How To Sue A University

A university should be a safe and secure environment for anyone who uses it; whether a student, member of faculty or a visitor to the establishment. The safety and security should extend not just to their health, safety and well-being, but to any information they have provided to the organisation. If a person suffers an injury in a university because of an unsafe environment, or a breach of their data leads to them suffering harm, they could be eligible to sue the university for compensation. 

how to sue a university
A guide about how to sue a university

If you were injured in a university, or suffered harm due to a university data breach, this guide will offer you comprehensive information on what steps to take to claim compensation. It will explain the difference between the two types of claims in personal injury and data breaches, and will give you more information on your rights when it comes to health and safety, and your personal data. 

Our advisers offer free initial consultations and could help you formally begin a claim. You can reach them using: 

  • The number at the top of the page    
  • Our contact page    
  • The live chat feature 

Choose A Section 

  1. How To Sue A University For Personal Injury 
  2. Examples Of Accidents In A University 
  3. How To Sue A University For A Data Breach 
  4. How Much Compensation Could I Get In A Claim Against A University? 
  5. Must I Have A No Win No Fee Agreement? 
  6. Learn More About How To Sue A University 

How To Sue A University For Personal Injury 

A university has a duty of care towards anyone using their premises. This means that they are charged with ensuring that the area is made as safe as it practically can be; a responsibility established in the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. If a university breaches this duty, and a person is injured as a result, the injured person could be eligible to sue the university. 

If you suffered an injury in a university because of unsafe conditions, our advisers can offer you information on what steps you can take. 

Examples Of Accidents In A University 

A university should actively look for risks present in the area, and take steps to either manage or remove the risks to reduce the chances of accidents and injuries occurring. Accidents in a university could happen because of the below.  

  • Rundown Facilities: Loose floorboards or damaged electrical wiring, because of a lack of maintenance on the property, can lead to people suffering injuries from falls or electrical fires. 
  • Lack Of Safety Equipment: If a fire were to occur, items like smoke detectors, fire alarms and fire extinguishers could save lives or prevent injuries. A lack of such safety equipment could see a university held liable for any ensuing injuries. 
  • Exposure To Harmful Substances: While harmful chemicals can serve a use (e.g. cleaning chemicals or chemicals used in science labs) their use should be regulated and monitored so as to avoid any injuries or illnesses from exposure. 
  • Unsafe Materials: Exposed materials that could lead to injuries such as building materials or debris, should either be cordoned off or stored away when not in use so as to avoid any collisions or accidents. 

If you were injured by a hazard that was not dealt with in a reasonable amount of time, reach out to one of our advisers to see if you can sue the university for compensation. 

Evidence 

Evidence of the hazard that caused your injury can strengthen your claim. This could come in the form of 

  • Witness statements: If someone witnessed your accident, collect their contact details as they could possibly provide statements to use in your claim 
  • CCTV (Or Similar Recordings): If recordings of your accident or recordings of the hazard that led to your injury exist, collect and maintain them to possibly use as evidence. 
  • Emails: If you as a student had raised a concern about a hazard, dated emails can prove that the hazard had not been dealt with in a reasonable amount of time. 

Evidence of your injury can also be important. If you had not already done so, it is advised to seek out medical attention for any injuries you suffered. This can let you know more about your condition, and your medical records can act as evidence in your claim. 

For more information about evidence you could use in your claim, why not reach out to one of our advisers. They offer free legal advice and could put you through to a personal injury solicitor from our panel. 

How To Sue A University For A Data Breach 

Any organisation that collects your personal data has to observe the rules and procedures set out in data protection and privacy laws. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 are the primary data protection laws. They set out rules on how and when personal data can be stored, managed or used. 

When a security incident leads to the destruction, loss, disclosure, alteration of or access to personal data, it becomes a data breach.

A data breach in a university could occur if: 

  • Your data is shared with someone not authorised to access it. For example, disclosing your personal home address or medical information when there was no lawful basis for doing so. 
  • A hack occurs. When a university collects your personal data, they are responsible for securing it. A data hack could see the university liable for any harm you suffer as a result. 
  • An error leads to them sending your personal data to the wrong person. 

If you have suffered harm from a data breach, you could be eligible to sue the university and claim compensation. You can reach out to one of our advisers now for more information about making a data breach claim.  

How Much Compensation Could I Get In A Claim Against A University? 

In a personal injury claim, the compensation you seek would be to address the injury suffered and any of its effects. These effects include financial losses, but they have to be financial losses directly tied to the injury. 

For an idea of what you could be awarded in compensation for the type of injury you suffered, you can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a publication that sets out potential compensation brackets for various injuries.  

We’ve included a table illustrating some figures from the 16th edition of the JCG (2022) below.

InjuryNotesAward
Chest Injuries: (b)Traumatic injury that leaves permanent damage£65,740 to £100,670
Chest Injuries: (g)Soft tissue injuries causing pain for a period of weeksUp to £3,950
Simple Fractures of the ForearmAn uncomplicated fracture£6,610 to £19,200
Serious Damage to Both HandsInjuries leading to permanent cosmetic and functional damage£55,820 to £84,570
Severe Fractures to FingersInjuries affecting function of the fingersUp to £36,740
Severe Knee Injuries: (i)In cases of gross ligament damage£69,730 to £96,210
Moderate Knee Injuries: (i)Torn cartilage or dislocation injuries£14,840 to £26,190
Moderate Ankle InjuriesFractures affecting the ability to walk£13,740 to £26,590
Moderately Severe Psychiatric DamagePsychiatric injuries where the claimant's ability to go through life was heavily affected£19,070 to £54,830
Less Severe Psychiatric DamagePsychiatric damage affecting a person's ability to sleep for a period of time£1,540 to £5,860
  

Financial losses you can claim (if caused by the injury) include: 

  • Loss of income
  • Costs towards treatment
  • Adaptations to your house

You can also seek out compensation for financial losses in a data breach claim. This type of compensation is known as material damages and, unlike a personal injury claim, you can seek out compensation for financial losses in a data breach without having sustained an injury, whether mental or physical. 

In a data breach claim, for any mental or emotional suffering, you can seek out non material damages. Following the ruling in the Court of Appeal case, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc 2015, non-material damages can now be awarded as its own type of compensation without having suffered any financial losses. 

Must I Have A No Win No Fee Agreement? 

It is not a requirement to have any form of legal representation to make a claim. What legal representation offers you, though, is experience and aid in every part of making a claim. 

In a No Win No Fee agreement, you would only pay a solicitor’s success fee if your claim was successful and you were awarded compensation. They would not charge you an upfront solicitor fee or ongoing solicitor fees to handle your claim. Their fee would come from the compensation you are awarded; a legally capped percentage that you had both previously agreed to.

Our panel of personal injury and data breach solicitors offer No Win No Fee agreements. You can reach out to one of our advisers now to see if they could represent you in your claim.

Speak To Us About How To Sue A University 

Our advisers offer free initial consultations and can give you more information on how to sue a university. You can contact them using: 

  • The number at the top of the page    
  • Our contact page   
  • The live chat feature 

Learn More About How To Sue A University 

For other additional information, you might need: 

The ICO offers a detailed guide on what taking your claim to court could entail 

The ICO also offers a guide on how to raise a concern if your personal data was mishandled 

As a student, you can make a complaint about your university to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education

Thank you for reading our guide on how to sue a university. We offer guides on other topics such as:

How To Sue A Hospital

Suing Your Employer

Suing A Restaurant

For any more information, please get in touch with our advisers.

Article by first CHA

Edited by VIC