Son Hit by Car Whilst at School

(138 Posts)
vivalavida Mon 10-Dec-12 13:53:37

Several weeks ago my 12 year old son was hit by a car whilst at school. The school is split across two sites with a rarely used single track road running through the middle. This is classed as a public highway although as I say very rarely used as it is not a through road.
My son was crossing at a blind spot with other children going from one lesson to another. They were unsupervised and this is normal practice. As my son stepped out of the blind spot to see if the road was clear, he was hit by young driver in her car. The impact was enough for him to smash the windscreen and he was taken to hospital.
Very luckily he walked away with only major bruising.
After a week off school and two weeks off sport he is now almost physically recovered, however we have now received contact from the driver asking for damages.
There were no direct witnesses to the accident apart from the driver's partner who was also in the car and my son's friend who is also 12.
It is still very difficult to ascertain who is ultimately at fault and we are reluctant to enter into a conversation without advice first.
The other issue is that the school seem non-plussed about the fact that our son has been injured whilst in their care, regardless of who's fault the accident was.
I really don't want to jeopardise his education by falling out with the school as he is happy there and doing well, however, if we do pay then we are admitting liability and may leave ourselves open to future claims.
Any advice would be greatfully received.

Yorkpud Mon 10-Dec-12 14:32:53

I would say even if they had a case (which I doubt they do) the school would be responsible as they are in charge of your son while at school. The school should have adequate safety measures in place if a road runs through the grounds as well. The school's treatment of you is not right either - seems like they know they could be in a lot of trouble.

Glad your son is OK now. Please try not to worry you really cannot be liable.

RedToothbrush Mon 10-Dec-12 14:35:17

Don't phone your home insurers as even enquiring will mean your premiums will go up (stupid but true even if you don't go ahead with a claim and use their services I believe). You son will be able to get good free legal advice from other places so its really not worth ending up getting out of pocket when there are alternatives.

meravigliosa Mon 10-Dec-12 14:36:18

Your son should get legal advice. Even if your son was negligent, I don't see on what basis you could be held responsible. Any decree that the driver got against your son would be worthless, assuming that your son has no assets of his own. Your son may be eligible for legal aid to claim damages from the driver, if it was the driver's fault rather than his.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Mon 10-Dec-12 14:37:37

Reply asking for the drivers insurance details and tell her you'll be making a personal injury claim.

Don't even respond to her ridiculous demands for compensation from the little boy she hit with car.

ThePoppyAndTheIvy Mon 10-Dec-12 14:40:38

All I can say is just to echo other posters. Your son, a child, was hit by a car. The car driver is always liable. Not only do you not pay this cheeky beggar's claim but you should get a good Solicitors letter sent in reply making it very clear that YOU will be claiming damages from HER!

Best of luck with it all & I hope your DS is recovering well. I have to say you seem much calmer than I would be in your situation grin.

sue52 Mon 10-Dec-12 14:40:43

I can't believe how greedy and immoral some people are! Hope your boy is not too traumatised.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Mon 10-Dec-12 14:41:37

"Don't phone your home insurers as even enquiring will mean your premiums will go up (stupid but true even if you don't go ahead with a claim and use their services I believe)"

Not true at all.

Don't be spreading stupid rumours around.

Insurance companies will provide you with a useful service should you need them to, even if you don't make a claim.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Mon 10-Dec-12 14:42:24

Of course pedestrians can be at fault in an accident! How silly that so many people think otherwise.

That's not to say the OP's son was at fault in this instance, as a child and in the situation described it seems unlikely.

However, surely your common sense informs you that just because you're travelling on foot you are not excused from basic road sense?

EuroShagmore Mon 10-Dec-12 14:42:26

This kind of thing is quite common, unfortunately. A friend of mine faced a claim after she was hospitalised while riding her bike when a car driver opened his door without looking. He claimed for damage to his door. shock That didn't get very far.

Really you should be looking for damages from the driver for your son. It's worth seeing a solicitor. It should be quite easy to get a "no win, no fee" deal for this.

TeamBacon Mon 10-Dec-12 14:43:43

shock

Bloody hell.. some people are bastards.

oxeye Mon 10-Dec-12 14:45:05

how very distressing for you and your son. However
(1) it is not certain that the driver is automatically at fault
(2) it is not certain that your son is automatically at fault
(3) it is quite likely that the school are at fault if they allow children to cross a road at a blind bend

you need legal advice either through your household/ car legal expenses insurance or elsewhere. If you don't have cover you can get no win no fee - pm me if you need names

it is not right that had anyone apologised (or even sent a card at the time) that would be an admission of liability. As human beings with a heart we always tend to apologise and say "i didn't see you" or "are you alright" that is NOT an admission of legal liabiltiy and I wish people (including police!) would stop suggesting it is and so making a normal human reaction be suppressed or seem wrong.

take care of your son. even if he is seeming better now a blow like that could have emotional or physical consequences still

Yes, not sure why everyone thinks the driver is always at fault. Dd and I were hit by a car as we crossed a road; police attended and didn't take it further. I broke my foot and it was awful for dd. Saw a solicitor as everyone told me to, and it was absolutely not the case that she instantly saw pound signs and stated the driver was liable. Didn't take it further, as we all ended up fine. Never had any contact from the driver.

