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Proving blame in child related accidents

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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When a child is injured, or dies in an accident, and there is someone to blame for that accident, pursuing compensation is often the last thing on the minds of the parents. However, taking action against the party that is to blame isn’t just about money, it’s about justice and making sure a similar incident doesn’t happen to someone else’s child.
 
It’s also about ensuring there is adequate financial support to pay for care and treatment for as long as it’s needed.
 
Fatal fall from tower block leaves parents devastated
 
When 14 year old Jovanni Peddie died after falling from the sixth floor of a tower block in southeast London, his parents and siblings were devastated. His aunt said his death was a “tragedy” and commented that faulty windows on the estate were to blame: “The fall was an accident waiting to happen,” she said, as the windows in the block weren’t secured properly.
 
Police are investigating and if those responsible for the maintenance of the tower block are found to have neglected their duty of care to residents, they could be faced with a claim by Jovanni’s parents.
 
Kent canoe accident: Could someone be to blame?
 
Last month in Kent, a 14 year old boy died in a canoeing accident on the River Medway near Maidstone. The boy got into difficulties when his canoe capsized and he was unable to right himself. His friend managed to pull him from the canoe but couldn’t get him out of the water. The boy was taken to hospital but later died.
 
Although it isn’t possible to comment on whether anyone was to blame for the accident at this stage until the police have completed their investigation, in some cases like this, lack of supervision or inadequate training could be cited as contributing to or being responsible for the accident. If this can be proved, a claim against the organisers or hire company could be successful.
 
Fatal road traffic accident: Witness appeal to ascertain cause
 
At the end of April, a seven year old girl died when the vehicle she was travelling in collided with another on a road in Gwent. Police are appealing for witnesses to help them ascertain the cause of the accident. It may be the driver of the other vehicle was to blame, in which case the parents of the girl who died may pursue them for compensation. There could of course be other reasons for the accident such as a vehicle defect or perhaps an issue with poor highway maintenance. Any cause that stems from negligence can be grounds for a compensation claim.  
 
In all these cases, ascertaining the cause of the accident forms the first stage of the investigation. Following on from this, if blame can be apportioned, as well as a police and/or Health and Safety Executive prosecution, a case can be taken up by the families of the children who tragically lost their lives.
 
It’s very important to choose a claims lawyer with specific experience in taking these cases as far as they need to go; sometimes the organisations cited as negligent will try to deny responsibility and in most cases can afford high quality legal representation for their defence.
 
The personal injury specialists at Stephensons have long term experience and an excellent success record where pursuing claims for accidents involving children and fatal accidents are concerned. Having fought cases against a range of organisations, including large companies and local authorities, they have a notable reputation. Call 0844 245 6601 to speak to an expert in complete confidence.
 
By personal injury solicitor, Kate Sweeney
 

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