaac Bingham from Shotton in Flintshire – received an eye injury when a faulty gate hit him in the face. Mrs Bingham told reporters that she felt she had to make a compensation claim before the school would repair or remove the hazard that hurt her son.

A spokesman for the local education authorities said that parents were influenced to make claims for childrens school injuries by the advertising of “No Win, No Fee” solicitors; however Policy Officer for the teacher´s union NUT Cymru – Owen Hathway – argued that if local councils in Wales invested more to make schools safer for children, there would be fewer preventable accidents.

UK Personal Injuries Footnote: Isaac Bingham´s £1,800 settlement of compensation for the injury he sustained at school was first approved by a judge – as are all settlements of compensation for childrens school injuries – before being placed into a trust which Isaac will be able to access when he turns eighteen years of age.

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Smaller Compensation Claims for Personal Injuries to be Settled Quicker

August 5, 2013

Smaller compensation claims for personal injuries are to be settled quicker following reforms introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act which came into place on 1st August 2013.

The new Civil Procedure Rules governing court action in England and Wales have been amended in order to reduce the time it takes to settle personal injury claims with a value of up to £25,000 when a single party is responsible for an injury occurring and liability is admitted by their insurance company.

Not all compensation claims for personal injuries fall under the new rules – for example, claims for medical negligence still have to go through a lengthy process – but most claims for personal injuries in road traffic accidents, personal injuries sustained in an accident at work and those acquired in a place of public access (public liability claims) should be settled up to three months quicker than previously.

The reforms are being applied to the Ministry of Justice´s “claims portal” – a database on which solicitors register their clients´ claims – and whereas previously insurance companies could take twenty-one days to acknowledge receipt of a solicitor´s “Letter of Claim”, they now have to act within 24 hours.

Furthermore, insurance companies could previously take 90 days before informing a solicitor whether or not they accepted their policyholder´s responsibility for an accident and injury. They are now allowed only 30 days in the case of claims for personal injuries in road traffic accidents and public liability claims, and 40 days when a claimant has suffered an injury at work due to their employer´s negligence.

Should insurance companies fail to adhere to the new regulations, the claim will be removed from the Ministry of Justice´s claims portal and any increase in costs will have to be assumed by the insurance company irrespective of whether they successfully defend the claim or not.

The new rules apply to compensation claims for personal injuries in which an injury has been diagnosed on or after the 1st August, and only apply to injuries sustained in England and Wales that the claimant was not partly responsible for due to their own lack of care. Further exclusions apply to the reforms applied to compensation claims for personal injuries and therefore it is always in your best interests to discuss the nature of your accident and injury with a solicitor at the first moment possible.

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Teachers Work Injury Claims Settlements Exceed £25 Million in 2012

April 3, 2013

Figures released by the UK´s largest teaching unions indicate that the value of teachers work injury claims settlements paid in 2012 exceeded £25 million.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) announced that they recovered £19.9 million in compensation for teachers injured at school, while the National Union of Teachers (NUT) did not reveal an overall figures obtained for its members, but who were responsible for the largest individual settlement – a teacher from the north-east being awarded £382,930 after his arm was crushed by a filing cabinet drawer.

Other individual teachers work injury claims settlements included:-

  • An award of £279,381 to a teacher who suffered a back injury and psychological trauma when she fell from a minibus due to an autistic pupil jumping on her.
  • A settlement of £240,000 to a technology teacher who developed sinus problems due to working in a poorly ventilated workshop.
  • A payment of £66,291 to a teacher from Northern Ireland, who slipped on a patch of moss and broke her leg in two places and dislocated her ankle.

Commenting on the amount of compensation paid to teachers for injuries at work, NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Behind every one of these cases is a person who has been damaged physically or mentally. The distress and pressure of the incident to the individual teacher and their family has often been compounded by years of legal action and court proceedings before any award is made. While compensation is important, it can never make up for the fact that many of these teachers suffer permanent physical and mental injury and often cannot continue in their chosen career.”

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School Injury Compensation for Accident

April 13, 2011

An eight-year-old boy who lost the tip of his middle finger is to receive 24,000 Euros for school injury compensation for an accident in a school.

Circuit Court president, Mr. Justice Matthew Deery, heard how Benjamin Schonfeld was just 6 years of age when he caught his finger in a doorat St. Killian’s German School in January 2009.

Benjamin lost around 4mm from the tip of his left middle finger, and his injury lead to a subsequent hooked nail deformity.

Suing the school through his father, Heino, the judge heard that a school injury compensation settlement assessment had been made by the Injuries Board Ireland which both parties accepted.

In approving the school injury compensation assessment of 23,000 Euros with a further 1,041 Euros costs, Mr. Justice Matthew Deery directed the school to pay the settlement into court for Benjamin’s benefit.

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