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

School Accidents

Accidents at school – is it time for common sense to replace red tape?

The new coalition government is determined to slash the amount of red tape it considers to be an unnecessary part of health and safety legislation and inject a more ‘common sense’ approach to safety, particularly in environments where children are involved. The new proposal, named ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, aims to reduce the amount of paperwork teachers have to complete as part of risk assessments, including the 12-page document needed before a school trip can be organised. They claim that health and safety laws originally designed for dangerous industries are now being applied to everyday jobs and activities that were previously regarded as ‘non-hazardous’.

Has H&S gone too far?

The general consensus of the report is that, particularly where children are concerned, the health and safety legislation has gone too far. Headline-grabbing reports on how games of Conkers have been banned as a potential health and safety risk or that children are missing out because school trips are just too much hassle to organise due to the amount of ‘red tape’ involved have all led to the current health and safety legislation being called into question.

The changes are part of a flood of reforms proposed by Lord Young’s report. But where does that leave the parents of children that have been hurt in accidents while at school or engaged in outside activities? If the health and safety legislation really does become more relaxed, will this mean an inability to claim compensation if a child is hurt or injured whilst in the care of someone else?

Relaxing the laws could leave children vulnerable.

This is the one aspect of the report that does concern some quarters. While everyone agrees that perhaps some of the more draconian legislation needs to be revisited, there is still some concern that too much relaxation of the laws could leave children vulnerable to unnecessary accidents. Some schools may have over-reacted to the possibility of being sued for personal injury compensation by refraining from activities that could be construed as ‘hazardous’ including a sport’s day sack race. They cite a ‘climate of fear’ as the reason, rather than assessing the real risks involved.

Another proposal by Lord Young for ‘fixed rate’ compensation levels for road traffic accidents also has implications for other areas, including accidents involving children at school. Observers are worried that, while some of the proposals are justified, others could represent a swing in the opposite direction, denying victims and their families the compensation that they actually deserve. The Unions are also worried, with the TUC describing some of the proposals as a ‘grave disappointment’ that could result in health and safety improvements in many workplace environments being ‘thrown into reverse’.

Finding a middle ground.

Whatever the outcome of Lord Young’s proposals, the issue of child safety while under the care of professionals such as teachers and youth workers remains a contentious one. Parents want to feel safe in the knowledge that their children are as safe as possible without imposing too many restrictions on their normal activities. Carers, teachers and officials are still concerned at the prospect of being sued for personal injury. It is to be hoped that a common ‘middle ground’ can be found where those who have been injured get the compensation they deserve without the climate of fear imposing too many draconian health and safety issues on what should be the best years of a child’s life.

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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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