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Tom1234 12.09.2019 15:27

Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
This one is a bit strange in my opinion but it may be because of my misunderstanding of the system here.

Here's the scenario:

At school, in a school lesson, the children are put in pairs by the teacher, and one is blind-folded and the other is told to guide the blinded-folded child around.

The child being guided by my son falls down some stairs (why was this being done near some stairs?).

The child damages his teeth. Luckily it's not serious but the child needs some dental work at some cost.

The school says the claim must be made on the child's insurance. The child's insurance asks whether another child was involved and this is where my son comes into it and the insurance company wants to claim on our insurance.

I heard about this today when the boy's mother phoned me and wanted to discuss as she thought it was all a bit strange. I do too.

What I need to ask:
  • Don't schools have some sort of liability insurance?
  • Why aren't they accepting total responsibility for this?
  • Why is my son involved in the legal side of things? What if it were a group activity?
  • The teacher claimed they didn't see it actually happen. What was she doing?
  • Why did she allow this potentially fatal situation to occur?
  • Why are we hearing about this from the parent and not the school?

I'll be seeking clarification for this and I also appreciate there's probably no cost for us but the whole thing suggests that the school are shirking any responsibility and I don't find that acceptable.

Comments?

*Before any of you go red in the face and starting spitting fury, no one is asking for any compensation at all -just trying to clarify the situation.

Belgianmum 12.09.2019 15:37

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
From my experience the schools here are no longer responsible for taking out accident cover for children in their care.
They used to have to have it but this was changed a few years ago and we received a letter about it at the time.

As such any claims made are by the parents of the child involved to their own insurance company. The school is no longer involved in this process.

I would hope that an accident report would have been made by the school at the time but the only people informed of it would have been the people directly involved, in this case the injured child and their parents.

As for why it was allowed to happen, that is something you need to take up with the school.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 15:40

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
So in that case, the child's insurance company should be claiming off either their own insurance, or the teacher's insurance, as she was surely more responsible than my eight-year old? (Both morally and legally).

Belgianmum 12.09.2019 16:01

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3099948)
So in that case, the child's insurance company should be claiming off either their own insurance, or the teacher's insurance, as she was surely more responsible than my eight-year old? (Both morally and legally).

In my opinion they should either be claiming from the teacher’s insurance as she was the one ultimately responsible or failing that the child’s own accident insurance should pay. I don’t really see how they can claim it was your son’s fault unless he actively pushed him down the stairs.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 16:10

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 3099965)
In my opinion they should either be claiming from the teacher’s insurance as she was the one ultimately responsible or failing that the child’s own accident insurance should pay. I don’t really see how they can claim it was your son’s fault unless he actively pushed him down the stairs.

Those were my thoughts. Thanks.

Sandgrounder 12.09.2019 16:12

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Maybe the school have put the spanner in the works with their "version" of the accident?

Can you ask for whatever report they submitted, if there's one? Maybe they "conveniently" shifted the blame?

JudgeFred 12.09.2019 16:28

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Actually I believe this is correct. This is a form of defense against the litigious nature of society that we have in the UK, Ireland and the US at the moment. Such accidents go over private accident insurance not the insurance of the institution. It is the reason why everyone here has to have their own accident insurance and are strongly encouraged to have third party liability insurance.

I for one think it's actually quite good to prevent situations like we have in some countries now where kids are not allowed to run in schools, sports clubs can't pay for insurance and business with any form of outdoor activity have to close down because of prohibitive insurance rates.

This situation your insurance pays up, it's a normal liability issue and everybody goes on about their lives.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 16:48

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JudgeFred (Post 3099981)

I for one think it's actually quite good to prevent situations like we have in some countries now where kids are not allowed to run in schools, sports clubs can't pay for insurance and business with any form of outdoor activity have to close down because of prohibitive insurance rates.

As long as this doesn't go the other way and schools don't accept their responsibilities for the safety of the children in their charge.

Quote:

Originally Posted by JudgeFred (Post 3099981)

This situation your insurance pays up, it's a normal liability issue and everybody goes on about their lives.

It would appear you are incorrect.

I've just spoke to my wife and she mentioned another incident which we discussed with the insurance company.

If the uninjured child doesn't willingly cause the injury (which would be the case here), the injured child's insurance pays.

EdwinNL 12.09.2019 16:53

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
If your son was old enough to understand the situation and be given such responsibility he has to pay up if he screwed up his responsibility (well the insurance), if not the school has crossed the line and should pay up.

The blind kid suddenly taking 3 steps forward while he must have understood he should not do such, making it too hard for your kid too stop the accident from happening makes it the boys own problem.

Not certain about the exact laws, but this makes the most sense to me in the Swiss system. I'd say get the actual story clear and call with your insurance how they think of this.

And have a firm word with school about how such idiots they are for allowing such situation to happen.

JudgeFred 12.09.2019 16:57

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3099987)
As long as this doesn't go the other way and schools don't accept their responsibilities for the safety of the children in their charge.

