Playgrounds up and down the country are a great place for children to play with their friends, enjoy the outdoors and burn off some energy! As well as being fun places, playgrounds should be designed and maintained in a way that keeps all users as safe as possible. In fact, they have a legal duty of care to do so. As a result, if you or your child is injured in a playground accident because of damaged equipment, missing safety equipment or a lack of maintenance, you may be entitled to compensation.
In this article about claiming compensation for being injured in a playground accident, we’ll explain when you could claim and how the claims process works.
Our claims advisors and personal injury solicitors can help if you need advice on your options. During an initial consultation, a specialist advisor will listen to what’s happened and advise you on your chances of being compensated for a playground accident. If your claim appears strong enough, we could refer you to one of our personal injury lawyers. If you agree to them representing you, they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis.
Would you like to talk with a specialist about starting a claim? If so, please call us on 0800 652 1345. Alternatively, please continue reading if you’d like more information about when you could be compensated following a playground accident.
Can I claim compensation for an accident in a playground?
Local authorities, schools and other entities that operate parks and playgrounds have a duty of care to try and ensure that visitors are as safe as possible from injury. To try and achieve this, they need to follow safety protocols and procedures to eliminate as many dangers as possible.
Before a personal injury lawyer will offer to represent you in a playground accident claim, they’ll want to be sure that there’s a reasonable chance of compensation being paid. To do this, they’ll try to confirm that:
- The defendant breached their duty of care because they were negligent; and
- An accident in a public playground occurred as a result of that negligence; and
- You or your child (the claimant) was injured in that accident.
Once your solicitor has established that you or your child was owed a duty of care, they’ll then look at any proof you can supply to show what caused the accident and the injuries that resulted from it. We’ll explain what proof you could use a bit later on.
Causes of playground accident claims
So, let’s now look at what types of negligence could entitle you to compensation for a playground accident. Many claims that we deal with are made because:
- The layout or the design of the playground did not meet the required standards.
- Safety measures had not been installed alongside playground equipment (or it was missing).
- Play equipment was damaged or faulty.
- Furniture, gates or fences in the playground were damaged.
- Regular safety inspections of the playground had not taken place.
- Playground equipment had been installed incorrectly.
- Old or aged play equipment had not been maintained or replaced.
- Equipment with known faults had not been cordoned off or removed.
There are several entities that could potentially be sued for personal injuries from an accident in a playground. The most common is the council or local authority but in some cases, claims might be directed at schools, academies or housing developers (where control of the playground hasn’t been handed over to the local council).
Whatever sort of playground accident you or your child has been involved in, we could help you claim damages. Please call today to see if one of our personal injury solicitors could represent you.
What personal injuries could compensation be claimed for?
Any type of injury sustained in a playground can be upsetting and cause problems for you or your child for weeks, months or even years to come. There are certainly too many potential injuries to list here but some of the most common that might lead to compensation include:
- Cuts, bruises and soft tissue injuries.
- Strains or sprains.
- Ligament or tendon damage.
- Head and brain injuries.
- Injuries to the spine.
- Broken bones.
- Mental harm.
- Dislocated joints.
Again, it doesn’t matter what type of injury has been sustained, if it was caused by the defendant’s negligence, we could help you to claim compensation. If you’d like us to review your playground accident claim for free, please call our team today.
Providing proof for playground accident claims
Whether you claim for an accident in a school playground or if you claim against the local authority, your case is likely to be passed to the organisation’s insurance company. Almost certainly they will only pay compensation if it’s clear that their client was negligent in some way and caused the accident you’re claiming for.
You could supply many different forms of proof to help with this process including:
- Photographic proof. If the accident was caused by some form of defect it’s a good idea to take pictures of it before it’s repaired.
- Accident reports. You should always report the accident to the council/school/business as soon as possible. This means the incident will be logged and your copy of the report could be used to prove the date, time and location of the playground accident.
- Medical notes. If you or your child was treated at a GP surgery, minor injuries unit or hospital, you could contact them later on to request a copy of your medical records. Notes and x-rays from your appointment could help to show the extent of your injuries.
- Witness information. If anybody else was present when the accident happened, ask them for their contact details. To help establish how the accident occurred, your solicitor might ask any witnesses for a statement at a later date.
