How To Claim If Your Child Had An Accident At School

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 18th January 2024. If your child has had an accident at school and suffered an injury through no fault of their own, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim on their behalf.

In this guide, we talk about child accident claims, specifically relating to schools. We explain the criteria for claiming and how we can help you.

If you’d like to discuss starting a claim right away, please call 0800 073 8801 today.

Children running in a play area at school

What to do if your child has an accident at school

Select A Section

  1. Am I Eligible To Claim For My Child’s Accident At School?
  2. Examples of School Accidents You Could Claim For
  3. When Is A School Liable For A Child Being Injured?
  4. What Should A School Do To Safeguard Children From Injury?
  5. Can I Claim If My Child Had An Accident On A School Trip?
  6. Evidence For Accident At School Claims
  7. Compensation Payouts In Child Accident Claims
  8. No Win No Fee Agreements And Child Accident Claims
  9. Learn More About Your Legal Rights If Your Child Had An Accident At School

Am I Eligible To Claim For My Child’s Accident At School?

To be eligible to make a school accident claim on behalf of your child, you would need to prove that your child suffered an injury due to the school breaching their duty of care.

Under the law, schools owe a duty of care to take practicably reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their pupils and anyone who visits their premises for its intended purposes. If a school were to breach this duty of care, and this caused your child to become injured, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim on their behalf.

Furthermore, all personal injury claims must be made within the time limit that is set out in the Limitation Act 1980. Generally, you will have 3 years to start a claim from the date of the accident. However, for those under the age of 18, the time limit is paused until their 18th birthday. From this date, they will have until their 21st birthday to start a claim.

Alternatively, prior to their 18th birthday, a court-appointed litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. This should be someone who will act in the child’s best interests. This could be a legal guardian, parent or lawyer, for example.

If you have any further questions regarding how to sue a school for negligence, you can contact one of our friendly advisors today.

Examples of School Accidents You Could Claim For

Some examples of what could lead to school accident claims are referenced in the sections below. A brief overview of the type of accident that could lead to a claim could include:

  • Negligence in supervising children leading to them suffering an accident
  • Abuse by teachers against children
  • Playground accidents due to faulty equipment
  • School trip accidents
  • Teacher injuries from faulty equipment
  • Slips, trips and falls due to poorly maintained grounds

If you believe you could have cause to launch an accident claim against the school, please contact our team. We would be only too happy to assess your case to see if you could have a valid claim.

When Is A School Liable For A Child Being Injured?

According to the government, schools have a responsibility for the health and safety of your child while they’re at school and while they’re on school trips. This means that the school need to try to ensure the safety of children during school hours. To do this, they should:

  • Have a health and safety policy.
  • Ensure staff are trained adequately in health and safety procedures.
  • Perform regular risk assessments and remove any dangers identified where possible.
  • Provide safety equipment to reduce risks where needed.
  • Supervise children properly.
  • Ensure the pupils know the rules of the school, i.e. no running in corridors etc.

If a school accident happens because one of the above didn’t happen, the school could be held liable. If the case were to go to court, a judge would look at what caused the accident and whether the school had taken enough steps to prevent it. If the school are found to be liable, a compensation claim against the school might be possible.

It’s worth pointing out that some accidents are completely unavoidable. In cases where the school could not have done anything to prevent an accident or to predict it might happen, no accident at a school claims would be possible.

What Should A School Do To Safeguard Children From Injury?

We’ve mentioned the school’s duty of care throughout this guide so, in this section, we’ll explain this in a bit more detail. The main element of the duty of care is that the school should try and keep pupils safe while in school. This can be achieved by:

  • Taking reasonable care to try and ensure pupils aren’t caused a foreseeable injury.
  • Teachers’ actions should be the same as a reasonably careful parent. The level of care and supervision should reflect factors such as the age of the children.
  • Schools should ensure an effective supervision system is used in school.
  • If the school provides safety equipment, such as safety goggles for science lessons, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure they are used.
  • Good standards and correct procedures should be followed at all times.

To be eligible to claim compensation on behalf of your child, you’d first need to show that a member of staff breached their duty of care and then explain how that breach caused your child to be injured. Read on to learn more about filing successful children’s accident at school claims.

Can I Claim If My Child Had An Accident On A School Trip?

As mentioned earlier, the school’s duty of care towards pupils extends to school trips. The types of accidents which could happen on a school trip include:

  • Coach collisions while being transported to the trip.
  • Accidents while participating in outdoor activities.
  • Accidents while competing for school sports teams.

It’s up to the school to try and foresee any potential accidents and to ensure any firms hired to run events have the correct safety procedures in place. However, the school won’t be liable in all cases.

If you’d like advice on whether you could claim injuries sustained during a school trip, please call the number at the top of the screen today. We’re accessible 24/7 to discuss your potential accident at a school claim.

Evidence For Accident At School Claims

Now we have discussed how to sue a school for negligence in the UK if your child has suffered an injury, you may now be wondering what evidence you will need when making an accident at school claim on behalf of your child. Some examples could include:

  • Medical evidence – You will need to provide evidence of the injuries sustained in the accident. A copy of your child’s medical records detailing their injury and the treatment they received could be useful in this regard.
  • Photographs of the accident scene or any visible injuries your child suffered.
  • Any video footage of the accident taking place, such as CCTV footage.
  • The contact details of anyone who witnessed your child’s accident, as they may be able to provide a statement at a later date.
  • Evidence of any financial losses you have suffered due to your child’s injuries. For example, if you needed to take time off work to care for your child, you could present a copy of your payslips to prove these lost earnings.

