A woman has been awarded £2 million pounds after almost dying during a school swimming lesson 16 years ago when she was just 10 years old.
Annie Woodland suffered brain damage in the accident at the pool in Basildon, Essex. Her parents started a legal case against Essex County Council, claiming it had a duty of care even though a third party had been contracted to provide the swimming lessons.
Whatever type of business you operate, if you have contact with the public you have a duty to ensure their safety and well being. It is worthwhile taking out a good public liability insurance policy. As this landmark case shows, even if your business has been contracted by a larger public organisation, you can be held liable when things go wrong.
Miss Woodland’s parents' efforts to seek recompense for the accident took them to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and ultimately the Supreme Court. The High Court said that the swimming teachers and lifeguards had breached their duty of care.
However, the Supreme Court judgment changed the law by ruling that the County Council also had a duty of care, despite the fact a third party was in charge of teaching the swimming lessons.
Essex County Council has been ordered to pay two-thirds of the settlement and the lifeguard company will be responsible for paying the outstanding third.
The family’s lawyer, Jennifer Maloney, told The Mirror: “Annie is a brave young woman who has been forced to spend most of her childhood and all of her adult life dealing with the devastating consequences of what happened. She deserves some peace of mind which I hope this settlement will bring.”