Where accidents occur due to health and safety lapses by public authorities it is only right that compensation is payable. In one case, a boy who was seriously hurt by broken glass when he dived for a football in a public park won the right to substantial damages.
The boy was aged 12 when he landed on a shard of glass which caused a nasty cut and permanent nerve damage to his hand. In suing a local authority on his behalf, his lawyers argued that there was a constant and ongoing problem caused by vandals breaking bottles in the park and that the risk to children was foreseeable. His claim was nevertheless dismissed by a judge.
In upholding his appeal, however, the High Court found that the council’s defence to the boy’s claim should have been struck out prior to the trial. In breach of a court order, it had failed to provide details of risk assessments in respect of the park, its site management plan or inspection records.
The judge’s conclusions on the evidence that was available could also not be supported and, in those circumstances, judgment was entered in the boy’s favour. The amount of his compensation remained to be assessed, but his lawyers had valued his claim at in the region of £200,000.