Public and Private Schools Claims Case Studies
SCHOOL ACCIDENT ENDS WITH SURGERY
We acted for Isabella, a primary school student, who suffered injury at her school. Isabella and some other children came across a long metal bar in the playground and attempted to move it. In doing so Isabella suffered injury to her hand and she had to undergo surgery in hospital. Isabella’s parents instructed us and we brought a successful claim on her behalf. A lump sum settlement will be invested on Isabella’s behalf until she turns 18 years of age.
STUDENT HIT BY GOLF BALL
We acted for a 22 year old man who was injured at school when he was 13. He suffered a brain injury when he was hit in the head by a golf ball during the lunch break. A fellow pupil threw the golf ball. Just before the golf ball was thrown, a supervising teacher had seen the group of boys with the golf ball and asked them to put it away, rather than confiscating it. Our client brought a claim for compensation against the boy who threw the ball, under the boy’s home and contents insurance policy and against the Department of Education in relation to the conduct of the supervising teacher. Both defendants denied liability. There was a risk that the Court would not find negligence. In spite of the brain injury our client managed to complete his schooling and to complete a Bachelor of Commerce and is now doing a Master of Finance. The claim was successfully settled out of court.
SCHOOL BOY SUFFERS BURNS
We acted for a 14-year-old schoolboy for the 3rd degree burns he received to more than 75% of his body in a school accident. Our client and other students were at the school playing field for afterschool football training when the accident occurred. A teacher from the school was the coach. The teacher marked the field lines by pouring accelerant on the grass from a tin in which he had drilled a small hole in the lid and then lighting the grass with a match. Although there were a number of witnesses – it was difficult to determine exactly how our client got injured as witnesses provided different accounts of the accident. Some witnesses stated our client picked up the tin of accelerant and was pouring accelerant on the flames when the tin exploded. Others, including our client, said the explosion happened when our client kicked the tin away from approaching flames. We interviewed each of the witnesses.
The school accepted the actions of its teacher were negligent but alleged our client was also partially responsibility for the accident. We engaged an adolescent psychologist to give an opinion on the unpredictability of teenage behaviour as support that our client did not contribute to his own injuries.
A large out of court settlement was reached over 2 days of mediation. Prior to the settlement we obtained, via the Court, interim payments to allow our client to purchase a home suitable to his needs while waiting for his case to be finalised. Claims were also successfully brought for the nervous shock suffered by each of our client’s immediate family members.