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To not sue this museum for compensation?

(67 Posts)
Jollyphonics Fri 08-Aug-14 09:02:47

Yesterday we were at an outdoor museum. This museum is free to enter. It has some government funding, and makes money with a gift shop, mini cinema, couple of little rides, but is also clearly quite dependent on donations too (lots of boxes asking for donations, envelopes for gift-aiding etc).

We were in a quiet corner of a field - part of the museum grounds but no one else there and there probably rarely is.

DS1 (age 9) stepped on a manhole cover, which looked OK but obviously wasn't. It flipped over and he slipped in, getting the whole of one leg and both his hands covered in poo. It was totally vile, as you can imagine.

The staff were, I think, volunteers. They we very sympathetic and as helpful as they could be, but there wasn't much in the way of facilities to use. We'd come a long way and had only just arrived, so didn't want to just go home, and anyway DS had to get cleaned up before getting in the car! So, we were given gloves, a pile of paper towels, use of the disabled toilets, and the staff looked after DS2 while I did my best with DS1. I washed his clothes and the staff dried them under their hand dryer. After an hour or so DS was clean, dressed in clean dried clothes, and we finally started our day. The boys were each given a free toy (an activity being run that would have cost £3 each). DS1 wasn't traumatised by it, and actually didn't cry even when covered in poo.

I would say that it was very unpleasant, but I put it down to "one of those things". (Of course I may feel differently in 2 days time when we've got D&V!)

The staff took it seriously, lots of paperwork being done, clearly a significant incident, area fenced off etc.

I planned to just forget all about it, but my Mum is livid, saying I should sue for compensation, it could have been so much worse and so on. She's right, it could have been worse - if both legs had gone in I have no idea how deep he'd have sunk! yuk! But I just want to put it behind us.


lilliebobs2011 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:06:11

compensation what for ? no one was hurt, no loss of earnings

Namechangearoonie123 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:06:18

You handled it just right, it is one of those things and the staff did all they could

Your mums an idiot

donnie Fri 08-Aug-14 09:07:07

What would be the grounds for legal action? you have already said your ds didn't even cry and wasn't bothered. You need to explain to your mother that you cannot sue on the basis of what MIGHT have happened - but only on the basis of what HAS ACTUALLY happened .

Clearly the manhole lid sounds like it was not properly maintained but that would be a council matter.

wigglesrock Fri 08-Aug-14 09:08:14

I think your mum is getting a bit carried away smile. Compensation for what ? He wasn't injured, he didn't miss time off work, it sounds like the staff did their very best to help you out. I'm glad you had a nice day, if a bit bleurghy at the beginning.

Thenapoleonofcrime Fri 08-Aug-14 09:09:26

What a horrible experience- one that I'm sure you'll be talking about in your family for decades. It sounds though that the place did everything they could to rectify the problem, looking after your other son, giving you facilities to clean up, giving the children toys, taking action to close off the area. It must have been horrible though.

The museum was free for you and as you say the staff most likely volunteers, I cannot see how suing them will help the museum at all, or indeed yourself. What would you get out of it?

TwinkleDust Fri 08-Aug-14 09:11:16

No. But - you do need to ask what steps they are taking to prevent a recurrence. It could have had a far less happy ending.

GertieFinkle Fri 08-Aug-14 09:12:23

If you are going to insult the OP's mum at least punctuate it right. You're an idiot.

Jollyphonics - I think you handled it well and they have obviously taken it very seriously. I think your mum was probably just over-reacting to the thought of her DGS covered in poo <boak> and what potentially could have been a much worse situation it which her DGS could have been hurt. Leave it a few days and review how you feel about it. If you want to contact the museum again and ensure it has be fixed you could do that too.

mummytime Fri 08-Aug-14 09:12:24

I wouldn't sue, but I would want to report it to the local council or someone. As it sounds like a dreadful health and safety issue - both risk of infection and that someone could have broken a limb.

littleducks Fri 08-Aug-14 09:12:45

How disgusting, your poor ds. But I don't think the is a need to sue. It is being fixed and luckily he just got dirty not hurt.

GertieFinkle Fri 08-Aug-14 09:12:59

First comment is for namechangeroonie123 not OP!

TobyZiegler Fri 08-Aug-14 09:13:50

You've handled this well and I think the museum has handled it well. Your mum is being daft. You can't just 'sue for compensation'. What do you and your DS need compensating for?

Have you seen a Dr? Is there any injury or open wounds? Anywhere the excrement could have entered his body? Was it animal or human? I'm just wondering if medically he needs some attention. Poor thing sounds yuk for all of you.

LEMmingaround Fri 08-Aug-14 09:14:06

Your mum has been watching too much daytime tv

InSummer Fri 08-Aug-14 09:14:47

I think there has to be injury/loss of life or earnings for compensation.

I think you handled it really well by the way. I would have been gagging.

LilyandGinger Fri 08-Aug-14 09:15:41

I might write a note thanking the staff and praising their reaction which also expresses disappointment about the unsafe nature of the cover and asks for reassurances that it had been dealt with.

Legal action? For what? Somewhat money grabbing IMO. How would you feel if you won and the museum had to close?

JenniferJo Fri 08-Aug-14 09:15:42

I think your Mum needs to get a grip. I hate compensation culture. Grabby, grabby, grabby. It was an accident. Where would the money come from? Those donation boxes and that may force it to close.

Thenapoleonofcrime Fri 08-Aug-14 09:17:20

I also wonder whether contacting the council is the way forward, surely it is up to them to maintain safe sewers and manhole covers, the museum is just unlucky enough to have one on their land and no-one may have touched it or moved it to see if it was safe previously (why would you do that really?)

MrsWinnibago Fri 08-Aug-14 09:19:18

Well..I'm not sure. Human poo is a potential hazard. It's a disease carrier...I'd be very unhappy about this, their insurance would cover it. In reality I woul;dn't sue either I expect. My DH fell of his bike and broke his hip and EVERYONE asked him if he was suing the council and he was nonplussed...explaining that he'd gone too fast round a corner in icy conditions but people were saying "Well say there was a hole...find a hole and say you fell in it!"

He was shock at the amount of people who would lie.

RiverTam Fri 08-Aug-14 09:21:28

your mum is wrong, and it sounds like the staff were really good in the circumstances. Small museums that are dependent on donations and are free to enter (and I would bet at least some, if not all, of their staff are volunteers) are not perfect and yes, sometimes accidents happen. If people start suing them, they will probably have to close.

Hope your DS is OK! Bless him for being so stoical.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:22:15

Your mum needs to get over herself. Sue for what? Don't embarrass yourself by following her silly advice.
Your son was ok, you got on with the day. If anything report it for the risk it is but nothing more.

DownByTheRiverside Fri 08-Aug-14 09:23:13

It sounds like he put his foot in a septic tank. I'm surprised that there were no warning notices advising you to stay clear.
I wouldn't sue, but it's good that the museum are now aware of the problem and will do something about it.

SquattingNeville Fri 08-Aug-14 09:23:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jollyphonics Fri 08-Aug-14 09:27:35

Thanks all. I hate the compensation culture, so it wasn't something I even considered.

I think it may be MoD land - it's an aeroplane museum by a base - and I think my Mum feels that the RAF can afford it. But my understanding is that the museum rent it from the RAF, and would no doubt end up being shown to be liable.

I don't plan to do anything.

Namechangearoonie123 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:28:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

HeySoulSister Fri 08-Aug-14 09:34:20

It's the punctuation police, ignore ignore ignore.... Most of us do

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