should I claim against the school after a childs brain injury

(103 Posts)
shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 12:43:55

My dilema is that my son has been left with permanent double vision after a friend demonstrated a wwe move on in 4 years ago which put him in hospital. He has had double vision on and off ever since, but on the 9th September just gone his single vision just went on him and he has had double vision ever since. He has been seen at Morfields and we were told that he has this for live and nothing can correct it. He has since gone on to secondary school since the injury but the primary school know all about it. This injury was done in the dinner line. I have been back for a second hospital appointment and I was told one again that it could not be corrected and that the double vision stems from a brain injury most certainly caused by the trauma to his neck. The problem is my daghter still goes to the school, and I have always supported the school. I am not sure what to do, obviously this double vision has had a dramatic effect on him, he can only read 36 font size and now writes like an infant, so I need to try and sort a statement for him or laptop. We might have to consider a school that specialises with sight loss.

noblegiraffe Sat 16-Feb-13 12:54:03

That sounds awful. However, can't you only claim against the school if they were negligent?

LIZS Sat 16-Feb-13 12:57:17

Suspect it wodul depends on the circumstances and how well documented the injury was at the time, the prognosis and the subsequent problems. Do you have any neurological evidence, scans etc for example ?

Tee2072 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:57:49

That was hardly the school's fault, was it? If you must sue someone, sue the little boy who hurt your boy.

Or accept that accidents happen and just sort the help your son needs.

BlueberryHill Sat 16-Feb-13 12:58:26

Go to a solicitor to see if you have a case, you can then decide if you do want to proceed.

Oh shequeen that is horrible, your poor DS. I am sorry I don't know about the legal thing, as noble says were the school negligent? Do the other child's parents know what happened? sad

BlueberryHill Sat 16-Feb-13 13:00:19

Tee072, the problem is that the boys parents are unlikely to have the cash or that a child of primary school age will be held responsible. I think the issue is likely to be around whether or not the school breached a duty of care towards your children, how good the playground supervision was, had there been instances before which hadn't been dealt with etc.

It doesn't sound like an accident Tee, sounds like the other boy shouldn't have been showing off his WWE moves.

DoctorAnge Sat 16-Feb-13 13:01:46

That is awful sad

Are the parents of this boy aware of what he did? How old we're they?

Melpomene Sat 16-Feb-13 13:03:10

Yes, you can only claim if you can show that the school were negligent - for example, if the boys had been wrestling in an inappropriate way for a significant amount of time and the school staff had done nothing to stop them. If the wrestling move was more of a 'one off' / sudden incident that happened in a flash it wouldn't be negligence on the school's part. If the school made any sort of apology at the time, or changed their policies in response to the accident, it could strengthen your case.

If you think there is a possibility the school was negligent then get proper legal advice.

The school will have insurance to cover claims so the fact that you support the school or your daughter goes there shouldn't mean you can't claim if they genuinely were negligent.

christinecagney Sat 16-Feb-13 13:04:36

AFAIK you can't sue the child but you can sue the school for inadequate supervision though depending on the circumstances you may not get very far. Is the school an academy or an LA one? The LA will deal with the case if it's an LA school. Make sure you use a good solicitor though, lots of no win no fee type people take advantage of parents in this situation.

FWIW I think you should sue or a least investigate the possibility: that's a terrible injury your son has suffered.

CoffeeandDunkingBiscuits Sat 16-Feb-13 13:07:22

Your poor ds. sad

Delayingtactic Sat 16-Feb-13 13:10:03

I am so sorry. My sister lost most of her vision in one eye and lives with permanent altered vision and has learnt coping mechanisms and now you wouldn't even guess.

But I don't understand why you want to sue the school? Yes this boy shouldn't have been showing off his moves but it was a terribly tragic accident and no-ones to blame. It probably happened in an instant and of they told you about it, have supported him since and made sure that supervision is adequate I'm not sure what you're hoping to gain.

Floggingmolly Sat 16-Feb-13 13:12:24

If it had happened in your own home on a playdate, who would you consider responsible? Just because it happened on school premises doesn't mean the school could in any way have prevented it.