If you have any questions, such as, ‘What to do if a child is injured at school in the UK?’ or if you would like free advice about making a child injury claim, you can contact our advisors.

Compensation Payouts In Child Accident Claims

Now you know how to sue a school for negligence in the UK, you might be wondering how much your child could receive in compensation for their injuries.

Every accident at school claim is different, and as such, must be assessed on its unique facts and circumstances. If the claim is successful, it could result in a payout that includes special and general damages.

General damages compensate for the child’s injuries and the pain and suffering they have caused them to experience. Those calculating general damages payouts could refer to the Judicial College Guidelines for assistance. The JCG provides guideline compensation amounts for various injuries at different severities.

The table below contains some compensation brackets from the 2022 JCG, but this is only rough guidance. Additionally, the first line of the table is not from the JCG.

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Injury Severity Compensation Range Additional Notes
A combination of severe injuries causing financial costs and losses. Severe Up to £550,000+ Multiple severe injuries that cause suffering and pain as well as financial costs and losses, such as loss of income.
Neck Severe (a) (i) In the region of
£148,330
Included in this range are injuries such as a severe neck injury resulting in incomplete paraplegia or injuries with the same outcome.
Neck Minor (c) (i) £4,350 to £7,890 Included in this range are injuries such as soft tissue type injuries where recovery happens within 1 and 2 years.
Arms Loss of one (b) (ii) £109,650 to £130,930 Included in this range are injuries such as an above the elbow amputation of one arm.
Arms Moderate (c) Up to £12,590 Included in this range are injuries such as simple arm fractures, lacerations and most elbow fractures.
Back Moderate (b) (i) £27,760 to £38,780 Included in this range are injuries such as fractures of the back (compression or crush fractures).
Back Minor (c) (i) £7,890 to £12,510 Included in this range are injuries such as those where recovery occurs, without the need for any form of surgery, within 2 to 5 years.
Pelvis Moderate (b) (i) £26,590 to £39,170 Included in this range are injuries such as a significant pelvis (or hip) injury with a permanent disability that is classed as minor.
Pelvis Minor (c) (ii) Up to £3,950 Included in this range are injuries such as tissue damage where complete recovery occurs.
Shoulder Severe (a) £19,200 to £48,030 Included in this range are injuries such as those connected with neck injuries and that include damage to the brachial plexus causing some form of significant disability.
Foot Moderate (f) £13,740 to £24,990 Included in this range are injuries such as displaced metarsal fractures.
Foot Modest (g) Up to £13,740 Included in this range are injuries such as simple metarsal fractures and puncture wounds.
Hand Moderate (h) £5,720 to £13,280 Included in this range are injuries such as penetrating wounds and deep lacerations.

Special damages compensate for the monetary costs and losses caused by the child’s injuries. This could include:

  • Care costs – if you’ve had to pay for care at home for the child, these costs could be claimable.
  • Medical expenses – if you’ve needed to pay for prescriptions for the child or for their mobility aids, for example, these costs could also be claimed under special damages.
  • Travel costs – if you’ve paid for transport to get to solicitor’s meetings or medical appointments, these could also be included.
  • Loss of income – if you have lost out on income because you’ve had to look after your child due to their injuries, you could potentially claim for your loss of earnings.

For a free valuation of your child’s injury claim, or get help with what to do if a child is injured at school in the UK, please contact an advisor.

No Win No Fee Agreements And Child Accident Claims

Now that you have more insight into how to sue a school for negligence in the UK, you might be ready to start a claim on your child’s behalf.

One of our solicitors could offer to take on your accident at school claim under a No Win No Fee arrangement, provided you have a valid case. By offering you a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement, you typically won’t be expected to pay for their services either upfront or while the claim is ongoing. Additionally, if the claim is not successful, you won’t have to pay them for the work they have provided.

If the claim ends successfully, the solicitor working on the case will deduct a legally capped percentage from the compensation. This is known as a success fee.

To learn more about claiming with a No Win No Fee solicitor, or for advice on what to do if a child is injured at school in the UK, please don’t hesitate to contact an advisor. They can be reached via the following methods:

Learn More About Your Legal Rights If Your Child Had An Accident At School

You’ve now reached the end of this guide about school accident claims. To assist you further, we’ve included some further guides, links and other useful resources.

School Health And Safety Responsibilities – A document outlining schools health and safety responsibilities from the Department for Education.

Concussion And Head Injuries – This is a useful guide from the NHS that you might find useful if your child suffers a head injury in a school accident.

Accident Report Books – Schools need to keep accident report books to log school accident cases. This guide from the Health and Safety Executive explains what to record and when to do so.

Slip, Trip And Fall Claims – This guide could be useful for school accidents involving slips. It explains when negligence could be the cause and how much compensation might be paid.

Playground Accident Claims – A guide that could help you claim if your child had an accident at school while on the playground.

Bus Accident Cases – If your child had a school bus accident, you could find the information in this guide helpful.

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide accident at a school claims. We hope you’ve learned a lot about children’s accident at school claims. If you would like more insight on school accident claims, please call our team.