School claims only for "genuine neglect"
Surrey schools have paid out tens of thousands of pounds in accident compensation to injured pupils and parents over the past five years, including sums for whiplash, according to a Freedom of Information disclosure.
Although, predictably, slip and trip accidents accounted for large number of no win, no fee claims, a high number of the claimants, including one whiplash claimant, sustained their injuries during the course of physical activities, such as ball games.
The Freedom of Information Act disclosures reveal that although there were 92 attempts to claim compensation from Surrey schools between November 1, 2001 and October 31, 2010, only 12% of these actions have so far resulted in payout.
A personal injury solicitor commented on the disclosure, saying, "Accidents do happen, especially among kids and notwithstanding the best endeavours of teachers.
"I have worked for defendants as well as claimants and I would say the majority of cases are settled out of court.
"All I can say is when looking at the figures, themes emerge - a successful outcome claiming against a local authority is by no means straightforward and the system does not encourage claims."
A spokesperson for the National Union of Teachers echoed this view when he said that "genuine neglect" should be met with a claim, whether for whiplash or any other type of injury. He also said that "reputable lawyers" would advise against a claim in cases where litigation would be inappropriate.