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School Accident Claims | How To Claim Compensation

By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 6th June 2024. In this guide, we aim to answer the question, ‘My child has been injured at school, who is responsible and could we make a claim?’

Within this guide, we will discuss the duty of care your child is owed while they are at school and the criteria that must be met in order to make an accident at school claim. Furthermore, we will share examples of how accidents in schools could occur. This guide will also explain how compensation is calculated for successful personal injury claims. Finally, this guide concludes by looking at the various benefits of making a claim with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

If your child has been injured at school, and you would like to check whether you could make a personal injury claim on their behalf, you can continue reading this guide. You can also contact our advisors today to receive free advice. They can be reached by:

If you’d like to learn about the key points from this guide, why not check out our video below:

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Who Is Responsible For Child Safety At A School?

While your child is attending school and on school premises, they are owed a duty of care by the school. The school must take reasonable steps and measures to help prevent children attending the school from coming to harm. This could include performing regular risk assessments and regularly maintaining any playground equipment in the schoolyard.

If your child were to be injured in a school accident due to the school not adhering to their duty of care, you may be able to make a personal injury claim on their behalf.

Time Limits For Child Injury Claims

Generally, you have three years to make a personal injury claim, running from the date the accident occurred. This is stated under the Limitation Act 1980

However, those injured under the age of 18 are unable to start their own claim until their 18th birthday. Prior to this date, however, a litigation friend could start the claiming process on their behalf. This is usually someone with the claimant’s best interests in mind, such as a parent or solicitor, for example. If no claim has been started once their 18th birthday arrives, the claimant will have three years to start their own claim from this date.

Other exceptions apply to those lacking the mental capacity to handle their own legal proceedings. To learn what these are, you can contact our advisors.

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How Do Accidents Happen In Schools?

Accidents involving children are incredibly difficult to prevent. It is the nature of children to be unaware of dangers and prone to ill-judged actions. However, this is not to say that the risk of accident cannot be minimised.

Knowing the accidents at school procedures, such as the health and safety regulations, can be very helpful when evaluating a case. In the same regard, knowing how accidents happen at a school can be just as useful when you’re trying to prevent them. If you would like to learn more, we’ve put together a list of the most common accidents at school:

  • Slips, trips, and falls which can be caused by loose handrails or a failure to clear pavement and pathways. Also, defective pavement causing tripping on pavement injuries.
  • Accidents involving play equipment, potentially caused by inadequate supervision or defective equipment.
  • Injuries caused by dangerous school buildings, playgrounds, and walkways.
  • Injuries sustained as a result of unsafe school equipment, such as desks and chairs.
  • Accidents which occur as a result of playing sports in school.
  • Food poisoning caused by improper food preparation or tainted food.

As well as this, we have also seen many cases of a school bus accident injury claim, wherein the bus is the location of the accident. We will cover this in greater detail below. It’s important that the threat to a child’s safety is reduced as much as possible when they are at school. If your child has suffered an injury due to one of the incidents listed above – or any other circumstance – then you may have a legitimate claim for compensation.

An empty swing set in the foreground with a child swinging on a swing in the background.

How To Start A School Accident Compensation Claim

When making an accident at school claim on behalf of your child, you will need to collect evidence that proves the school was liable for the accident, and the extent of your child’s injuries.

Some examples of the evidence that could be collected to support your case include:

  • Any video footage that captured your child’s accident, such as from CCTV.
  • Medical evidence regarding your child’s injuries, such as a copy of their medical records.
  • The contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident so that they can provide a statement later into the claiming process.
  • Photographs of any visible injuries your child suffered, such as cuts or bruises.
  • Evidence of any financial losses you have suffered due to your child’s injuries. For example, if you have required someone to care for your child, a copy of their invoice could be used as evidence.

Contact our advisors today to discuss your case. They may connect you with one of our solicitors who could help you with gathering evidence.

Two schoolchildren stood next to each other

Compensation For School Accident Claims

If you are eligible to make an accident at school claim on behalf of your child, the compensation settlement could include general and special damages.

Following a successful claim, general damages will be awarded to compensate for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by the injury. Those who value general damages for a personal injury claim may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for guidance. This document lists guideline compensation brackets for different types of injuries.

In the table below, we’ve provided some of the figures included in the latest edition of the JCG. Please only use it as guidance. The first entry in the table is not based on the JCG.

InjuryCompensation Bracket
Multiple Severe Injuries + Special DamagesUp to £100,000+
Severe Ankle Injuries£38,210 to £61,090
Less Severe Arm Injury£23,430 to £47,810
Moderate Back Injury (ii)£15,260 to £33,880
Less Serious Leg Injuries (ii)£11,120 to £17,180
Facial Disfigurement - Less Significant Scarring£4,820 to £16,770
Minor Head Injury£2,690 to £15,580
Moderate and Minor Elbow InjuriesUp to £15,370
Clavicle Fracture£6,280 to £14,940
Index Finger Fracture£11,120 to £14,930

If you’re eligible to claim general damages on behalf of a child injured at school, then special damages may also be awarded. This is to compensate for financial losses caused by the injury. However, to claim special damages, you will need to provide evidence of these financial losses, such as bank statements and receipts.

Some examples of what could be claimed for under special damages include:

  • Carer costs for additional care needs, whether carried out by family or a professional.
  • Loss of earnings for time spent off work looking after your child.
  • The cost of accommodation adaptations, such as installing a ramp if your child needs a wheelchair.
  • Travel costs, such as taxi fares or train tickets to attend medical appointments.

You can get in touch with our advisors to learn what compensation for a school accident could be claimed on behalf of your child. Our team can also answer other questions about claiming that you may have, such as when a child is injured at school, who is the responsible party that you could claim against.

What Happens To Compensation Awarded To Children?

When you make a claim for a school accident on behalf of a child, the compensation is not awarded to you. Instead, the Court Funds Office (CFO) creates a trust in which it is held until the child turns eighteen. 

However, you may be able to withdraw funds from this account if they are needed for the child’s benefit. How much compensation you can withdraw is determined by the court after you submit an application and provide evidence for why you need it. For example, if the funds are needed to cover the cost of medical treatment, you may be asked to submit an invoice or a letter from the treatment centre. 

When the child turns eighteen, they can apply for the funds to be released to them. Usually, they’ll receive a letter or an email in the weeks before their birthday explaining the steps they need to take. 

To learn more about claiming compensation on behalf of a child, contact our team today.

No Win No Fee School Accident Claims

One of our solicitors could help you with making an accident at school claim on behalf of your child, provided you meet the correct eligibility requirements. Additionally, they may offer their services to you under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement.

Some of the benefits to making a claim with a solicitor under this arrangement include:

  • Not having to pay your solicitor anything upfront for them to begin working on your case.
  • Not having to pay them for their services while your claim is ongoing.
  • Should your claim fail, you will not pay them for the work they have provided.

Alternatively, should they succeed with your claim, you will pay them a success fee. This is a legally capped percentage deducted from your compensation.

To see if you could be eligible to work with one of our solicitors, you can contact our advisors today. They can also help answer any additional questions you may still have regarding personal injury claims for accidents in schools.

To speak to a member of our team, you can:

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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