Personal Injury Compensation for Pupil Injured Climbing a Fence When Gates to School Premises Were Locked
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Home > News > Accident On School Property Results In Compensation For Injured Pupil

21st July 2008

Accident On School Property Results In Compensation For Injured Pupil

Our client was a senior school pupil who asked our specialist personal injury lawyers to represent her in bringing an accident claim for personal injury compensation, against the school she attended, following an accident at school. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, schools have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their pupils, standing in place of the parent. This means not only ensuring that the pupils are safe during the school day, but that they are provided with a safe route to vacate the school premises at the end of the day.

At this particular school, a system had been implemented which meant that the school gates were locked once the pupils were all inside, and unlocked in time for them to leave. Many of the pupils had to catch buses which were specially arranged for them and which left at specified times. Previous pleas from pupils, when they were aware that their friends were not on board, had been ignored by the drivers. In order to ensure they caught their buses, and were not left stranded, it was vital that pupils were able to leave the school premises promptly at the end of the day. If they found the school gates locked, the only alternative route was at the opposite end of the school premises, and could not be taken in time to catch their buses.

On several occasions, the school gates had not been unlocked by the appointed time. It was known by the defendants that some of the pupils were in the habit of climbing the school fence, as they were concerned that the school bus would not wait for them and they would then have to call parents to come and collect them. Despite being aware of previous instances, the school had made no adequate provision to ensure the gates were opened promptly.

On the day our client suffered her accident at school, she had arrived at the school fence to find the school gates locked, and other pupils already climbing the school fence to catch their buses. She attempted to do the same, but caught her clothing on the top of the fence, lost her balance, slipped and fell, injuring her arm. She was taken to the local A&E department where it was confirmed that she had broken her arm. She was in considerable pain and distress and was in hospital for 3 days following an operation to insert nails to repair the break.

It was several months after the accident at school before our client regained the use of her arm, during which time she was unable to partake fully at school and missed out on school trips, school sports activities and even her year-end assessment, as she could not write. A further operation was necessary to remove the nails and she has been left with permanent scarring from the site of the operations.

The defendants claimed that our client had contributed to the accident in school, in that she should have been responsible for her own safety. They produced evidence that the bus had not left on that day until later than the designated time. However, the judge ruled that it was foreseeable that the pupils would think about how to get out rather than their own safety, or the possible danger in attempting to climb the fence. They (the pupils) believed that the buses would leave without them and it was irrelevant what time the buses actually left on that day.

The judge therefore found for our client with no contributory negligence, and awarded her over £5,000 in public liability compensation.

Compensation Claim

Clear Answers’ lawyers have teams of experts waiting to help you, should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your claim. Whether you were injured as a result of an accident at work, or whether your accident happened in a public place, we specialise in all types of personal injury claims, including slips, trips and falls.

If you or a family member has been injured in these circumstances, you may like to complete one of our online compensation claim forms and one of our representatives will contact as soon as possible. Alternative, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. They will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice, talk you through the claims process in plain English and answer any questions you may have regarding your claim.

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