The 13-year-old claimant was helping to put away the trampoline at the end of a class. She was on one side with her teacher. Her fellow pupils were closing the other side of the trampoline, which is held under very high tension through springs.

The other pupils were told by the teacher that they had to close it in a controlled fashion and not let go of it. However they did let go of it and it snapped shut. The claimant put her right arm up to try to control the folding trampoline but it closed with such force that her arm was fractured.

The Judge found the school was liable under common law and the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 s 2(3). They had not discharged their duty in that the teacher had failed to adequately train the pupils in a safe method of closure of the trampoline and specifically failed to warn pupils of what to do in the event that the trampoline suddenly tried to spring shut.

Children needed more training than adults. The claimant should have been told she should move out of the way.

Judgment for the Claimant.

Gateshead County Court, 6 January 2009.

Another limitation success on deafness case

The claimant suffered noise induced hearing loss while employed by British Steel / Corus from 1979 onwards. During a medical examination, he told the ENT consultant that he had noticed it in about 1996/1997 in that he had buzzing in his ears after doing riveting, although this would go away after some time out of the noisy environment.

The time limit to start court proceedings is 3 years from the date you knew or should have known you had an injury caused by work. If you miss that limit you have to ask the court for discretion.

We served an amended Particulars of Claim stating that the date of knowledge was late 2004 on the basis that the claimant had had a works medical for hand arm vibration syndrome in November 2005 and said to the works nurse that he had noticed hearing loss for around 12 months. She conducted an impromptu hearing test and told him that it was noise induced, though there was no evidence of this in the occupational health records.

The Defendants claimed that they were prejudiced by the delay. However the Defendants had disclosed noise surveys for the entire period of the Claimant’s employment.

The Judge held that the claimant’s date of knowledge was at the latest 1999. However he granted discretion to the claimant on the basis that the prejudice to the claimant would be greater if not allowed to proceed.

Sheffield County Court, 17 December 2008.