Student settles claim for injury at private school from leaking roof – $80,000 plus costs

PUBLISHED 18 Jan 2018

Our client, a student at a prestigious private high school, suffered injury during a sports class when he was advised to play sport in an indoor gym due to wet weather.

The teachers at the school were aware of the leaking roof over the indoor gym but nevertheless allowed our client to play sports within the gym.

Our client suffered injury when he ran on the wet floor and slipped and slid into a wall of the gym. As a result he suffered injury.

Our client spent time in a full leg cast for a number of weeks followed by rigorous physiotherapy. Luckily our client’s injury has healed well although he is likely to have ongoing problems well into the future when osteoarthritis sets in. He may require a knee replacement in his 50s or 60s and his compensation has reflected an allowance for this future likelihood.

Our client and his mother instructed us to try and resolve his claim informally without having to commence proceedings against the school as the client was still a student at the school and did not want to create any animosity.

Negotiations took place wherein the insurer for the school agreed with a figure that both Gerard Malouf & Partners and our barrister believed was reasonable in the circumstances.

Due to the age of our client the matter needs to be court approved by a Judge at the District Court.

Court Approved Settlements

This step applies to any matters for persons under the age of 18 and also persons with a mental incapacity to make decisions for themselves.

An application called a “Summons” needs to be made to a District Court Judge to make sure the settlement is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

The Judge requires an Affidavit from both the instructing solicitor and the “next friend or tutor” of the applicant. The “next friend or tutor” is someone who assists the applicant to make decisions in the best interest of that applicant.

The Judge will review the Affidavits, together with the medical evidence attached to the Affidavits, to make a decision as to whether the matter should be approved for settlement.

If the Judge approves the settlement then it will be a full and final settlement for compensation for the subject incident.

If the Judge does not approve the settlement the parties will need to obtain further evidence and/or participate in a further settlement conference to improve the settlement so that it can be resubmitted to the Judge for his or her determination until approved.

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