By Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Your Child’s Health and Safety
Although it will be abundantly obvious to any parent, it should always be remembered that if your child has been injured in any form of accident at school, his or her health and safety is much more important than any potential compensation claim that he or she may have. If the child has been seriously hurt, an ambulance will normally be called immediately by his or her teacher or by another member of staff.
If the injury did not initially seem to be so serious and the child was not taken to hospital by school staff, it is of the utmost importance that you report to the casualty department of the nearest hospital, or, at the very least, make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner. Even if you feel that the injuries are not particularly serious, it is still advisable that you take your child to see a Doctor. Never underestimate peace of mind. The reality is that monetary compensation is no substitute for your child’s health and well-being.
It should be noted further that your child’s attendance at hospital or with your G.P. will be recorded in his or her medical records which may later be used in evidence to support the claim.
Speak to your Solicitor
It is advisable that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible after you have addressed the immediate health and safety concerns. It is advantageous for the case to commence matters as soon as possible. It will make the solicitors work of gathering evidence, including witness statements, less difficult as people’s memories of the incident, for example, will still be fresh (this is particularly pertinent should the witnesses be other children). The procedure for a compensation claim by a minor is that proceedings are, in fact, issued in the name of his or her parent or guardian who acts as his or her ‘next friend’.
Time limits in Children’s Cases
The law affords extra time for a minor victim (i.e. a child) to pursue a compensation claim. Under the Statute of Limitations, which normally limits the plaintiff’s right to claim to two years after ‘the date of knowledge’ of the injury, allowance is made so that in the case of a minor the date of knowledge of the injury is in fact the minor victim’s eighteenth birthday. Time does not begin to run against the injured infant until the infant reaches his or her majority (eighteen years of age).
Under current law, therefore, your child has in two years after his or her eighteenth birthday within which to issue proceedings in court.
- Accidents happen to children at school, but when they are due to the negligence of the school itself you are entitled to make school accident claims for compensation.
- The health of your child takes priority over school accident claims and if the school did not deem the accident serious enough to summon an ambulance, you should still seek medical attention.
- Parents can make school accident claims for compensation on behalf of the injured child, and it is best done sooner rather than later while the events are fresh in people´s memories.
- Each case is unique, so speak with one of our solicitors about how to make the most effective school accident claim to ensure your child receives adequate compensation for their injury.
It is important to note that each case is unique. If your child has been involved in an accident resulting from the negligence of another, such as a school accidents, and you feel that he or she may have a potential school accident claim you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Copyright © 2009-2015 Eoin Campbell
About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose primary professional experience is the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.