I'm sure you've looked in to it, but just in case; DP was left with awful, permanent double vision after eye problems due to boxing, the eye hospital have made him glasses with a prism in the lenses to help him focus, could this help at all with your DS? He still gets double vision when very tired, but generally it almost completely clears it. Sorry if this is no use.

NorthernNobody Sat 16-Feb-13 13:23:11

No amount of money will give him his sight back. The legal proceedings will put you in an antagonistic role which will affect your emotional well being for the duration. Unless you have a belief that the school were negligent I'd question if this was going to give you a good outcome.

That's very true Northern.

I don't know how you come to terms with a moment of childish madness in the lunch line ruining your child's sight for life. i think I would explode with bitterness.

christinecagney Sat 16-Feb-13 13:25:42

Sorry I meant 'could' not 'should', above,,,,auto correct .

DeepRedBetty Sat 16-Feb-13 13:27:41

Talk to a reputable firm of solicitors - NOT no-win no-fee ambulance chasers.

Fallenangle Sat 16-Feb-13 13:40:39

The school's insurers will look at the case and decide whether
1) to contest the case i.e whether they have a good chance of winning and recovering their costs from you
2) offer to settle out of court.

In deciding this they will look at what happened, where it happened, who saw it etc to make up their minds as to whether or not someone was negligent. Even if they have a quite strong defence they may offer to settle to avoid court. Be careful about hidden fees or insurance with ambulance chasers.

Fallenangle Sat 16-Feb-13 14:01:51

I just reread your original post OP.Can I ask if you think the staff at the school were negligent and i

I agree with what Northern said.

HecateWhoopass Sat 16-Feb-13 14:06:58

your poor son. I'm so sorry.

re suing - how were the school negligent? could it have been foreseen and prevented? Did they see it happening and fail to act, despite having been able to if they had wanted?

Was it their fault, or was it a dreadful accident that nobody could have predicted?

If the child had a history of springing those moves on people, and the school knew that and did nothing, then perhaps.

Narked Sat 16-Feb-13 14:11:20

Talk to a decent solicitor.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:27

Do you have any children or are you a head teacher

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 20:57:58

Yes I have it in writing from Morfields eye hospital.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:21

Yes they do, but my dilema is the child is my sons friend. Also I have always and still support thes school. It is a well know fact that this happened all the school staff were aware of this. I wrote a letter recently to the head and handed it to him. I told him I just wanted him to know the facts about the outcome. He said he was very sorry. I WISH i WAS A RIGHT BITCH then I would not give a damn about who this caused a problem to

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:07:40

All the staff and a lot of the parents knew about this, I do not know if it was logged as an accident or not, however the head teacher said of course he remembers and e is so sorry. I do not know if I can do this to the school.

memberofthestowmassiv Sat 16-Feb-13 21:15:42

It MUST have been logged as an accident if the outcome was so severe that your poor DS's sight has been damaged. Ask to look at the paperwork related to the incident to see how it was documented and to get a better picture of what exactly happened. It's tragic, and I feel for you, but if it was a genuine accident then suing anyone is not the way to go.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:16:39

This happened in the dinner line. The boy who is a friend said he wanted to show James the move (unfortunatley he is literally twice his size) you put your elbow in the backi of the neck and then yank the persons head back, bt unfortunately another friend fell on top of him and James had the whole impact of them both on his neck as he hit the ground. He was admitted to hospital had two mri's and was on a walking frame for 6 weeks. It took 6 months to get him discharged from hospital

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:17:49

Thanks for your advice. Any ideas what the way to go might be.

Is it worth you starting a thread in Legal Matters on here shequeen? You may get advice from some more knowledgable about such things.

I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this. You must be heartbroken.x

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:21:07

Thanks for your help.unfortunately James has double vision all the time and always will. No surgeryor eye exercises can help

Hassled Sat 16-Feb-13 21:22:40

The school does have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of its pupils while on site. You would have to prove (I think - not a lawyer) that they were negligent in that duty of care - i.e. that there was something they could/should have done to prevent it happening.

