Injured Schoolgirl Not Entitled to Compensation Says Court of Appeal

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A pupil at a school in Somerset has been refused personal injury compensation by the Court of Appeal after she suffered a knee injury caused by slipping on a wet floor in the school’s assembly hall.

The injured girl brought a claim for personal injury compensation against the school on the basis that they negligently allowed pupils to walk directly in to the assembly hall after it had been raining during the morning break period, therefore allowing water to be deposited on the floor from wet shoes.  She argued that the wet floor represented an unacceptable slipping hazard which could have been easily avoided.
The school argued that it had not been raining at the start of the break period, but had commenced raining around 7 minutes later.  They had a system in place whereby pupils were not permitted to enter the assembly hall when it had been raining, and prefects were positioned by the fire doors to prevent this happening.  They also erected signs by the doors warning of the danger.  As it was not raining at the start of the break period there was insufficient time to put these measures in place before the Claimant entered the assembly hall.

The Claimant was unsuccessful at first instance but appealed to the Court of Appeal.  The Court unanimously dismissed the appeal, stating that there is no absolute duty on an occupier to prevent any accident from ever occurring on their premises.  A reasonable system was in place to prevent access to the hall in wet weather and the school management had properly assessed the risk to pupils.  Furthermore, the Court rejected the Claimant’s argument that the school staff should have cleared the water before pupils entered the assembly hall on the basis that the floor had been in place for many years, and in the 6 years since the risk assessment was carried out there had been no similar incidents.

This case highlights the difficulties which can be experienced in pursuing personal injury compensation in slip, trip, and fall cases, because although occupiers do have to try and keep people who are on their premises as safe as reasonably practicable, they are not able to stop accidents happening altogether.  It is therefore essential that any potential claim for personal injury damages is properly assessed by a Solicitor experienced in these types of cases, who will be able to advise in relation to the merits of the case and any potential for contributory negligence deductions.

If you have been involved in a slipping or tripping accident, whether on private premises or on the Highway, call Personal Injury Solicitor David Mayor now on freephone 0800 975 2463, or get in touch by email, for free expert legal advice.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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