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Son Hit by Car Whilst at School

(138 Posts)
vivalavida Mon 10-Dec-12 13:53:37

Several weeks ago my 12 year old son was hit by a car whilst at school. The school is split across two sites with a rarely used single track road running through the middle. This is classed as a public highway although as I say very rarely used as it is not a through road.
My son was crossing at a blind spot with other children going from one lesson to another. They were unsupervised and this is normal practice. As my son stepped out of the blind spot to see if the road was clear, he was hit by young driver in her car. The impact was enough for him to smash the windscreen and he was taken to hospital.
Very luckily he walked away with only major bruising.
After a week off school and two weeks off sport he is now almost physically recovered, however we have now received contact from the driver asking for damages.
There were no direct witnesses to the accident apart from the driver's partner who was also in the car and my son's friend who is also 12.
It is still very difficult to ascertain who is ultimately at fault and we are reluctant to enter into a conversation without advice first.
The other issue is that the school seem non-plussed about the fact that our son has been injured whilst in their care, regardless of who's fault the accident was.
I really don't want to jeopardise his education by falling out with the school as he is happy there and doing well, however, if we do pay then we are admitting liability and may leave ourselves open to future claims.
Any advice would be greatfully received.

nannyl Mon 10-Dec-12 14:10:17

I was run over aged 16. The car was traveling 60 in a 30, but I didn't look.

The police man told me that it didn't matter that I didn't look as drivers are supposed to take care and anticipate unexpected from children. I was 3 months from 17 birthday but that didn't matter.

I was also by a school. By law it was the drivers fault as I was a child and they had to anticipate me.

I got a nice lot of compensation too, when I sue'd them.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Mon 10-Dec-12 14:10:21

It's not always the car drivers fault if they hit a pedestrian in the road, I hit a woman who ran into the road directly into my path, no chance to stop or swerve, my insurance didn't pay her and the police took no action.

RedToothbrush Mon 10-Dec-12 14:10:29

Aside from the issue that pedestrians have right of way - your son is a minor.

Therefore I would have thought that technically in this situation YOU aren't responsible or liable but your son is.

So the driver would be seeking damages from your son. I'm assuming that your son being 12 he has no assets and no way of paying damages to the driver even if he was responsible.

I'm struggling to see how they could take your son to court and win over this. You think a judge is going to rule against your son? Strikes me as a way of trying to unfairly get money out of you which you have no legal obligation to give.

I've no legal experience but I really do fail to see how they'd be able to make you financially liable.

Your son should get legal advice. Not you. (Obviously with you being there but I suspect there are potential legal aid issues here that might mean you don't have to bare any of the legal costs if they decide to pursue you).

chrismissymoomoomee Mon 10-Dec-12 14:10:46

This happened to an old neighbour of mine. Her son stepped out onto the road and got knocked over, he was fairly badly hurt and was in hospital for a week.

A couple of weeks later the driver pulled over when she saw my neighbour, she then asked her address, my neighbour thoought it was to send a card or something but asked why anyway and the driver said it was so she could send some papers to arrange a repayment schedule for her windowscreen. She said her insurance company told her to do that (I'm not sure how true that is). The driver didn't even ask how her son was.

In the end my neighbour saw a solicitor and (from memory) they couldn't legally enforce anything. The driver could only request the money but the boys mother could say no, the driver could have went to small claims court but didn't because it was so hard to prove who was actually at fault.

Your poor lad, is he ok now?

scripsi Mon 10-Dec-12 14:12:27

Get legal advice! And I would be looking at legal advice not just about this letter but also for damages from the driver. There is a reason the UK has compulsory car insurance and it is because of default liability for drivers who injure cyclists and pedestrians.
I suspect that the driver thinks you're about to approach them for damages and they are firing the first shot? Mad.

BerthaKitt Mon 10-Dec-12 14:12:42

Look at this OP. If this a genuine claim you need to refer it to your home insurers. Go

elfyrespect Mon 10-Dec-12 14:14:34

How do these people sleep at night?

Really, what kind of person drives into a child and sues for the windscreen costs?

BerthaKitt Mon 10-Dec-12 14:14:41

Posted too soon.

Going by what it says in that link about drivers being expected to look out for drunk people in the road when passing a nightclub I th

BerthaKitt Mon 10-Dec-12 14:17:20

I hate this phone.

I have heard of drivers suing pedestrians and cyclists who collided with their vehicles but I think it's very unlikely a claim against a schoolchild for an accident next to a school would be successful.

TheCraicDealer Mon 10-Dec-12 14:17:47

Really don't get the mentality of this driver- surely if this happened you'd be feeling a) incredibly guilty, and b) unwilling to tempt fate into a nice letter from pedestrian's lawyers? Barmy.

Jins Mon 10-Dec-12 14:18:43

It's all about accepting blame for the accident and what impact that will have on future insurance. With an injury involved the chances of you making a claim against the driver are quite high.

