Many parents have faced the situation where their child has suffered an injury at childcare or school. Kids can be unpredictable and bumps, falls, knocks and injuries generally are common. We expect that this will happen from time to time, but it’s a different story if the injuries occur because of the negligence of others.
Duty of Care
Schools owe a duty of care to their students to take care of the wellbeing and safety and to avoid students being injured.
For the most part schools do a fantastic job of providing a reasonable standard of care. However, if mistakes happen and the school does not uphold its duty and a child is injured, the school may be liable to pay compensation to the student.
When will a school be found liable?
In order to make a claim you must prove that the school did not uphold their duty of care and that as a result your child suffered an injury.
Generally a school won’t be found negligent if a child is injured in the normal course of playing. But a school may be liable where the injury has occurred as a result of negligence, such as failing to properly supervise the children, or if there are unsafe buildings or equipment or where a school doesn’t take adequate steps to protect the students.
For example, a NSW school boy was awarded compensation when he fell down an uncovered drain in the playground and suffered injuries to his arm and a psychological condition.
What about bullying at school?
Bullying is a topical issue, and advances in technology and social media means bullying can be relentless and affect children in and out of school. This can be hard to manage, but what about cases where a child was bullied repeatedly and complaints to the school went unheeded?
Generally a school may be liable for physical or psychological injuries where a school knew or should have known about the bullying and failed to take action within a reasonable timeframe to address the bullying. The school needs to take measures such as implementing a bullying policy, acting upon complaints of bullying and supervising, disciplining and counselling the perpetrators.