Many parents and carers do not know whether they can claim on behalf of their child. To answer the question of can I? The answer is yes, you can.
If you do claim on behalf of your child, you will be referred to as their ‘litigation friend’. A ‘litigation friend’ is a suitable person appointed by the court to represent a ‘protected party’. It is the role of a Litigation friend to act in the protected party’s best interests. A parent who has any part in the responsibility of the child’s injury through their school accident will not be eligible to act as the litigation friend, as they must be entirely independent of the accident in question.
Claims for school accidents should be made as soon as possible in order to ensure that time limits are met and evidence is accessible. All personal injury claims must be made within three years from the accident date in order to be an eligible claim for compensation. However, if the child is claiming themselves and they were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the three year period begins on the date that the child turns 18. So effectively they would have until their 21st birthday before any potential injury claim would become time barred. The School owes an additional duty of care, a duty to protect.
When your child is at school, it is the responsibility of the school to ensure that the children are safe and are provided with a danger-free environment. As stated in the Occupiers’ Liability Act of 1957, an occupier of premises has a common duty of care to all visitors to ensure that they are reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which they’ve been invited or permitted by the occupier to be there. While people are familiar with this law in relation to shops or restaurants, it also applies to schools meaning there is a duty of care on behalf of the school to provide a safe environment for children.
However, not every accident which occurs within a school premises means that the school is at fault for your child’s accidents. Knowing exactly when the management of a school will be considered negligent can be complicated. Often, it is best to seek legal advice from a local Solicitor.