I think this is a contentious issue in general. The schools here expect the children to learn some level of self responsibility. They are not permanently molly coddled and accidents are allowed to happen like when we were all kids. I think this is much better than the alternative where kids are not allowed to be kids and end up getting fat because of it and schools are basically controlled by insurance companies rather than by teachers.

I will accept that this situation sometimes goes to far. In swimming pools for example you often see that life guards are not well trained and do not observe the pool permanently and there are what would be considered in other countries not enough to cover the areas they are patrolling.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3099987)
It would appear you are incorrect.

I've just spoke to my wife and she mentioned another incident which we discussed with the insurance company.

If the uninjured child doesn't willingly cause the injury (which would be the case here), the injured child's insurance pays.

Willing to accept that. But either way it's either liability or accident which pays. But what you said makes sense.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 16:58

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by EdwinNL (Post 3099990)
If your son was old enough to understand the situation and be given such responsibility he has to pay up if he screwed up his responsibility (well the insurance),if not the school has crossed the line and should pay up.

The blind kid suddenly taking 3 steps forward while he must have understood he should not do such, making it too hard for your kid too stop the accident from happening makes it the boys own problem.

What age is that?

Quote:

Originally Posted by EdwinNL (Post 3099990)

The blind kid suddenly taking 3 steps forward while he must have understood he should not do such, making it too hard for your kid too stop the accident from happening makes it the boys own problem.

Surely this sort of activity should be undertaken in a completely safe place?

Belgianmum 12.09.2019 17:00

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3099992)
Surely this sort of activity should be undertaken in a completely safe place?

Which in my opinion means nowhere near any stairs.
The teacher was irresponsible in this instance.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 17:04

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JudgeFred (Post 3099991)

I will accept that this situation sometimes goes to far. In swimming pools for example you often see that life guards are not well trained and do not observe the pool permanently and there are what would be considered in other countries not enough to cover the areas they are patrolling.

The lifeguard at the Badi where we used to live here spent 3/4 of his time behind a wall, at the furthest point from the water, smoking.

I nearly made a formal complaint but thought that perhaps that's the way it's done here. Who knows?

A youth diving from the diving board knocked himself out and was luckily saved by another swimmer.

In this case the lifeguard did lose his job.
I feel bad for not making a complaint about his behaviour before this incident abut didn't want to be accused of being the interfering foreigner.

Next time I won't make that mistake.

Do what's right - not what is easy.

Sandgrounder 12.09.2019 17:05

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 3099995)
Which in my opinion means nowhere near any stairs.
The teacher was irresponsible in this instance.

We used to do a similar activity with our scouts but we made damn sure they were not going to injure themselves or wander out into the traffic or anything first. OK, they used to trip over their own feet and land in a heap on the floor but that's a far cry from spilling down a flight of stairs.

EdwinNL 12.09.2019 17:05

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3099992)
What age is that?

Here, I have no clue, surely your insurance would know about age-appropriate responsibilities, I can only come up with very clear examples like a 2 year old burning down the building since one gave him wood and matches to lit up the heater but don't know about a hard legal line.
Quote:



Surely this sort of activity should be undertaken in a completely safe place?
completely safe is a bit boring, just walking in a table or wall is not that bad (depending on the height of the table ;) ). But giving the option to do it near open stairs is out of my boundaries of what is acceptable.

araqyl 12.09.2019 17:15

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JudgeFred (Post 3099991)
I will accept that this situation sometimes goes to far. In swimming pools for example you often see that life guards are not well trained and do not observe the pool permanently and there are what would be considered in other countries not enough to cover the areas they are patrolling.

Actually, to get a job, life guards have to be well trained - there are several levels to the training, and it's only at the second level that they can have any responsibility as life guards (the first level is general first aid, sufficient for getting your driver's licence). To be in charge of a whole centre, you need to be on the third or fourth level (generally depending on the size & number of pools).

Zurich pools have similar levels of life guard coverage to those in Australia.

For reference: I have worked as a swimming teacher in several pools in Switzerland, and many pools in Australia, and have also done some life guard training in both countries (as well as a lot of swim teacher training, which is obviously different).

That said, you will always find some who are (or appear to be) more relaxed about their jobs. One of the best life guards I know used to look like he was more than half-asleep on the job, but he knew what was going on at all times.

ch2013 12.09.2019 17:35

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
I am pretty sure your accident insurance has seen 1000's cases similar to yours so they should know where the responsibilities lie.

If you don't agree you can always challenge it - do you have legal insurance by any chance?

One thing I realized real fast here is that the schools absolve themselves of *any* responsibility wherever they can.

Belgianmum 12.09.2019 17:35

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sandgrounder (Post 3099998)
We used to do a similar activity with our scouts but we made damn sure they were not going to injure themselves or wander out into the traffic or anything first. OK, they used to trip over their own feet and land in a heap on the floor but that's a far cry from spilling down a flight of stairs.

We did the same with our scouts but they were certainly nowhere near any stairs.

We were trained to carry out risk assessments before undertaking any activities with them.

