should I claim against the school after a childs brain injury

(103 Posts)
shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 12:43:55

My dilema is that my son has been left with permanent double vision after a friend demonstrated a wwe move on in 4 years ago which put him in hospital. He has had double vision on and off ever since, but on the 9th September just gone his single vision just went on him and he has had double vision ever since. He has been seen at Morfields and we were told that he has this for live and nothing can correct it. He has since gone on to secondary school since the injury but the primary school know all about it. This injury was done in the dinner line. I have been back for a second hospital appointment and I was told one again that it could not be corrected and that the double vision stems from a brain injury most certainly caused by the trauma to his neck. The problem is my daghter still goes to the school, and I have always supported the school. I am not sure what to do, obviously this double vision has had a dramatic effect on him, he can only read 36 font size and now writes like an infant, so I need to try and sort a statement for him or laptop. We might have to consider a school that specialises with sight loss.

Snowfedup Sun 17-Feb-13 17:02:07

Hi sorry if this is not helpful but shocked that he has been left with permenant double vision - does it go away if he closes either eye - is his vision good in each eye separately and only poor with both together - I work in a small eye clinic and am sure moor fields have tried everything ? We used an occlusive contact lens with some success in one patient with intractable double vision !

Maryz Sun 17-Feb-13 10:52:58

ironhorse, if you had broken your back and been in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, would you have claimed?

This isn't a short term problem, which can be fixed. This is a life-changing event which has turned a healthy child into a permanently disabled adult. Yes, he may be able to overcome much of the disability, but he will never have the life he would have had.

DoctorAnge Sun 17-Feb-13 09:46:16

OP were there any witnesses to what happend?
Why on earth wasn't it reported in the accident book?

Your son sounds like an amazing, happy young man. With an attitude like that he will go far in life despite his impairment I'm sure.

I got 20k when I sued for breaking my leg on a dodgy pavement. It was a severe break which impacts on my life to this day. I'm glad I had the money but I'd rather have my old leg back.

I think you should at least look into it with a solicitor Op. This will impact upon his life, there's no harm in consulting a solicitor. I assume you're in London if he was treated at Moorfields. The solicitor I used was in Camden if you'd like a recommendation.

WandaDoff Sun 17-Feb-13 04:16:22

YY Greensleeves

Chubfuddler Sun 17-Feb-13 03:39:07

That's not true floggingmolly. Injuries do not have to be permanently disabling, or even disabling at all, to be compensatable.

And insurance payouts do not come out of premiums - insurance companies invest premiums in the shares and currency markets for huge returns. This is what insurance is for for goodness sake. Insurance companies really have done a marvellous number on people if they aren't claiming compensation because they fear premiums going up.

Floggingmolly Sun 17-Feb-13 00:28:12

If your injures are not permanently debilitating you can usually only sue for loss of earnings, I think, garlicbreeze? The fact that her salary was paid would be taken into account in court.

garlicbreeze Sun 17-Feb-13 00:11:10

Ironhorse, why did you not try to claim?

Your pay was probably covered by your employer's insurance, as it goes, so you did benefit from somebody's policy. I used to think the same as you about collective responsibility not to push insurance premiums higher through enthusiastic claiming. Then I was forced to rely on my insurances, and soon found out how good they are at limiting their liability! I've no idea how people manage to get massive payouts for slipping on a wet pavement (if those reports are even true.)

I agree here with Greensleeves - a boy's life has changed course quite dramatically, and it's more than reasonable to find out whether his future can be made easier by calling on existing funds (the insurer's.)

Greensleeves Sun 17-Feb-13 00:00:21

This is exactly WHY people pay for insurance

With respect, this little boy has suffered long-term effects well beyond the fallout from your accident. The course of his whole life has changed.

I feel for the adults who were supervising the lunch queue too, and for the Head who sounds very decent, and for the other child and his parents. It's a terrible blow for all of them.

But this is no time to let sentiment and guilt get in the way of getting what is best for a little boy whose life is going to be permanently altered and who is going to need all the financial support he can get. It's just money at the end of the day - and this boy needs it more than the insurance company does.

ironhorse Sat 16-Feb-13 23:54:54

maryz i was in a car accident where my car rolled twice and landed on its roof, the roof ended up at the height of the headrests, the other driver thought he had killed me it was so bad, i had lots of cuts and bruises and needed a neck brace for a month and then needed physio because of my sore back, physio went on for about 9 months, i was off work for a month after it happened but i got full pay from my work so wasnt out of pocket. i didnt claim anything from the insurance for injury because it was an accident and at the end of the day it was one of those things....

everyone is saying the insurance pays out, they dont really - everyone who has insurance pays out as premiums go higher to cover any pay outs. how do you know the school is insured? how do you know the local council is not self insuring? mine does so the money comes out of taxpayers pockets in reality.

garlicbreeze Sat 16-Feb-13 23:36:01

legal advice you get after discussing the details with them ... with your own lawyers, not the insurer's! Sorry.

garlicbreeze Sat 16-Feb-13 23:33:33

A lot of informative posts here! Interesting to hear about the Irish system. While I agree with Maryz's posts, I'm still recommending cautious process.

As Passme wrote, It will be the school's insurance which covers any successful case but the investigation is likely to become personal and damaging. This is why I didn't claim against my employers (huge company) for the psychiatric injury they inflicted on me, which certainly did wreck my life. The initial procedures were so stressful, they made me too sick to continue.