I agree you need proper legal advice. One thing I wouldn't do, though, is worry about coming across as a bitch/antagonistic towards the school. They should be covered by insurance, usually through the Local Authority. Any award you get won't come directly out of the school budget.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 21:23:43

What an awful situation for your son. How old we're they when it happened?

I have no idea whether you can claim against the school. I would however imagine you could make a claim for DLA if you haven't already.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:24:11

You know, I think this is the kind of case where I would sue.

I have no idea whether the school are negligent in any way, but the damage done to your son is serious and permanent. It will affect his life for the rest of his life. Everything he does in life will now be different from the type of life he would have lived had this not happened.

All schools are insured, and it is the insurance company who would be paying out, not the individual staff member or the boy, who may well just have been "messing". That is why we pay insurance.

A lump sum from a court case could give your son the type of financial help he needs to pay for extras he needs - from computers, to hospital treatment, to help with transport (he presumably will never drive).

I am in general anti suing for anything. Accidents happen, and I think it is disgusting that people sue for sprained wrists or tiny scars, or anything that is accidental and fixable.

But in your case, it is very, very different. You owe it to your son to try to narrow the gap between what his life will be and what it would have been - and money will really help with that.

For those who say "don't sue" - would you if it was a car accident? Of course you would. Cars are insured, schools are insured, pupils are insured.

Find a good solicitor and talk to them. Obviously you may not have a case, but you might.

I wish you all the best.

For the second time tonight, I am typing I agree with Maryz.

Virgil Sat 16-Feb-13 21:26:21

If you're going to look at suing then you need to act quickly since the limitation period for personal injury is three years. After that time you're too late. Sounds like you might already be out of time but you should check.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:26:27

Yes I am heartbroken. I registered with mymsnet today and was not sure where to pu my messgage. I'm sure I have posted this on the wrong board but I would like to thank everyone for the amazing response to my sons problem.

garlicbreeze Sat 16-Feb-13 21:27:23

Oh, the poor child sad You must have been through hell. I imagine everyone who was involved feels bad. It's still you and your family who've got to deal with the outcomes, though. My sympathies.

If you want to investigate legal redress, do please talk to a good solicitor with a specialism in the area. I agree the firms that advertise on TV are likely to make your life worse rather than better. Suing the school will, of course, ruin your ongoing relationship with it but, if your advice says you have a rock-solid case, it could be worth the sacrifice. It will, however, cause you a lot of stress on top of your existing problems.

I've got say it sounds more like a terrible accident than negligence, but I'm not the expert. Ask for a copy of the school's records and get proper advice.

Wishing DS as much patience, good humour and initiative as he needs smile

BOF Sat 16-Feb-13 21:29:01

I have to agree with Northern. It's shit, and I really sympathise with how awful this is, but it will suck so much of your energy trying to prove the school was negligent, which is by no means certain, when you need it all for supporting your son.

I am very very sorry for your situation though.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 21:29:01

There is a legal matters section you could post there to or you could click on report post at the top of your message and ask for the thread to be moved to legal matters.

You must be feeling every possible emotion shequeen. This has gone on for 4 years and you have now been told it's for life, that's a shock and a lot to take in.

Are you managing day to day with stuff you need to do and your DD? Do you have family support?

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:31:10

Virgil, I'm not sure that is true.

Here (Ireland) it is up to three years after the child turns 18 in the case of a child.

But it is certainly worth checking so you don't leave it too late.

Thanks Sparkling [preens]

I don't believe suing the school or the child need necessarily ruin your relationship with either. If it was my son who had caused such an injury (even though it was a complete accident) and I thought that the friend suing and getting money from the school insurance company would make his life easier I would back him all the way.

