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Woman wins compensation following childhood trauma

Posted in: Head and Brain Injuries Public Liability 

A woman has finally been awarded compensation after nearly drowning as a child, which left her with a severe brain injury. The accident happened when Annie Woodland was only 10 years old during a swimming lesson at school. Neither her teacher nor the lifeguard realised that she was struggling in the swimming pool, which caused her to be drowning for far longer than she should have been. Ms Woodland, now 24, suffers with the effects of the brain damage she sustained in the accident.

The accident happened when Ms Woodland was a pupil at Whitmore Primary School in Basildon in 2000. In 2013, a Supreme Court judge overturned the ruling and opened the way for a High Court hearing. Mr Justice Blake ruled that the lifeguard, Debbie Maxwell, and the swimming teacher, Paula Burlinson, should have realised and responded to the accident sooner than they did.

“No child should suffer in this way”

He ruled that Essex County Council was liable for their failings, despite the fact that neither woman was employed directly by the council. The amount of compensation that Ms Woodland will receive will be arranged at a later date.

Miss Woodland’s mother, Alison Morris, said she was “greatly relieved that justice has been done”. She added: “It should never have come to this in the first place. No child should suffer in this way. This ruling will make such a difference to families in the future.

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