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Oakwood Solicitors

Educational Negligence

Has your child suffered a psychiatric injury
due to educational negligence?

  • Solicitors firm with over a decade
    of specialist experience
  • No-Win, No-Fee
  • No upfront cost
  • Friendly and approachable
  • Just under £1 million recovered
    for clients in the last 12 months
  • Free initial consultation

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The Experts in Educational Negligence Claims

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source.

Do I have a claim?

When exposed to high levels of stress over a period of time, there is a risk that this may damage someone’s mental health to the extent that medical help and support is required.

All education providers have a broad duty of care to those they provide education for. This duty include a legal obligation to take practical measure to support both the physical and mental health and wellbeing of students.

In an Educational Negligence claim, compensation is pursued in the County Courts against an education provider who has failed in their legal duties to keep their students mentally safe at School/College/University despite being aware that there were risks present causing harm to that student’s health.

How do I make a claim?

Before deciding on whether making a claim is the best option for you, it’s important to seek some initial legal advice. Here at Oakwood Solicitors, we offer a free assessment and would be happy to look over any documents you have and discuss with you whether we thought there were merits to a possible action.

If you find a Solicitor who is of the view that your claim does have merits, then it is important to also consider the impact to your health that taking a claim forward may have.

Litigation can be a stressful process and may have an adverse impact on your health. We are not doctors, so we cannot give you medical advice, but are under a duty to advise you that pursuing a claim will be a reminder of the stress that led to your psychiatric condition whilst the claim is ongoing.

Please also note that the only outcome to a successful claim is financial compensation. You may see the litigation as a mechanism for obtaining answers but the majority of cases settle out of Court, which may result in many of your questions remaining unanswered.

You may be advised by your doctors that you will only be able to make a good recovery from your illness once you are able to move on from the issues in question. The litigation may, therefore, delay your recovery. The decision to proceed must be your own, in conjunction with your medical advisors.

If you agree to proceed forward with a claim, then our team will be happy to explain the process in further detail with you.

How much is my claim worth?

One of the legal requirements is evidencing that you have suffered with a recognised psychiatric condition. If so, you would be able to claim compensation known as general damages – this is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.

Assuming that the symptoms do meet the necessary criteria, then the Court uses guidance called the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines (JCG) as a starting point, which takes into account the following:

  • The injured person’s ability to cope with life and work.
  • The effect on the injured person’s relationships with family, friends and those with whom he or she comes into contact.
  • The extent to which treatment would be successful.
  • Future vulnerability.
  • Prognosis.
  • Whether medical help has been sought.

The relevant section of the JCG which covers claims for psychiatric injuries has four brackets of compensation as follows:

  1. Less severe – Usually where the duration of symptoms are usually less than twelve months, and the extent to which the symptoms have affected someone’s daily activities and sleep is low level (£1,440.00 – £5,500.00).
  2. Moderate – Usually where the symptoms have affected someone’s daily activities, life, work and relationships but where the medical evidence opines that good progress towards recovery will be made by the time of Trial. The extent to which treatment will assist in the recovery of symptoms, together with someone’s future vulnerability to relapse is also considered in this bracket (£5,500.00 – £17,900.00).
  3. Moderately severe – Usually where the symptoms amount to a disability affecting someone’s life in a permanent or long-standing basis, preventing a return to comparable employment (£17,900.00 – £51,460.00).
  4. Severe – The most extreme of cases, where the outlook for someone’s recovery is extremely poor (£51,460.00 – £108,620.00).
    Although every claim is different, most cases of this nature fall within either the moderate or moderately severe categories.

The Court also takes into account similar cases that have been to a Trial in order to determine where within the above brackets of compensation a case, in particular, may fall.

Separately to the above, if a diagnosis of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is made, then the Court has additional guidance.

In addition to general damages, you can pursue compensation known as special damages – this is an award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as loss of earnings, travel expenses, medication costs, treatment costs, etc.

You can make a claim for both past losses and any anticipated future losses. This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific.

How long do I have to make a claim?

For School and College claims where you are under the age of 18, claims for psychiatric injury must be made within 3 years of your 18th birthday.

For University claims where you are over the age of 18, you must have commenced proceedings within 3 years of your date of knowledge that you have suffered an injury as a result of the educational issues. Usually, we advise that this time limit runs from the first time you seek medical advice from your GP, but limitation is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unsure about your own time limit then we would be happy to help advise you if we’re able to support you with a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is educational negligence?

Educational Negligence covers a wide range of issues someone may suffer either at School, College or University.

Negligence is the legal term of where an error or mistake to follow processes or procedures is made which has, in turn, led to someone suffering with ill health and commonly with their mental health.

Educational Negligence may occur in a number of different instances, such as:

  • Failure to reasonably deal with, and / or resolve an issue with bullying;
  • Failure to reasonably deal with, and/ or resolve an issue with harassment;
  • Failure to refer a child who has additional needs to an outside body such as educational psychologists, learning support or the local authority, etc. both in a timely manner and in accordance to their need(s);
  • Failure to implement reasonable adjustments for a child with or without additional needs appropriately, at all or within a reasonable time frame.

A claim for Educational Negligence is where someone is able to recover compensation for the impact to their health the issues at School, College or University has had. Compensation can also be recovered for any linked financial losses.

What do I do if I’m suffering with ill health due to educational issues?

The most important thing above any claim you may have is in maintaining your own health – this must be the priority.

If you are concerned about how you are coping with the issues, we would encourage you to speak to your GP and seek specialist advice. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge surrounding the issues of mental ill-health.

At your School/College/University and before any issues escalate, do try to speak to someone who may be able to help you and who you feel able to confide in. They will be able to signpost you to any internal support programs available and/or advise how they can best support you from a practical point of view.

If you feel as though you have tried to bring the issues to your education providers’ attention and you are still suffering with ill health, we would be happy to discuss the matter further with you.

Please get in touch for a free and confidential assessment if you feel as though you would benefit from some legal support.

How long will my case take to run?

In theory, the case could settle any day from day one, but on average, cases are usually resolved within twenty-four months from when we are first instructed.

Would I have to go to court?

If the case did not settle, then ultimately the matter would proceed to Court where a Judge would make a determination. Most cases, however, do settle out of Court, so although this is an unlikely eventuality, we cannot rule it out as an impossibility.

If you do have any concerns about this during the process of your claim, then we would be happy to discuss this with you and address any concerns you may have.

How is my case funded?

There can be a number of ways to fund your legal fees. Subject to individual assessment, the most common method to fund a claim of this nature is by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is often referred to as a ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ Agreement.

This means that if the claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay us anything towards our costs, subject to compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement in place.

What should you do if you think you have a claim?

If you believe or feel you have a claim contact us for a free initial consultation regarding your options.

Jessica Rowson
Jessica Rowson - Director and Head of Psychiatric Injury

Jessica Rowson started as a Paralegal at Oakwood Solicitors in July 2010, qualifying as a Solicitor in September 2013. Following her qualifying as a Solicitor, Jessica established a niche department dealing primarily with Stress at Work claims.

She was promoted to Assistant Head of Department in 2014 and took over as Head of Department in 2016, where she broadened the scope of the department to cover a wider range of claims focused on Psychiatric Injury.

In December 2017, Jessica was promoted to Director following over seven years of service and dedication to the firm.

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