BlueberryHill Sat 16-Feb-13 21:33:28

I agree with Maryz, in everything that she says. Find a good solicitor, see what your options are, at least then you know if you have a case and need to make any decisions. It is very easy to say, but treat the legal case objectively, it isn't personal with the school or the teachers it is just about getting some help for your son.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:36:46

The school will have insurance so its not personal. The thing is, do you genuinely believe the school to be at fault? I mean, even the little boy who did this wasn't at fault was he, really? He wasn't trying to hurt your lad.
The only reason i say that is i am not sure if you have a case, but im not a lawyer so i dont know. I would definately try and get legal advice from a reputable firm and see what they say. It wont be straight forward and it may take years, but if the money will help your son then i think you should at least investigate the possibility of it.

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 21:37:17

Limitation for a child is three years after their eighteenth birthday, not three years after the incident.

I'm really sorry op but I think you will really really struggle to establish negligence based on what you have said here. By all means get some advice from a local solicitor who is accredited by APIL. Headway may be able to offer some assistance too. But it sounds very dicey to me.

By the way virtually ALL solicitors acting in personal injury/clinical negligence cases act on no win no fee agreements. Doing so does not make someone an ambulance chaser.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:39:05

I am finding it really hard but I am a hypnotherapist so I am trying tgi dea with this and also trying to make sure my some is dealing with it, but I am devasted. I just can't believe that this freak accident could have happened. I lost my first son due to medical neglience so this really has hit me hard, but it snot about me. Jame's only saving grace is he plays lead guitar in a band. He was 14 a couple of weeks go. It is his normality he tells me, when we gets sent home from school he picks up the guitar. His sister then posts it on you tube. What ever makes him happy. Apparentl worse things happen at sea.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:40:04

can i just say, kindly, OP that you have mentioned yoru sons name on this thread - I assume that you wish to keep yourself private, it may be worth asking mnet to delete any posts that may identify you - just click on report and ask them to delete it.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:40:36

Thank you for your advice

BlueberryHill Sat 16-Feb-13 21:40:43

I also don't agree that suing the school will ruin your relationship with it. The LEAs solicitors will deal with it, making the decisions on it and only asking the school for evidence to allow them to deal with the case. You deal with your solicitor (if you choose to proceed) and they deal with the LEA.

Good luck and I'm sorry that you have to deal with this, legal cases can be really draining, try not to take them personally.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 21:42:30

I do know someone who successfully made a claim against a school for a (far less severe) injury they sustained on the playground. No other person was involved and it was a result of the child's own actions but they still won. Have no idea how much but I do think you should seek legal advice. Find out where you stand legally first and then you will have all the facts to make a decision.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:43:17

The thing is, it depends how it comes to court (if it comes to court).

In Ireland many personal injury cases are jury heard, and they tend to be very generous particularly to children who have lifelong injuries.

The way it works here (and bear in mind the English system may be entirely different, so don't take my word for it) is that if the school is found to be even 10% negligent, the insurance company will have to pay you 10% of what you are awarded - and for a lifelong serious brain injury that could be 10% of millions. The would also have to pay costs. So even if it is only slightly their fault, it could be worth doing.

Chub, I think what people mean by a good solicitor rather than an ambulance chaser is don't feel you have to go to a no-win-no-fee advertising solicitor.

Go and see a good solicitor, talk to them about this. If they think it is worth pursuing, they should waive their fee and accept it as a no-win-no-fee case. If they don't, then it is likely that you don't have a case at all, but at least you would know.

ironhorse Sat 16-Feb-13 21:43:44

i think your wrong to even think about suing the schoold, sounds like you are doing it because you are bitter and angry and you want someone to blame. What do you hope to achieve by suing the school? i could understand thinking of suing if you were able to buy some private medical care which was going to rectify his vision but that doesnt sound like its possible given the medical advice you have already have.

Having said all that it doesnt sound like it was the schools fault, although they have a duty of care they cant watch every child every minute of the day, sounds like it was horseplay between some friends which went wrong - these things happen unfortunately.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 21:43:47

Thank you. He does have a great sense of humour he say's he is lucky he has two mums.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 21:44:02

He sounds like a fab young man smile

I wish I could give you a big hug shequeen. I have a 13 year old DS myself.

5madthings Sat 16-Feb-13 21:44:35

I agree with Maryz in this circumstance I would be looking into the legal situation. The school have insurance and if you can then use that to help your son then that is good thing.

