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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.

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

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 21:44:10

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.

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 21:45:59

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.

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 21:50:10

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.

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 21:54:38

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?

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