I wish to make a school injury claim after my son was injured in an accident, how can I make a claim on his behalf?
Making a school injury claim on behalf of a child can be a difficult scenario for a parent to contend with – however it is possible to claim if your child has been the victim of the negligence of a third party. When at school, your child is owed a duty of care from the school in order to ensure that an accident in a school does not occur. While children become involved in accidents frequently, the school is expected to take all measures possible to ensure that an accident does not occur and for this reason your child should not expect to sustain an injury in a school. To help determine negligence and whether your child can claim compensation for a school injury, you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
While your child’s injury could be eligible for a school injury claim, it should be noted that a claim cannot be made by a child until they reach the age of eighteen when they will have two years to make a claim – giving them until their twentieth birthday. However your child may need compensation before then, to pay for medical costs or for educational needs following his injury in a school. For this reason, it is possible for a parent or guardian to seek compensation for a school injury on behalf of the child acting as a “next friend” at any stage between the child’s injury and their eighteenth birthday. Although you may possibly have plentiful time in which to make a claim for an accident in a school, you are advised to make a claim at the earliest opportunity following your child’s accident as memories and evidence can fade in time, decreasing the possibility that your claim will be successful.
Before a parent can represent a school injury claim on behalf of their child as a next friend they must first receive approval from a judge and cannot have a conflict of interest in the claim – for instance, if they have been the negligent party against whom the claim is made. The next friend must also be willing to accept liability should the claim for an accident in a school be unsuccessful, as they could be responsible for potentially substantial litigation costs. If the claim is successful the compensation for a school injury will be paid into court funds, and will not be released until the child turns eighteen years of age. However if funds are required for medical treatment for your child’s injury in a school or for educational needs, some compensation can be released upon application to the court.
As compensation for an accident in a school on behalf of a child will need to be sought through court, you are strongly advised to have a personal injury solicitor represent your claim on your behalf. The procedure may be unfamiliar, and the expertise of a solicitor will greatly ease the process of claiming compensation for a school injury. A solicitor can also advise on whether an offer of compensation for an accident in a school represents a fair settlement and can renegotiate if not. For this reason you should not delay seeking legal advice if you believe you are entitled to make a school injury claim.