Q&A My child was trespassing and got injured. What legal action can I take?

Q: We live near a disused quarry that is being used as a dumping ground and is also being used by local children as a playground. Unbeknown to me, my 11-year-old son went to the quarry to play with his friends. He was playing hide and seek. He crawled under a discarded sofa and ended up impaling himself on some large shards of glass. He needed hospital treatment and now has permanent scarring.

Whilst I appreciate that he was trespassing, he is only a child and was unaware of the potential dangers. Also, there are no fences or signs to warn of the dangers, or for trespassers to keep away. The owners of the quarry must have known what was going on as there have been several newspaper articles published about the state of the quarry and accidents there. Do we have any right to make a claim for compensation? 

A: Yes, even though your son was technically trespassing, the owners of the quarry still owe a duty of care to him to take reasonable care in all the circumstances. The landowner must also bear in mind that children may come onto the premises and should consider the likelihood that they will take less care for their safety than adults.

As the owners should have been aware of the dangers and the fact that children were playing there (due to the newspaper articles), they would be under an obligation to take further steps to remove the risk.

In these circumstances, the owner should have acted, for example, by erecting fencing and warning signs, to prevent the quarry from being used for dumping rubbish and to stop children playing there. 

Depending on the severity of your son’s scarring it might be possible to claim treatment costs, for now, or in the future. You should certainly seek legal advice from a reputable local Solicitor who specialises in injury compensation claims.

This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. 

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

Oswestry:

Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry