Negligence claims against schools

Negligence claims against schools

Co-authored by Alexandra Partington, Graduate

When you send your child off to school, you trust that they will come home safely. What happens when instead, your child arrives home hurt?

Schools owe a duty of care to their students to avoid them being injured in a way that is reasonably foreseeable. If a school breaches this duty by not providing a reasonable standard of care, and a child is injured, the school may be liable to pay compensation.

To successfully claim against a child's school, it needs to be proven that the school was at fault because their negligence caused the injury.

Proving negligence can be challenging! Children can be unpredictable and risks within a school may not always be foreseeable.

However, if for example the school did not adequately supervise students, or was aware of risks to students because of unsafe buildings or dangerous students, but didn't take adequate steps to protect other students, negligence may be able to be established.

In order to claim any compensation for pain and suffering experienced by the child, the injury must reach the legal threshold called 'significant injury?. Injuries are assessed in accordance with Medical Guides that give percentage impairment ratings for different injuries.

In these type of claims, the required rating is 5% for spinal injuries, more than 5% for other physical injuries and 10% impairment for psychiatric injuries.

Before the impairment is assessed, the injuries must be stable - meaning they are not likely to improve or worsen. As it is difficult to assess whether a child's injuries are stable when they are still growing, it is useful to consider the correct time to sue bearing in mind the time limits that apply. Claims are often brought by parents on behalf of their children. Once a child reaches the age of 18, they can bring claims in their own right, within certain time restrictions.

Even if a child does not meet the'significant injury' threshold but the injury was caused by negligence, a claim may be brought for out of pocket medical expenses, loss of earnings of the child (if they were working) and time taken by family to care for the child.

If your child has been injured at school through the fault of another, the team at Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers would be happy to provide you with clear and concise advice as to the merits of bringing a claim. Call one of our expert lawyers for free advice on (03) 9321 9988.

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