Moffat & Co Solicitors

Moffat & Co Solicitors
Accident Compensation Claim Solicitors Scotland
PO Box 28287
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH9 2WU
Telephone:
0131 662 6988
Fax:
0131 667 8175

MASS Motor Accident Solicitors Society

Moffat & Co Solicitors Over 25 years of experience at your service

Accidents In Schools

Are Schools becoming More Hazardous Workplaces?

When most people consider a school, they imagine an environment that is safe, where teachers work with children to expand their horizons and encourage their learning abilities. Of course there are hazardous areas where accidents are more likely to occur such as the playground, but most of suppose that, if an accident is likely to happen, it will probably involve children. However, figures released by the National Association of Schoolmasters a Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) has released figures that the school environment is potentially more dangerous for teachers than for pupils.

In 2009, nearly £8.8million was paid out to NASUWT members in the form of compensation for accidents that occurred on school premises across the UK. In some cases, compensation was paid out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, although most were paid out by other insurers. But what situations have led to these considerable sums being levied as compensation?

Interestingly, pupils themselves have directly contributed to these figures. Special needs teacher, Sharon Lewis, was awarded £279,709 after being assaulted by a pupil. During the altercation, the pupil jumped on her, causing her to fall and hit her head. As a result, she suffered the debilitating symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and back and neck injuries. In another case, a teacher in the West Midlands was awarded £112,000 after sustaining arm and shoulder injuries whilst attempting to prevent a 13 year-old pupil attacking another pupil.

While these incidents are extreme in their nature, other compensation awards have been made for situations that could easily have been avoided. One of the largest out-of-court settlements made to an NASUWT member was to a teacher in St. Helens who injured her spine and hip after slipping on a patch of mud whilst walking between school buildings. Another teacher was awarded £23,000 after slipping on a newly polished floor.

The General Secretary of NASUWT, Chris Keates, said that, "it is of deep concern that many of the claims could have been avoided if employers at school and local authority level abided by their statutory duties and responsibilities." He went on to say that, "whilst the sums of money involved might seem very significant, no amount of money can compensate for no longer being able to pursue your chosen career."

In the majority of these situations, the responsibility of the premises falls at the feet of the governing body – usually the local council. As the ‘occupier’ of the premises, they are responsible for a number of factors such as the general condition and maintenance of the building, suitability of fire precautions and risk assessments in areas where hazards are a potential. Failure to comply with the legislation laid down by the Government can result, as we have seen, in costly law suits and compensation claims.

While some of the claims made may seem to be for situations that could have been avoided, the blame does not lie in the hands of the teachers. As Chris Keates said, "Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money could be saved every year if all employers took their legal responsibilities seriously."

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Testimonials

Since contacting Stan I was continously informed of the development and progress of each step of my claim. Stan was persistent and patient throughout the whole process and reassured me he would win me the compensation I deserved - and he was true to his word. I am extremely happy with the outcome of my claim and this is all thanks to Stan.

Sarah

My case was dealt with personally by Stan Moffat and what a brilliant guy. His office contacted me personally by telephone at the start of my claim to explain who they were and what they would be doing for me. All through the case I was kept fully informed of all actions either by e-mail or by letter and reassured by Stan several times of any queries I had.

It is very seldom that a solicitor will take the time to speak personally at any time with you without getting run through secretaries etc. I commend this man for that as this was a very upsetting and important time for me and he did everything in his power to make this as easy and as swift as possible for me.

I highly recommend the service that this firm brings and the speed that they move at.

J McMahon

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