Have you claimed DLA, does he have a statement for school do they can help him?

I am sorry about the loss of your ds1 sad xxx

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:45:04

I have a 14 year old guitar player myself. I can't imagine the devastation you must feel sad. But he sounds like a great kid.

iron I don't think the OP sounds bitter and angry at all.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:47:56

ironhorse, she isn't doing it out of bitterness, but to make her son's life easier.

If you have a disability, having money makes a massive difference to your life - he could buy voice-enabled computers, train to use a guide dog if he needed to, afford to get taxis to university, employ a reader for studying, all sorts of things.

Things that he wouldn't have needed if this tragic accident hadn't happened.

Again, I say, if it was a car accident you would claim - even if the other driver hadn't done it on purpose, even if it was an accident with no negligence involved. You claim if you need the money, because you have an injury which makes your life very different from the life you would have had if you weren't involved in the accident.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 21:49:23

The OP doesn't sound bitter and angry at all. She sounds sad and devastated and confused. She hasn't said she wants someone to pay for this or that she's seeking retribution.

Exactly Cats.

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 21:50:32

so, three boys were messing about, this other boy said he wanted to teach your son a move (did your son say no? did he in any way resist being shown this move at all?) and then somehow the bigger boy and another child fell on top of your son and he was hurt?

I appreciate that this is difficult but I disagree that suing the school is the way to go. It sounds like a terrible accident caused by a group of boys messing around, (and boys do mess around, all the time) and fail to see how the school was negligent in any way.

And it's IMO not comparrible to a car accident because the types of injuries sustained in a car accident aren't the types of injuries that could be sustained just anywhere. This child was injured doing something he could have been doing at his own house/on a playdate/in the park. Just because the school have insurance doesn't make them responsible.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 21:53:48

It is nothing to do with what they were up to, or where it might have happened.

If it happened in a neighbour's house, I would consider suing them (as long as they had insurance). If it happened in my own house, and my dh could sue me (on behalf of my son) and claim off our own insurance, I would do that to.

This is about giving a child a bit of a boost to get his life back towards "normal".

We all pay millions in insurance over our lifetimes - this is what it is for. Serious life-long injury. Obviously if this was about a fixable injury, I wouldn't condone suing. But it isn't.

But when I send my children to school I don't expect them to have something happen to them that require them to need a walking frame and hospital treatment.

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 21:58:01

To establish a claim you have to show negligence; that means you have to show there was a duty of care, that there was a breach of that duty of care, that the breach caused injury and that the injury was foreseeable. From what the op has said somewhere along that chain I think this claim is likely to fail. But there is no doubt a lot more to it, and she should absolutely seek proper legal advice.

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 22:02:26

"If you have a disability, having money makes a massive difference to your life - he could buy voice-enabled computers, train to use a guide dog if he needed to, afford to get taxis to university, employ a reader for studying, all sorts of things." To be fair, if this child has a significant visual impairment he should be able to claim DLA which would enable him to do all those things. Also training with a guide dog doesn't cost the recipiant of the guide dog anything...

But being VI isn't that much more expensive than not being VI, yes, sometimes you need to buy adaptive technology and that costs money, but if for job/uni there are schemes that enable this..

You need to look at how much you are likely to be awarded and whether it really is worth the stress of going through all that you would have to go through in order to get there. Personally I wouldn't, but would be more inclined to go down the route of registration and then claiming for DLA and such like.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 22:02:47

It's possible, Chub, that she could show that the child has done wrestling moves before, that the teacher knew about it, that she was watching them and had told him to stop but not actually prevented him, etc etc.

It really depends on whether it is a judge/jury, from what I've seen. And I don't know how personal injury claims go in the UK - in Ireland pretty much everyone who goes to court either gets loads from the jury, or the insurance company settle on the steps of the courtroom, no matter how minor the injury hmm.

I hate it I really do. People suing for slipping in potholes and twisting their ankles etc. ds1 broke his leg in a supermarket (wet floor) once and I never considered suing (even though I would most probably have won), but had it been a lifelong brain injury I'm sure I would have.