- Video evidence. If the playground was covered by CCTV, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the footage. Data protection laws allow this but you should act quickly as recordings aren’t usually retained for too long.
We also suggest that you keep a note of how you’ve been affected by your injuries. For example, it might help if you diarise when you couldn’t work, any social or family events you missed or any costs you’ve incurred.
One of our advisors will review what proof you already have in an initial consultation about your playground accident claim so please call 0800 652 1345 to see if you have enough to proceed to a claim.
How much compensation for an accident in a playground?
The process of preparing your compensation claim can be quite time-consuming. To start with, your solicitor will use the Judicial College Guidelines to place a value on your injury (general damages). Then you’ll need to work out if you’ve incurred any costs because of your injuries (special damages).
It’s important to consider how you’ve already been affected and what the long-term impact of your injuries might be. This is especially true for children’s playground accident claims where the victim has been left with a disability.
While every claim is unique, yours could be compensated for:
- How much pain and suffering your injuries and treatment have caused.
- Any loss of amenity (explained here). For example, a child who broke their foot could claim if their injuries prevented them from playing football with their friends as they usually would.
- Care costs for a professional carer or the time a parent needed to care for their child.
- Lost earnings and any future loss of income.
- The cost of making changes to your home to help deal with disabilities caused by your injuries.
- Travel expenses.
- Rehabilitation costs (physiotherapy for example) and medical expenses (including private medical care).
If you decide to work with one of our solicitors, they’ll review your suffering in full detail to try and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the compensation you might be eligible for. Please get in touch if you’d like more information on how we could help you to claim.
Playground accident claims time limits
You might already know that there is a 3-year time limit for personal injury claims. However, this does not apply if your child has been injured in a playground accident.
That’s because a parent or guardian can claim at any point before the child turns 18-years old, as explained below. The only time the 3-year limitation period would apply is if you don’t claim on your child’s behalf. In that situation, your child would have 3-years from their 18th birthday to submit their own claim.
Our advice would be to begin the claims process as soon as possible. By doing so, the claims process would typically end sooner and mean compensation would be awarded earlier. An early start would also make it much easier for your solicitor to collect evidence and arrange for medical reports to be prepared.
Where the defendant has admitted liability for the accident, your solicitor might ask for an interim payment so that you or your child could receive private medical care to help speed up the recovery process.
Playground accident claims involving adults are usually quite straightforward for personal injury solicitors as the claimant can deal with things one to one. However, children injured on a school playground, for example, are not able to represent themselves legally.
However, parents, guardians and other responsible adults can become their litigation friend so that the claim can still be made. Our solicitors can help with this process. Once everything is set up, the claim can proceed in almost the same way as any other injury claim.
As a litigation friend, you’ll deal with the claims process in your child’s best interests. That means dealing with solicitors on their behalf and making decisions for them. If the claim is won, the amount of compensation will be reviewed by the courts to ensure it is fair.
Once the claim is settled, any compensation will be held in a court account until the child turns 18-years old. However, as a litigation friend, you are able to request funds from the account by writing to the court and explaining how the funds will help the child.
No Win No Fee playground accident claims
We believe that the training and experience of a personal injury solicitor can improve your chances of being compensated for a playground accident. However, there’s no doubt most people wouldn’t hire a solicitor if they had to pay for their work upfront. That’s why our team provide a No Win No Fee service for all accepted claims.
If your claim is taken on, and you decide to continue, you and your solicitor will sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will formalise the fact that your solicitor will work on your case without being paid in advance.
It will also show you the percentage of your compensation your solicitor will deduct as a success fee if your case is won. The success fee is used to pay for your solicitor’s work and cover their expenses. Legally, it can be no higher than 25% of any settlement amount you’re paid when using a CFA.
Would you like to check if you could claim for a playground accident on a No Win No Fee basis? If so, please call to find out more.
Start a playground accident claim today
We hope that our article has helped and you now know whether you’d like to take action or not. For free legal advice and a review of your chances, please call our advisors now on 0800 652 1345.
If your claim is accepted, one of our solicitors will do all they can to try and secure the highest amount of compensation for you or your child.
Should you have any further questions about playground accident claims, please connect to live chat to discuss them with us, or request your free consultation here.