Beds, Herts & Bucks

Boy injured in Watford park wins right to seek compensation

Leavesden Green recreation ground Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy had been in goal during a football game when he cut his hand on broken glass

A boy who was seriously hurt by broken glass in a Watford park has won the right to claim £200,000 damages.

He was aged 12 in April 2012 when he dived for a football in Leavesden Green recreation ground, landing on a shard of glass which cut his hand causing lasting nerve damage.

A legal battle saw a High Court judge overturn an earlier ruling which had dismissed claims for compensation.

The case has cost Watford Borough Council £100,000 in legal costs.

The boy's original claim for damages was thrown out in October after a county court judge found the council had an adequate system of checks to ensure safety in the park.

Evidence was put forward at the county trial showing that the bin area had been inspected that morning and any broken glass removed.

'Significant problem'

The boy, who was not named due to his age, had been playing football with his friends on a makeshift pitch in the park.

When the ball went astray, he dove to prevent it heading into an area where there was a shelter and bin.

"He put his hand on the ground near the shelter, near one of the bins, and unfortunately hit his hand against a shard of broken glass," said Mr Justice Jay at the High Court.

Broken glass in the area around the shelter was known to be "quite a significant problem", especially during school holidays, he added.

Justice Jay said the earlier decision had to be overturned as the borough council had failed to comply with an order over disclosure of evidence prior to the county court trial last October.

He added the county court judge had not properly taken into account the fact that the council had not produced an assessment of the risk of broken glass in the park.

The decision means the boy is entitled to claim "substantial" damages which his lawyers valued at about £200,000.

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