Can I just ask, I'm in Ireland and over here almost all kids have school insurance. Costs a fee euros a year, a couple extra if you want 24h cover, and can be claimed against for accidents with quite substantial payouts for serious injury (sight loss being one)

Did you have anything similar through your son's school? If so you wouldn't have to prove negligence on the schools part at all.

I'm so sorry for you and your son, such a devastating consequence from such a silly accident. He sounds fabulous though, 'two mums' made me laugh smile

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 22:05:44

Thanks for pointing that out. You can tell I am new to all this

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 22:06:54

That is entirely possible. If there was known behaviour the s hook failed to address that would make a big difference.

I cannot understand why anyone wouldn't claim if they broke their leg after slipping on a wet floor tbh. There's no virtue in sucking up a serious injury like that. A broken arm or leg can he life changing, and a supermarket is as well insured as a school.

Civil claims in England and Wales are dealt with by a judge if they get to trial, no jury. But trials are very rare.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 22:07:28

Thank so much. I cant believe the support I have had from this site. It nice to get other mums comments on all this. Thanks for all of you

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 22:07:36

Summer, I'm not sure the insurance (we had to pay it) would cover this, because there are set things they cover for. It might cover the medical expenses, but in the UK there wouldn't be any as the hospital/doctors etc are free.

The insurance we had to pay did, however, cover third party, so in Ireland if the child who caused the injury had paid (and it is compulsory in my children's school), then technically you could sue the child.

I doubt they pay personal insurance in England though - they don't seem to have to pay anything for education at all, lucky gits hmm.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 22:10:05

I was an idiot at the time Chub - ds was only 2 and I felt it was my fault, that I should have been watching him more closely.

I even apologised to the supermarket manager blush.

ds hasn't forgiven me - he says he would have got a nice lump sum on his 18th birthday.

Presumably the insurance companies settle if they think the claimant is going to win, is that why so few go to court?

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 22:11:40

no juries in claims in the UK.

it's also not actually that common for damages to be awarded, generally the no win no fee companies will only go after cases they perceive to be worthwhile iyswim.

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 22:13:02

no personal insurance here either.

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 22:13:38

Well if he's under 21 it's not too late maryz.

Yes trials are rare because the costs rules heavily penalise a losing defendant, so if they think they might lose they settle.

I'm not sure (as we are recipients) that dla would stretch to all that wishlist.
I agree with everything maryz has posted, and so won't reiterate it.
op I wish you and your son a peaceful decision and resolution.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:14

It was 17 years ago Chub. I doubt the even had incident books in Tesco at the time. Of course I would have hospital records, but no evidence as to where it had happened.

Your system sounds better than ours.

True envy

I think it depends on the cover and which company you use. I know for example that the cover the kids get through Chill is slightly different to the bog standard policy Aviva mass sell directly through the schools. And you're certainly covered for a lot more if you pay your extra few euros for 24h cover.

I know accidents resulting from high risk activities and sports are excluded but I think if the same accident had happened here it would be covered, probably a percentage of the set amount for 'loss of sight in both eyes'

Anyway, that's all irrelevant if the child wasn't covered, sorry shequeen.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 22:17:43

IMO if you seek legal advice and are told you have no case then at least you know where you stand and you can move forward. You won't always be wondering whether you should have investigated it or not.

If it happened in the dinner queue we need some dinner ladies on here giving their opinion as to how easy or difficult it is to supervise a line of hungry 10 year olds! If there's loads of them sayig that this shouldn't have happened then maybe investigate legal action.

Soditall Sat 16-Feb-13 22:18:53

Op I agree with so many other posters your son sounds like an amazing young man and if I was you I would get good legal advice and sue.

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 22:19:11

Once again thanks to everyone for your advice. I will let you all know what I decide to do with all this .

Good luck shequeen x

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 22:24:49

notactuallyme depending on the level of visual impairment the op's ds could be entitled to higher rate mobility component DLA and lower rate care component but the higher rate mobility will very much depend on the level of vision (needs to be less than 6/60 iirc).

