Civil law

It is possible to claim compensation for ill health or injury at work by instituting legal proceedings for personal injury under civil law, which essentially deals with problems between individuals. Compensation can be awarded for financial loss, and for pain and suffering.

Civil actions are normally commenced against the employer (eg the local authority/governing body/corporation). However, individual members of staff can also be pursued.

To succeed, the following must be established:

  • the defendant (organisation/individual) owed a duty of care to the claimant (staff/pupil)

  • the duty of care was breached

  • injury/ill health and/or financial loss occurred as a result of the breach.

Compensation claims are usually dealt with by solicitors acting on behalf of the employer's insurance company or the legal department of the LA. If claims are brought against an individual, or she/he is implicated in a civil action against the organisation, then advice should be sought from ATL (see below).

Strict time limits apply to compensation claims. Court proceedings should be started within three years of the date of the injury. After this, the case will usually be out of time.

Need further advice?

Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.

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