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OTHER ITA SITES:
Is It Ethically Right To Sue For Accident Compensation?
Is it ethically right to sue for compensation? Yes, I believe it is, as my son had to have his finger amputated because of an accident at his school. If we had not sued then the school may have done nothing to prevent an accident like this happening again and he would not have been compensated. This is my true story:
When my son was 10 he used to walk home from school across a large field. The school had a large 6ft high iron fence with spikes at the top which went all the way around. There was a gate at the back which was the shortest route to the estate we were living on. Unbeknown to me at the time the iron fence would swell up in the summer making the fence stiff and difficult to open. In the morning the children could manage to kick the gate and lean on it enough to open it, but at home time this was a different matter as they couldn�t physically pull the gate open. Often the children would give up and walk around the front of the school. On the day of the incident my son�s class were kept in late as someone was messing around. One of my sons� friends was in a rush as his mother was strict about him coming home on time. They all headed for the gate at the back of the school. As usual the gate was stiff and they were having trouble opening it. Rather than use the other way out which would have cost them more time, my son decided to climb the fence with the idea of pushing it open from the other side (he had done this before apparently). As he was turning around at the top of the gate a teacher saw him and shouted for him to get down. This made my son jump which made him loose his grip and he started to fall; as he fell he tried to grab the top of the fence to stop his fall but the spikes ripped into his finger. His shoe was on the top of the fence and it was only by a miracle that he didn�t rip his foot of and it was only his finger.
The teachers then came out and saw his finger hanging off and immediately called an ambulance and myself. At the time I was using the internet with dial up which meant the school could not reach me. Not long after there were some urgent knocks on my door. I opened it to see three of my sons� friends telling me that my son had had a bad accident and to call the school. I could tell it was serious by the look of their faces so I called the school immediately. They told me the ambulance was already there and should they keep it waiting till I got there. I suggested I would meet them at the hospital. I got to the hospital before my son and saw him being wheeled in. He showed me his finger and it is a sight I will never forget. His finger was hanging on by one or two veins, the bones and the inside of his hand were visible and there was blood everywhere. The rip went from the knuckle right down through the centre of his palm. He was so brave and calm I couldn�t believe it. His teacher looked worse than he did! The doctor said he had to go to an orthopaedic hospital which was an hour away. I could only go in the ambulance with him if I was alone. I had my youngest son in toe and my looser of an ex partner would not help by looking after his own son for a few hours. So I had to leave him in the ambulance by himself follow the ambulance in my own car.
On arrival of the orthopaedic hospital we sat waiting for a doctor; I was a total mess crying uncontrollably. My son was so brave and grown up I couldn�t understand how he could be so cool. After a while he started crying. I stupidly asked him why he was crying he replied �it�s because you care so much�. Bless him! He was only upset because I was upset! What a star!
That night he went into theatre and they tried to save his finger but the damage was too bad and they amputated his finger from just below the knuckle. When he woke the next day his hand was all bandaged. He didn�t believe it was gone as he thought he could feel it still. But a few weeks later he had the bandages removed and he could see for him self that he had lost his finger.
The day after the accident we were let out of hospital and I went straight home to get my video camera. I went back to the school and videoed the whole scene. The gate was opening with great ease which was stange and then as I filmed I could see the fence had been fixed. I then went to speak to the head. He was upset for me and basically said it was his fault as the incident happened on school premises and he didn�t realise the gate was stiff. I told him obviously I would be seeking compensation for him and he shrugged and said that obviously he would be against me on that but he could understand why I would be sueing.
Months later and a court appearance later we won the case, it was touch and go as the school didn�t admit liability. In end he was awarded �8000. We took 25% of the blame because �he should have known better�, although this was my solicitor bowing down, I would have fought for the lot, but it was a stressful time and I was glad it was over. Luckily the video footage was a very useful piece of evidence and was shown in court.
The money is still in a special account and he will be able to have it once he turns 18. He is a very sensible child and is planning on using it as a deposit on a house or university fees. As much as we would rather have his finger back it is nice to know he got compensated and got this bit of security in the bank.
I believe I had every right to sue for compensation as it was the schools fault as if the fence wasn�t stiff there would have been no need to climb the fence. Now gate is fixed there is a warning signpost about climbing the fence. Also my son is used as an example when warning the children about climbing over fences etc. We both suffered because of the accident and for me, winning the compensation was justice and it made me a lot happier. My son was happy too as �8,000 is a lot of money for a young child. I wanted at least �20,000 but maybe that was wishful thinking.
It was quite a stressful time and we were very nervous about going to court but I had the belief that this was not his fault and we should be compensated. The only regret I have is that now my son wants to join the army in the engineering department but because of his missing right index finger he will not pass the medical and get in. I don�t find this much of a problem as I wouldn�t want any of my children joining the army. But he does and is at times annoyed that we didn�t bring this up in the court. We were asked about his further plans and at the age of 10 he wasn�t thinking of joining the army so it was never mentioned.
So my advice to anyone thinking of suing for accident compensation is just do it! If the case goes to court it might be a bit stressful but it will be worth it in the long run. And remember to think ahead to any possible problems the person with the accident might have in the future. And get as much evidence yourself as soon as you can and speak to a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
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