If needed he could purchase a screenreader (jaws retails at approx £800, windoweyes at slightly less) or he could use one of the now free ones (NVDA has good reviews but I've never tried it), or alternatively he could buy a macbook which already has built-in accessibility, as do iPhone/iPad.

In terms of a reader at uni he would be entitled to this and is likely to have some help from the university on this anyway.

Travel: yes sometimes taxi's may be necessary but he may choose not to go this route in which case he would be entitled to a free bus pass nationally and if he lives in London (which I assume he might if he's been at moorfields) would be entitled to a freedom pass which enables free travel on the underground and mainline trains out as far as kent.

Training with a guide dog is free (well it costs 50p for the dog) so that is a non issue in financial terms...

alfrex Sat 16-Feb-13 22:28:53

I completely agree with Maryz on this. If the injury has caused permanent impairment, then I would go for the largest possible sum of money and have no qualms about it whatsoever. The insurance company can afford it.

OP's DS is going to need support, aids, practical assistance of every kind in order to level the playing field between himself and his peers. Having the money to provide for him without worrying about costs will help him in every aspect of his life, for the rest of his life. That is exactly what damages awards are for.

I think OP sound quite the opposite of bitter and angry. I am surprised by her calm rational attitude, I don't think I would be this reasonable.

Passmethecrisps Sat 16-Feb-13 22:32:44

Can I start by saying welcome to MN and how sorry I am that something so horrid has brought you here.

I completely and utterly understand the desire to sue here - it's not about apportioning blame but ensuring the best for the child. I do, however, think there is something very wrong that people who suffer serious injury need to sue to ensure they get the best care and access to the best resources. These things should be automatic.

Anyway, with the best will in the world I cannot see how suing the school can not impact on the relationship. A successful case would prove negligence - an argument that surely the school would dispute.

I am a secondary school teacher and I hav occassionally manned lunch queues. They can sometimes run to over a hundred children and even with sergeant major style stomping up and down the line it would be nigh on impossible to pre-empt something such as this.

The following factors come to mind:
How many staff were manning the queue? Are there LA guidelines about this and were they met?
What did witnesses say? Did any member of staff see the initial horseplay? If not, why not and if so what did they do?
Has anything like this happened before?
What care did your child get immediately after? Could faster/more appropriate care have prevented the injury?

It will be the school's insurance which covers any successful case but the investigation is likely to become personal and damaging. It will focus almost solely on the one or two staff on lunch duty.

I understand your will 100% but I am not convinced it will ease your pain at all.

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 22:35:19

Wannabe every single thing you describe as available to the ops son would cost either the state or a charity money.

Now that's absolutely fine if a pure accident, but if the injury is down to negligence the at fault party (or their insurer) should pay.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 23:19:26

I agree that all the help should be automatic, Passme.

Unfortunately it often isn't. Even seeing the fight people have to get DLA is quite daunting. Also, he will only get DLA if he stays in the UK - if he tries to travel the system is quite different in other countries.

If they can win a court case and get a lump sum it could seriously improve his prospects of education, of travel, of opportunities abroad. All the things we take for granted for our children would suddenly become available again.

I know it would be hard on the supervisors - but it is also very hard on the boy. He is only 14. This will follow him for the rest of his life.

garlicbreeze Sat 16-Feb-13 23:33:33

A lot of informative posts here! Interesting to hear about the Irish system. While I agree with Maryz's posts, I'm still recommending cautious process.

As Passme wrote, It will be the school's insurance which covers any successful case but the investigation is likely to become personal and damaging. This is why I didn't claim against my employers (huge company) for the psychiatric injury they inflicted on me, which certainly did wreck my life. The initial procedures were so stressful, they made me too sick to continue.

Your situation is totally different, shequeen - for one thing, you're sane! - but you know yourself and how well you withstand 'attack'. Insurers have good lawyers, whose job is to save their employer money. Everything will depend on the legal advice you get after discussing the details with them, so choose a good source. As others have said, there's a very helpful legal board here where you may be able to get recommendations.

