Keeping Your Child Safe at School

In April 2014, both the Manchester Evening News and The Yorkshire Post reported that schools in the Greater Manchester area and Yorkshire had paid out £1.5 million and over £1 million pounds respectively for personal injury claims.  Payouts included:

• £22,000 to a student injured in a school activity in Tameside
• £8,000 awarded to a pupil in Rochdale after goal posts fell on him
• £9,494 awarded to a child who was injured after being pushed by another child
• £35,000 paid to a student in Leeds who suffered a broken limb
• £16.000 awarded to a pupil injured during a science experiment

Wayne Dunning, from ELAS Health and Safety Consultants, who compiled the reports detailing school personal injury claims stated;

“These figures are shocking and clearly not enough is being done to protect children in schools from what are, in the main, preventable accidents. Health and safety is not being managed properly in the education sector and this is costing taxpayers millions, not only in direct compensation, but also additional hidden costs from administration. It’s clear from the nature of the accidents that many areas are being overlooked by school managers and teachers, not through any fault of their own, but because they haven’t received the necessary training required to identify the potential risks and hazards that may prevent an accident”.

Responsibility for safety standards

In light of these figures, parents maybe asking themselves, “who is responsible for safety standards at my child’s school, and what can I do if I feel that the standards are not high enough?”

According to the UK Government website, every school should have its own health and safety policy document.  Parents should be able to access and read this document at anytime.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

If your child is involved in an incident at school you can report it to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) who will investigate the situation and may prosecute the school if they find there was negligence.

In June 2013 Manningtree High School in Essex was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £1,641 in costs after pleading guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to adequately protect pupils against the risk of falls.  The incident in question involved a 14 year old pupil falling from a climbing wall while participating in lead-climbing, and fracturing his heel bone.  The HSE found that the school did not have an adequate safety management system in place for lead-climbing and that the instructor who was present was not competent to teach or supervise the activity.

Injuries in schools

According to HSE statistics slips, trips and falls account for around 40% of all injuries recorded in schools.

However, although it is important to keep children safe and protected from major harm, many adults react strongly to any push towards a “cotton wool culture” for children.  People recognise the importance of free play and the need for children to learn risk-assessment by actually taking the odd risk.

In 2012 the HSE released a high level statement emphasising how important play is for children’s development and wellbeing.  Its key message to play providers (which includes schools) was ‘Those providing play opportunities should focus on controlling the real risks, while securing or increasing the benefits – not on the paperwork’.

The balancing between the need to take risks in order to learn and keeping vulnerable children safe is something both parents and schools struggle to maintain.  However, you have a right to expect that your child will be safe at school and be protected from serious physical and psychological injury while they in their school’s care.

You could be entitled to make a personal injury claim, more detailed information can be found here. To speak to someone now about your claim, call us in complete confidence on 0845 345 4444, or fill in this contact form and we’ll get straight back to you.

The Great British Pothole Problem

What do you get if you mix together a recession and a few years’ of cold, wet winters? The answer is potholes, and they are becoming an increasing cause of personal injury and sometimes even death on British roads.

So why are potholes becoming such a growing issue? What hazards do they cause to road users, and what can you do if you suffer a personal injury caused by a pothole and wish to make a claim?

Increasing on Britain’s roads

Potholes are caused by a combination of sun, cold, rain and vehicles. The constant stress of traffic and sun beating down on a road, over time causes the asphalt to crack, which in turn allows snow and rainwater to enter into the cracks and mix with the gravel and dirt underneath. The water then freezes, causing the cracks to expand, pushing out some of the gravel and dirt from under the asphalt. When the ice melts this leaves a hole, which grows bigger as traffic continuously drives over the rupture, fatiguing and straining the affected area even further.

However, Britain has just experienced a mild winter hasn’t it? Yes, we may have experienced moderate temperatures, but the winter of 2013/14 has been officially confirmed as the wettest on record. Unfortunately, even when the climate is relatively warm, excessive rainfall and flooding can eat away at the roads, causing potholes and other types of damage. Couple this with cuts to council budgets allocated to road repairs and it is clear why personal injuries caused by potholes are on the increase.

Personal Injury

Thousands of people suffer vehicle damage caused by potholes every year. However, potholes also contribute many instances of injury and even death on our roads, with cyclists and motorcyclists being particularly vulnerable. According to cycling charity groups, more than 1000 cyclists are injured every year due to unrepaired potholes.

Just a few weeks ago, a coroner investigating the death of a cyclist in North Yorkshire in 2011 ruled that in his mind, “there was no doubt whatsoever the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause of the accident”. The cyclist had been taking part in a fundraising event when his bike hit a deep pothole and he was thrown into the path of an oncoming car and killed instantly.

If you are injured and you believe your injury was caused by pothole in the road, it is important to take the following steps. This will help you make a personal injury claim against the council responsible for the maintenance of the road where the accident occurred:

•  Take a photograph of the road and the pothole itself. Try to show a sense of scale in the photograph by placing a ruler or tape measure inside the pothole to illustrate its depth.
•  Measure the pothole’s dimensions, its position (i.e. is it close to the kerb) and note any other defects in the road.
•  Take photographs of your injuries and any damage to your vehicle or bike.
•  Report the incident to your local council.

Local authorities are aware of the dangers of potholes and most make every attempt to fix them as soon as they are discovered or reported. However, always take special care when you encounter one on the road, especially if you are riding a motorbike or a bicycle. It is also important to report the pothole to your local authority to prevent others from sustaining nasty injuries if they fail to see the hazard.