You really need a solicitor. Well your son does.

AlphaBeta82 Mon 10-Dec-12 14:21:05

I would launch a counter claim. I was involved in an accident and told by insurance that when involving a pedestrian the insurance company will always accept the driver at fault rather than a costly court case witha pedestrian who ultimately has no insurance.

BlueberryHill Mon 10-Dec-12 14:22:58

Seek legal advice, your son could counter sue to injuries. Go after them, bastards how dare they sue the victim.

As your son is a minor he should be able to get legal aid, see a solicitor.

diddl Mon 10-Dec-12 14:25:23

To think that all that is needed is some form of crossing-or close the road off if it´s rarely used.

Hope you get sorted out OP.

MaMattoo Mon 10-Dec-12 14:26:49

This is crazy. The driver is responsible. Don't be silly. Go straight to the police! Or to CAB or a lawyer. They are being pretty cheeky. Your son is ok which is great but hellllooo!??

Is this a wind up? Because its the silliest thing I have heard for a while now..

SalopianTubes Mon 10-Dec-12 14:26:52

What RedToothBrush thief says ^^

Many moons ago I used to work at a firm of solicitors doing uninsured loss recovery. There's no way I would have accepted instructions to act on behalf of the the driver in these sort of circumstances. The chances of the driving "winning" such a case are minimal. It might be the case that they've sent you the letter in the vague hope you will pay out, but know they have no chance of taking things further if you ignore it.

Your son is a minor. No court is going to ask him to pay, even if the driver could prove he was negligent - which I doubt.

Your poor son, I hope this doesn't cause too much stress for your family.

RedToothbrush Mon 10-Dec-12 14:26:58

Counter claim isn't a bad idea. If only for the fact that you'd probably find it easy to get someone to represent your son on a no win no fee basis, and the burden of proof would lie with the driver to prove.

Given that theres likely to be signs up saying 'warning children' and the driver would have seen more children before getting to the blind spot then she would have a hard time proving fault against your son.

The insurance company would rather just settle than go to court as its more expensive.

I certainly wouldn't worry about any of it, though its obviously hard to do.

Wingedharpy Mon 10-Dec-12 14:28:24

If he was crossing at a blind spot and the driver hit him that would say to me that she was driving too fast.
On a single track road, she could have ended up in a head on collision with another vehicle.
She's a cheeky bugger.
Get legal advice and issue a counter claim for damages.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Mon 10-Dec-12 14:30:42

Blimey. I'd be so thankful that your boy wasn't badly injured and so sorry and apologetic to you and to him. Beggars belief !

escorpion Mon 10-Dec-12 14:30:46

Hi viva my mum hit a child who ran out in front of the bus he just came off. Luckily she was crawling as she overtook the bus, but he ran straight into the side of her car and also smashed her windscreen. Obviously it was a great shock for her. Luckily the boy was o.k. It was just one of those things where the child ran out into the road, not thinking that a car may overtake the bus. The police attended straight away and were brilliant. The police said she couldn´t make a claim off him as he was a child, so the insurers writ her car off and it went through her insurers only. Obviously that was the last thing on her mind though and she was very shaken for ages after.

SamuelWestsMistress Mon 10-Dec-12 14:31:23

I heard of something similar happening recently, only it involved a child on a pony. The driver was trying to claim and basically ended up being (quite rightly) wiped the floor of.

Some people are utter utter cunts. Tell them, perhaps in slightly more polite and legal phrasing (by a soliciter) to FUCK THE FUCK OFF! Greedy bastards. I despise the whole sueing culture so much.

Hope your son recovers well. Please try not to worry about these cretins.

getoffthecoffeetable Mon 10-Dec-12 14:31:38

Phone your home insurers. Most people have legal expenses insurance cover as standard on their home insurance and your son will be covered as a member of the household.
Awful thing for the driver to do. Glad to hear that your son is now fully recovered.
I'd also ask the school why there hasn't been a crossing put on the road for the pupils if it's required that pupils cross on a regular basis.

Merrylegs Mon 10-Dec-12 14:31:46

Is it a state school? If so I would be placing this very firmly at the door of Children's Services at your county council. Anyone who drives along that road should be aware it bisects a school and there should be road signage and appropriate crossing places to this effect. If there isn't, the education authority is ultimately responsible and should answer to any claims.

I don't get this bit in your OP 'I really don't want to jeopardise his education by falling out with the school.'

I don't understand that statement. At. All. Sorry. V odd thing to say.

What kind of school is he at? They MUST have a risk assessment policy for crossing the road.

There should be no reason to fall out with anyone.

Cozy9 Mon 10-Dec-12 14:32:32

Are there signs on the road warning drivers that school children may be crossing?

chrome100 Mon 10-Dec-12 14:32:35

To all those expressing horror at the driver asking for money - when I was a child I was run over and my parents had to pay for the cost of the ambulance because it was my fault for running into the road

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