Children cannot be wrapped in cotton wool and ordinary play inevitably involves an element of danger – but specialist lawyers are thankfully there to help if the worst happens. In one case, a girl who was blinded in one eye when she fell on her face whilst climbing down from a bouncy castle received six-figure compensation.
The girl was four when she was injured during what should have been a fun day out organised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Although she was rushed to hospital, the sight in her left eye could not be saved. She is likely to need cosmetic surgery on the injured eye as she grows older and there is also a risk that the sight in her right eye could be compromised by infection in later life.
When legal action was taken on the girl's behalf, the MoD denied liability, claiming that it was a freak accident which could not have been foreseen. The case raised issues as to the suitability of the ground on which the bouncy castle had been erected and whether crash mats were in place when the girl fell over.
Following negotiations, however, a £490,000 settlement of the girl's claim was achieved. The MoD also agreed that, if she develops sympathetic ophthalmitis in the future, leading to loss of vision in her right eye, she should have the opportunity to seek further damages. The High Court approved the settlement.