Yes, driver not always at fault. I've had a group of idiot kids cycle into my car while playing chicken - I'd seen them playing on the road as I approached so slowed down to a crawl only to have one of them (aged about 9) deliberately drive into my wing causing a large dent.

Pedestrians in the road always have right of way and drivers have to anticipate and adjust to road conditions but if kids are deliberately fannying about then you're not automatically liable.

maddening Mon 10-Dec-12 15:21:39

Surely she should be claiming off school as he was in their care and moving between their grounds.

Also the school need to review the safety of this crossing - should it be moved from a blind spot? Would traffic lights help? Or a foot bridge?

I would be tempted to counter claim for injuries - more to prove the point that neither can prove fault as no independent witnesses. - can they work out what speed she was doing by the damage to the car? If she could be proved to be driving too fast -eespecially ignoring signs (that I am assuming the school have indicating a school crossing) that children may be crossing.

shesariver Mon 10-Dec-12 15:29:17

Why would it invovle falling out with the school? If he was going between lessons is there a risk assessment in place regarding this road, regardless of it hardly being used it was used at this time.

Plomino Mon 10-Dec-12 15:30:42

Definitely seek legal advice . From experience , having dealt with lots and lots of accidents through work , and dealing with collision investigation officers, I would suggest that in order to hit the windscreen with sufficient impact to smash it, means that the driver must have been travelling at too much speed to be reasonable , particularly with its proximity to a school. There is no way on this earth I'd be paying them a penny .

uggmum Mon 10-Dec-12 15:32:23

Years ago my sister was run over. We were all crossing the road, 3 adults and 2 children. A motorbike came down the road at speed and hit my sister on the wrong side of the road.

She was injured, lost all the skin off one leg from the knee down and from other areas of her body. The rider came off the bike but had no injuries. His bike was damaged.

Imagine our distress when my mum received a bill from the rider for a full set of new leathers and repairs to his bike!

Needless to say, after my Mum's response we never heard from him again.

I would counter claim immediately for your Son's injuries and distress.

GlaikitFizzogTheChristmasElf Mon 10-Dec-12 15:37:44

At 12 how is your ds going to pay any damages? I assume paper rounds don't pay very well!

I assume the police were involved. What is the outcome of their investigation?

I would be telling her to whistle! Chancer!

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 10-Dec-12 15:42:18

I've not read other replies so sorry if this is repeating what has already been said. In an accident with a pedestrian, and one the age your DS was, it's not automatic that they will be deemed liable given his age, even if he had been the cause of the accident. That said, it's up to the driver to establish fault against anyone they think has caused damage to their car. If they were approaching a blind corner, on a single track road between 2 schools, and had been driving at a speed which prevented them from avoiding a collision with a pedestrian who stepped out to check visibility, with the knowledge that there could be children around, then they'll have a job proving that they were not at fault for the accident. If I was dealing with someone who was driving the car in these circumstances, I would not recommend they pursue a claim for damages against the pedestrian as it's a massive thing to prove in these circumstances. One way to 'persuade' them to drop the claim, is to put a counter claim in for the injury your son sustained. That claim will affect their future NCD etc. and could be the one thing that will convince them they won't get far with this claim, and drop it.

PearlyWhites Mon 10-Dec-12 16:44:38

That's awful if anyone should be due compensation it should be your son. I am glad he wasn't more seriously hurt. Defo get legal advice.

I think I'd contact the school, get their help with this one- they must have a legal team, and as someone else UT commented they are in loco parentis during school hours. The road is obviously used regularly, there will be speed limits involved. Is it close enough to the school that there may be CCTV?

I cannot believe the nerve of this woman, I would be apologising, not trying to make a claim against the child I had hit! My sister got hit around that age doing her paper round, and the guy bought her a new bike!
I was hit by a reversing car which sprained my wrist. The car itself was a rental car and the company refused to get involved, but the Police did say there was a chance the driver would try and sue me anyway as "that's the world we live in these days" so I ended up feeling quite pleased he didn't!

Shocking and really hope your son is fine now

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 10-Dec-12 17:35:24

As this was an accident on a public road involving a car, that resulted in an injury, then the police should have been informed, at the time IIRC. If the driver has not done this, this is likely to be an issue. Insurers usually, but not always, will go with the police recomendation in the case. Have the Police been involved OP?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 10-Dec-12 17:39:51

Well I don't think they can make you pay anything. Even if it was found the accident was your sons fault as the school are in loco parentis then surely the drivers claim should be against them.

Years ago I ran a kid over, well actually she ran out from behind a hedge and ran into the side of my car. She made quite a dent in it. I was told I could make a claim against her parents as they shouldn't have let a 7yo be running around unsupervised. Of course I didn't.

I bet if you engaged a no win no fee solicitor they'd soon get compensation for your son. I think it would be hard to prove its a pedestrians fault. Especially if noo independent witnesses.

NannyEggn0gg Mon 10-Dec-12 17:43:52

You need to see a solicitor asap.
You also need to see what policy the school had in place re H&S and movement between buildings.
Their duty of care seems to be somewhat lacking here.

Aboutlastnight Mon 10-Dec-12 17:47:38

I'd just ignore it TBH.

It takes time, money and energy to pursue a claim like this - i reckon the letters will dry up if you just ignore it.

I'd only fork out for a solicitors letter if it looked like she was serious. What a cow.

I'd be having words at the school, though. It's shocking he got run over while in their care.

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