Payouts for Pupils' Accidents Reach £2.8 Million
A survey of local councils has revealed that almost £3 million was paid out in compensation to children hurt in accidents at school in the year 2008-2009. This figure represents an increase of £1 million on the previous year.
The claims, made against local education authorities, have been for all sorts of accidents. One child at a school in Derbyshire won £35,000 after being injured in a collision during a games lesson. A child who suffered a broken hand, after hitting a piece of wood held in a vice, was awarded compensation of £2,800 by Norfolk County Council. A pupil in Suffolk who broke a tooth as a result of being hit in the face with a calculator received £9,000 in damages.
A poor warm-up session was blamed when a Hertfordshire student was injured during a PE lesson, resulting in a payout of £4,000. A pupil from South East London received £6,000 after tripping over a playground pothole.
Some pupils were compensated for the unlikeliest of accidents. For example, a teacher in West London threw a lolly, which bounced off a desk and hit a pupil who subsequently collected £800 in compensation.
Whilst some will argue that the survey results are further evidence that we are developing a ‘compensation culture’, schools and their employees do have a strict duty of care to their pupils which must be adhered to at all times. A commonsense approach to health and safety issues in schools is necessary so that children are not prevented from developing useful skills. However, neglect on the part of a school, for example a failure to maintain a surface properly, could result in a trip or slip causing an injury that could impact on a child for the rest of his or her life.
If your child is injured in an accident at school, it is important to find out exactly what happened so that you can take appropriate action if necessary.