Stay safe on holiday this summer

Everyone looks forward to a summer break, but every year many British tourists suffer injuries or illnesses abroad that could have been prevented. This article from leading personal injury solicitors, Injury Lawyers 4U, offers some helpful advice on staying safe this summer and explains what to do if an incident occurs.

Hotel safety

All kinds of accidents can happen in hotels, from slips and trips on uneven pathways to diving into shallow swimming pools with inadequate warning signs. You’d be surprised how many people fall off hotel or apartment balconies each year, too! Of course, not all hotel accidents are the proprietor’s fault, so it’s important to take extra care to avoid any incidents happening to you or a family member.

Road safety

Road accidents are one of the most common types of accidents abroad, often due to issues such as unfamiliar road layouts, substandard road surfaces and unsafe vehicles. If you’re on foot, always exercise extreme caution when crossing the road as rights of way may not be the same as in the UK. And if you hire a vehicle, check that it’s roadworthy before you drive it away. Mopeds should be avoided if possible.

Food and drink

Holidays abroad are a great opportunity to sample new cuisines, but foreign hygiene standards aren’t always up to scratch. Avoid eating in roadside establishments or from buffets where the food has been kept warm. And watch out for ice put in drinks or used to chill food, as it may be made from impure water.

What to do if something goes wrong

If you’re injured in an accident abroad that wasn’t your fault, or contract an illness such as food poisoning, you can claim compensation just like in the UK. Dealing with an incident abroad can be daunting, but Injury Lawyers 4U are here to help.

Here’s what you need to do whilst you’re still on holiday:

  •  – Get medical treatment for your injuries or illness.
  •  – Report the incident to the police if necessary.
  •  – Tell your tour operator about the incident, if applicable.
  •  – Gather as much evidence as you can, e.g. witness names and addresses, or photographs of the incident site.
  •  – Keep all relevant paperwork, especially medical documents such as hospital receipts or discharge paperwork.

Then, call Injury Lawyers 4U on 0845 345 4444 or fill in the short form on our website. We’ve handled hundreds of successful accident compensation claims for overseas incidents and you can trust us to help you get all the compensation you deserve.

Had an accident? Choose your lawyer carefully

Adverts for personal injury solicitors and accident claims management firms are everywhere these days – from TV and radio to newspapers, magazines and website banners. But not all these services are the same. It’s important to make the right choice if you’re to get the best advice and all the compensation to which you’re entitled.

This article from leading accident lawyers Injury Lawyers 4U offers some helpful tips on choosing the right provider.

Look for a specialist personal injury service

You may already have a lawyer, perhaps a local firm that’s handled your will or provided a conveyancing service to you in the past. And whilst you may feel loyalty towards them, it’s often better to appoint a firm that specialises in personal injury law to handle your claim. That way, your case has the best possible chance of success.

Check out the firm’s credentials

All companies and law firms offering claims management services must be regulated by the Ministry of Justice or SRA respectively, so checking their registration is an obvious starting point. But it’s a good idea to look beyond this and find out what other reassurance they can offer that your case will be handled correctly and ethically.

For example, all member firms of Injury Lawyers 4U are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. There are no ‘middle men’ looking to profit from your injury, just experienced solicitors dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve.

Make sure there’s no obligation to proceed

It should never cost you anything to get a solicitor’s opinion on whether or not you have a valid accident claim. At Injury Lawyers 4U, you’ll always receive impartial, confidential advice, after which you’re free to choose another solicitor if you wish.

Contact Injury Lawyers 4U today

We make it easy to find out if you can claim compensation for your accident. Just fill in the short form and a lawyer will call you back. Or, call us at any time of the day or night on 0845 345 4444.

What To Do If You Have An Accident

It has been an extremely sobering experience reading the recent news coverage of the new report into the failings surrounding the response to the Hillsborough disaster a quarter of a century ago. Even 25 years later, the grief and loss suffered by those relatives and friends of the 96 piece who died is a raw reminder that when disaster strikes it is most often sudden, unexpected and has a lasting impact.

The fact that the victims were people going about a regular part of their routine, in this case going to watch a football match, brings it into even sharper focus that nobody expects an accident to happen. Even the most simple and seemingly safe pastimes can have shocking consequences in cases where something goes drastically wrong.

Of course this particular story is newsworthy for many varied and different reasons and the search for justice for the victims whose names were besmirched in the subsequent enquiries has been a long and draining struggle for those involved.

However, even the most simple and straightforward everyday accident such as a mishap in the workplace, a collision on the road or a slip or fall in a public place can lead to a situation that adds stress and complications.

If you suffer an illness or injury brought on by an incident of some kind that is not your fault and where the blame may lie with a third party through their own actions or negligence, you may well find that you have grounds to claim financial compensation.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that any accident injury or subsequent related illness will provide the basis for a successful claim but in many cases there is either an insurance policy in place or redress available through the court system.

This is an extremely complex and detailed area of law however, and it is often very difficult for the layman or woman to successfully navigate all the procedures that are involved on their own behalf. Apart from this, taking on such work is often the last thing that anyone who is recovering from an accident needs to do; especially when their time could be put to much better use by ensuring their recuperation.

So the best course of action to take if you feel that you might have the basis for a successful claim is to contact a firm of specialist lawyers who work exclusively in that particular area. Most general ‘claims companies’ take on a wide range of different insurance related work and as such do not have the specific skills that could make the difference to winning or losing your own unique case.

Obviously the very last thing people like to think of they go about their daily business is the possibility that they may be unlucky enough to suffer an accident. If the worst comes to the worst, it is well worth knowing what actions you can subsequently take to make sure things move forward in your own best interests.