Case Study: Child Loses Fingertip in School Accident

Master C was awarded £14,000

The case:

Ten-year-old Master C was entering his Primary School building via a heavy, metal door when he got his right ring finger trapped in the door, which closed on him without warning, severing part of his finger.  His parents discovered that the door had no door closer fitted, and felt the local education authority had been negligent towards the safety of the children at the school.  They decided to make a claim and got in touch with YouClaim. 

The Claim:

We wrote a letter of claim addressed to the local education authority, the defendant, stating the family’s intention to claim.  As Master C was a minor, his case had to be handled by a litigation friend: an adult who can conduct proceedings on his behalf.  The family decided that Mr C, Master C’s Dad, would be the litigation friend. 

The letter of claim was passed to the defendant’s insurance and risk management team, who passed it to their insurer.  The insurer admitted liability on behalf of the defendant. 

Medical Evidence

We obtained Master C’s medical records and arranged for him to be assessed by an independent Consultant Hand and Plastic Surgeon, who provided a report on his injury and a prognosis. 

The report confirmed that Master C was left with a permanent loss of length of the right ring finger, a permanent scar, a permanent abnormal shape and distortion of the shape of the nail.  It recommended that Master C manage his scarring by rubbing the tip of the finger with moisturising cream and that he may benefit from desensitisation of the finger.  It also suggested that further surgery to the scar might be needed in order to increase the padding over the bone of his right ring finger if the desensitisation treatment wasn’t effective. 

Mr C confirmed that Master C suffered permanent pain from the injury, which was particularly touch and weather sensitive, but that it had not affected his ability to take part in sporting activities or other hobbies, bar playing piano. 

Determining a Compensation Award:

We started to put together a Schedule of Past and Future Losses and Expenses – a document that listed the quantifiable losses Master C had suffered as a result of his accident and any expenses he may incur in the future.  This included an estimate for the surgery that the Consultant Hand and Plastic Surgeon had suggested.  She also instructed a Barrister to provide advice as to how much Master C’s claim was worth.

We, with Master C’s Dad’s authority, then served all the evidence that had been gathered on Master C’s case, and used this to encourage them to make an offer to settle the claim. 

The defendant’s insurer responded that they would like to get their own quotation for the surgery before making a decision on an offer.  After careful consideration and with Master C’s Dad’s authority, we made a time-sensitive offer in the interests of settling Master C’s case quickly. 

Final Settlement

After some vigorous negotiation, the insurer agreed to a final settlement of £14,000.  Master C’s Dad confirmed they would accept the sum and was delighted with the settlement Deborah had been able to achieve. 

As Master C is a minor, his settlement had to be agreed by the Court, by way of an Infant Approval Hearing, designed to ensure that a minor’s compensation is not under-valued.  We arranged for Court Proceedings to begin and for a Barrister to represent Master C and his Dad during the Hearing.  The District Judge conducting the hearing approved the settlement figure and the family offered their thanks to us, saying: “Many thanks for all your help these past three years or so. Your communications and advice have always been excellent, and I thank you for your diligent handling of our case.”

If you think you have a claim, get in touch today on 0800 10 757 95 or read more about school accident claims here.