Once again, good luck and best wishes.

garlicbreeze Sat 16-Feb-13 23:36:01

legal advice you get after discussing the details with them ... with your own lawyers, not the insurer's! Sorry.

ironhorse Sat 16-Feb-13 23:54:54

maryz i was in a car accident where my car rolled twice and landed on its roof, the roof ended up at the height of the headrests, the other driver thought he had killed me it was so bad, i had lots of cuts and bruises and needed a neck brace for a month and then needed physio because of my sore back, physio went on for about 9 months, i was off work for a month after it happened but i got full pay from my work so wasnt out of pocket. i didnt claim anything from the insurance for injury because it was an accident and at the end of the day it was one of those things....

everyone is saying the insurance pays out, they dont really - everyone who has insurance pays out as premiums go higher to cover any pay outs. how do you know the school is insured? how do you know the local council is not self insuring? mine does so the money comes out of taxpayers pockets in reality.

Greensleeves Sun 17-Feb-13 00:00:21

This is exactly WHY people pay for insurance

With respect, this little boy has suffered long-term effects well beyond the fallout from your accident. The course of his whole life has changed.

I feel for the adults who were supervising the lunch queue too, and for the Head who sounds very decent, and for the other child and his parents. It's a terrible blow for all of them.

But this is no time to let sentiment and guilt get in the way of getting what is best for a little boy whose life is going to be permanently altered and who is going to need all the financial support he can get. It's just money at the end of the day - and this boy needs it more than the insurance company does.

garlicbreeze Sun 17-Feb-13 00:11:10

Ironhorse, why did you not try to claim?

Your pay was probably covered by your employer's insurance, as it goes, so you did benefit from somebody's policy. I used to think the same as you about collective responsibility not to push insurance premiums higher through enthusiastic claiming. Then I was forced to rely on my insurances, and soon found out how good they are at limiting their liability! I've no idea how people manage to get massive payouts for slipping on a wet pavement (if those reports are even true.)

I agree here with Greensleeves - a boy's life has changed course quite dramatically, and it's more than reasonable to find out whether his future can be made easier by calling on existing funds (the insurer's.)

Floggingmolly Sun 17-Feb-13 00:28:12

If your injures are not permanently debilitating you can usually only sue for loss of earnings, I think, garlicbreeze? The fact that her salary was paid would be taken into account in court.

Chubfuddler Sun 17-Feb-13 03:39:07

That's not true floggingmolly. Injuries do not have to be permanently disabling, or even disabling at all, to be compensatable.

And insurance payouts do not come out of premiums - insurance companies invest premiums in the shares and currency markets for huge returns. This is what insurance is for for goodness sake. Insurance companies really have done a marvellous number on people if they aren't claiming compensation because they fear premiums going up.

WandaDoff Sun 17-Feb-13 04:16:22

YY Greensleeves

I got 20k when I sued for breaking my leg on a dodgy pavement. It was a severe break which impacts on my life to this day. I'm glad I had the money but I'd rather have my old leg back.

I think you should at least look into it with a solicitor Op. This will impact upon his life, there's no harm in consulting a solicitor. I assume you're in London if he was treated at Moorfields. The solicitor I used was in Camden if you'd like a recommendation.

DoctorAnge Sun 17-Feb-13 09:46:16

OP were there any witnesses to what happend?
Why on earth wasn't it reported in the accident book?

Your son sounds like an amazing, happy young man. With an attitude like that he will go far in life despite his impairment I'm sure.

Maryz Sun 17-Feb-13 10:52:58

ironhorse, if you had broken your back and been in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, would you have claimed?

This isn't a short term problem, which can be fixed. This is a life-changing event which has turned a healthy child into a permanently disabled adult. Yes, he may be able to overcome much of the disability, but he will never have the life he would have had.

Snowfedup Sun 17-Feb-13 17:02:07

Hi sorry if this is not helpful but shocked that he has been left with permenant double vision - does it go away if he closes either eye - is his vision good in each eye separately and only poor with both together - I work in a small eye clinic and am sure moor fields have tried everything ? We used an occlusive contact lens with some success in one patient with intractable double vision !

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