3Wishes 12.09.2019 17:38

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 3099995)
Which in my opinion means nowhere near any stairs.
The teacher was irresponsible in this instance.

100% agree. Even if you only blindfold a few pairs of students instead of the whole class, the teacher's eye needs to be on all those pairs at once AND watching the rest of the class to make sure they're not shoving pencils up their noses.

Mica 12.09.2019 18:14

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Depending on your canton your mileage may vary:
- in Zurich public schools do not have accident insurance, since for damages caused by their employees the canton (or commune) would be liable on state liability grounds;
- In Aargau public schools have ancillary accident insurance, which, however, only covers costs not covered by a child's own health or accident insurance.

Otherwise:
- damages that a child suffers by its own fault (or due to an accident without anyone else's involvement or due to a third party who is not liable for whatever reason) is covered by the accident insurance in the health insurance;
- damages caused by another child would be covered by that child (or its private liability insurance assuming that there is such) and assuming that the damage was intentionally or negligently caused and the child had the "judgement capacity" (Urteilsfähigkeit) to discern the consequences of his or her actions.

JudgeFred 12.09.2019 18:18

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by araqyl (Post 3100003)
Actually, to get a job, life guards have to be well trained - there are several levels to the training, and it's only at the second level that they can have any responsibility as life guards (the first level is general first aid, sufficient for getting your driver's licence). To be in charge of a whole centre, you need to be on the third or fourth level (generally depending on the size & number of pools).

Zurich pools have similar levels of life guard coverage to those in Australia.

For reference: I have worked as a swimming teacher in several pools in Switzerland, and many pools in Australia, and have also done some life guard training in both countries (as well as a lot of swim teacher training, which is obviously different).

That said, you will always find some who are (or appear to be) more relaxed about their jobs. One of the best life guards I know used to look like he was more than half-asleep on the job, but he knew what was going on at all times.

Having done training in a couple of different countries up to beach lifeguard level I can definitely say that what the SLRG told me their requirements were are substantially under what I've had to do in the past.

Tom1234 12.09.2019 18:54

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mica (Post 3100040)
Depending on your canton your mileage may vary:
- in Zurich public schools do not have accident insurance, since for damages caused by their employees the canton (or commune) would be liable on state liability grounds;
- In Aargau public schools have ancillary accident insurance, which, however, only covers costs not covered by a child's own health or accident insurance.

Otherwise:
- damages that a child suffers by its own fault (or due to an accident without anyone else's involvement or due to a third party who is not liable for whatever reason) is covered by the accident insurance in the health insurance;
- damages caused by another child would be covered by that child (or its private liability insurance assuming that there is such) and assuming that the damage was intentionally or negligently caused and the child had the "judgement capacity" (Urteilsfähigkeit) to discern the consequences of his or her actions.

Thanks for the clarity.

st2lemans 12.09.2019 20:10

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
This all assumes that OP has RC insurance, plenty of people don't.

Tom

Urs Max 13.09.2019 14:46

Re: Accident insurance claim for school activity
 
Tom, should a reasonable grownup have seen the risk posed by the stairs, i.e. were they reasonably close? Or did your child lead the other kid kind of astray, or perhaps to an area they were explicitly told not to go to?

Basically speaking the teacher is responsible while the kids are under their care and oversight, including areas outside of the school(building) e.g. during an excursion, as long as the kids acted in a foreseeable manner (the younger the kids the broader the meaning of "foreseeable"). This appears to apply here.

Assuming the teacher didn't (sternly) warn the leading kids to stay away from the stairs, and make sure they actually did, and continued to make sure they did, they were probably neglecting their duty. I would think the "didn't see it happen" alone is enough in an ordinary situation to demonstrate neglect, especially if the allowed area included the top of the stairs.

That said, the teacher can't be held responsible, the Gemeinde is. This is explicitly regulated in the (law on liability) Haftungsgesetz, see §4. Whether the Canton has taken out 3rd party liability insurance can't be any of the damaged person's concern, at all.

ETA:
Also see this leaflet by Luzern. Especially:
"Pupils are under the care of the teacher during school time. During this time, the teacher must take all reasonable precautions to protect the life and health of the pupils entrusted to him or her. Therefore, a teacher can also be prosecuted if a learner does not actively injure himself but injures himself by omitting a necessary action of the teacher [this is the verbal translation] due to an action the teacher omitted: e.g. reconnaissance of a hike, clarifying learner skills, lack of instructions to the learner, etc."

"Schülerinnen und Schüler befinden sich während der Schulzeit in der Obhut der Lehrperson. In dieser Zeit muss die Lehrperson alles Zumutbare vorkehren, um das Leben und die Gesundheit der ihr anvertrauten Lernenden zu schützen. Deshalb kann eine Lehrperson auch dann strafrechtlich verfolgt werden, wenn sich ein Lernender zwar nicht aktiv, sondern wegen Unterlassen einer notwendigen Handlung der Lehrperson verletzt: z. B. Rekognoszieren einer Wanderung, Fähigkeiten der Lernenden abklären, mangelnde Anweisungen an die Lernenden usw. "


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