Over 220000 Paid in Compensation to School Children Injured in Accidents at SchoolMarch 7, 2013
Following a Freedom of Information Act request East Anglian Daily Times reported that Essex County Council paid £227,137 in compensation and legal fees for claims against them for accidents in schools. This was for a total of 17 successful claims for compensation made in the last five years.
An Essex County Council spokesperson said “Essex County Council takes its health, safety and wellbeing responsibility seriously and is committed to complying with its legal, moral and financial obligations. We insure 500 schools in Essex. When a claim is made it is investigated thoroughly and damages are awarded if Essex County Council has been negligent”.
Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said he was worried about the rise in “compensation culture”. He said: “Tax payers will be astonished at this bill which they are footing. There will be some perfectly legitimate claims because of negligence but, at the end of the day, accidents happen. In recent years there has been a worrying rise in the compensation culture and tax payers should certainly not be footing the bill for cases where a bit of common sense would have avoided the accident”.
Sociology professor Frank Furedi has said “demanding compensation from schools is immoral, because the tax paying public have to cough up the cash.”
Compensation claims arising from accidents in schools will only be successful if the injured child is able to prove that there has been a breach of the duty of care owed to them by the school. If they are unable to prove this then the claim will not be successful. If the injured child has suffered as a result of negligence from the school then they are entitled to claim compensation for their suffering and to obtain funding to pay for any treatment they may require.
The fact that the claims documented in this report were successful demonstrates that there was negligence found on the part of the school and where this is found to be the case the innocent child deserves to be compensated for their injuries and any losses they have sustained.
To some extent the amount of the payments made is irrelevant when considering what is termed the “compensation culture”. What is interesting to note is that there are 500 schools within Essex County Council and in five years there have only been 17 successful compensation claims arising from accidents at school.
Essex County Councillor Julie Young said “Health and safety is an important issue, especially with children at school, and I think some parents will be concerned with these high figures. Parents need to know that they are sending their children to safe schools and it is important the issue of their health and safety is treated seriously and importantly.”
This is very true, parents want to be sure that they are sending their children to a safe environment whilst they are at school, but if things should go wrong and there has been negligence on the part of the school then the parents should be able to claim compensation for their child without being made to feel they are doing something wrong.
If your child has been involved in an accident at school, do contact one of our experienced personal injury solicitors free on 0808 1596 079.