Your situation is totally different, shequeen - for one thing, you're sane! - but you know yourself and how well you withstand 'attack'. Insurers have good lawyers, whose job is to save their employer money. Everything will depend on the legal advice you get after discussing the details with them, so choose a good source. As others have said, there's a very helpful legal board here where you may be able to get recommendations.

Once again, good luck and best wishes.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 23:19:26

I agree that all the help should be automatic, Passme.

Unfortunately it often isn't. Even seeing the fight people have to get DLA is quite daunting. Also, he will only get DLA if he stays in the UK - if he tries to travel the system is quite different in other countries.

If they can win a court case and get a lump sum it could seriously improve his prospects of education, of travel, of opportunities abroad. All the things we take for granted for our children would suddenly become available again.

I know it would be hard on the supervisors - but it is also very hard on the boy. He is only 14. This will follow him for the rest of his life.

Chubfuddler Sat 16-Feb-13 22:35:19

Wannabe every single thing you describe as available to the ops son would cost either the state or a charity money.

Now that's absolutely fine if a pure accident, but if the injury is down to negligence the at fault party (or their insurer) should pay.

Passmethecrisps Sat 16-Feb-13 22:32:44

Can I start by saying welcome to MN and how sorry I am that something so horrid has brought you here.

I completely and utterly understand the desire to sue here - it's not about apportioning blame but ensuring the best for the child. I do, however, think there is something very wrong that people who suffer serious injury need to sue to ensure they get the best care and access to the best resources. These things should be automatic.

Anyway, with the best will in the world I cannot see how suing the school can not impact on the relationship. A successful case would prove negligence - an argument that surely the school would dispute.

I am a secondary school teacher and I hav occassionally manned lunch queues. They can sometimes run to over a hundred children and even with sergeant major style stomping up and down the line it would be nigh on impossible to pre-empt something such as this.

The following factors come to mind:
How many staff were manning the queue? Are there LA guidelines about this and were they met?
What did witnesses say? Did any member of staff see the initial horseplay? If not, why not and if so what did they do?
Has anything like this happened before?
What care did your child get immediately after? Could faster/more appropriate care have prevented the injury?

It will be the school's insurance which covers any successful case but the investigation is likely to become personal and damaging. It will focus almost solely on the one or two staff on lunch duty.

I understand your will 100% but I am not convinced it will ease your pain at all.

alfrex Sat 16-Feb-13 22:28:53

I completely agree with Maryz on this. If the injury has caused permanent impairment, then I would go for the largest possible sum of money and have no qualms about it whatsoever. The insurance company can afford it.

OP's DS is going to need support, aids, practical assistance of every kind in order to level the playing field between himself and his peers. Having the money to provide for him without worrying about costs will help him in every aspect of his life, for the rest of his life. That is exactly what damages awards are for.

I think OP sound quite the opposite of bitter and angry. I am surprised by her calm rational attitude, I don't think I would be this reasonable.

wannaBe Sat 16-Feb-13 22:24:49

notactuallyme depending on the level of visual impairment the op's ds could be entitled to higher rate mobility component DLA and lower rate care component but the higher rate mobility will very much depend on the level of vision (needs to be less than 6/60 iirc).

If needed he could purchase a screenreader (jaws retails at approx £800, windoweyes at slightly less) or he could use one of the now free ones (NVDA has good reviews but I've never tried it), or alternatively he could buy a macbook which already has built-in accessibility, as do iPhone/iPad.

In terms of a reader at uni he would be entitled to this and is likely to have some help from the university on this anyway.

Travel: yes sometimes taxi's may be necessary but he may choose not to go this route in which case he would be entitled to a free bus pass nationally and if he lives in London (which I assume he might if he's been at moorfields) would be entitled to a freedom pass which enables free travel on the underground and mainline trains out as far as kent.

Training with a guide dog is free (well it costs 50p for the dog) so that is a non issue in financial terms...

Sparklingbrook Sat 16-Feb-13 22:19:38

Good luck shequeen x

shequeenb Sat 16-Feb-13 22:19:11

Once again thanks to everyone for your advice. I will let you all know what I decide to do with all this .

Soditall Sat 16-Feb-13 22:18:53

Op I agree with so many other posters your son sounds like an amazing young man and if I was you I would get good legal advice and sue.

If it happened in the dinner queue we need some dinner ladies on here giving their opinion as to how easy or difficult it is to supervise a line of hungry 10 year olds! If there's loads of them sayig that this shouldn't have happened then maybe investigate legal action.

Catsdontcare Sat 16-Feb-13 22:17:43

IMO if you seek legal advice and are told you have no case then at least you know where you stand and you can move forward. You won't always be wondering whether you should have investigated it or not.

True envy

I think it depends on the cover and which company you use. I know for example that the cover the kids get through Chill is slightly different to the bog standard policy Aviva mass sell directly through the schools. And you're certainly covered for a lot more if you pay your extra few euros for 24h cover.

I know accidents resulting from high risk activities and sports are excluded but I think if the same accident had happened here it would be covered, probably a percentage of the set amount for 'loss of sight in both eyes'

Anyway, that's all irrelevant if the child wasn't covered, sorry shequeen.

Maryz Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:14

It was 17 years ago Chub. I doubt the even had incident books in Tesco at the time. Of course I would have hospital records, but no evidence as to where it had happened.

Your system sounds better than ours.

I'm not sure (as we are recipients) that dla would stretch to all that wishlist.
I agree with everything maryz has posted, and so won't reiterate it.
op I wish you and your son a peaceful decision and resolution.

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