Rachel Parken

Rachel Parken

Associate
LL.B / LP

P: (08) 8216 3339

LEGAL ASSISTANT

Jennie Reval

Rachel Parken

P: (08) 8216 3339

Rachel graduated from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of South Australia in 2014.

 

Rachel practices in the areas of personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, workers compensation, industrial negligence and public liability.

PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS

Member – Law Society of South Australia

Rachel'S ARTICLES

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied at school

Having your child bullied at school is something no parent wants to see their child go through. Unfortunately, bullying is a prominent issue in schools. In some circumstances, bullying behaviour which results in physical injury or psychological trauma may give rise to a claim against the school for negligence.

Here are some simple steps you can take if you are aware, or suspect, your child is being bullied at school and are not satisfied with the school’s response.

  1. Notify the school of the bullying behaviour.
  2. In the first instance if you are aware your child is being bullied, arrange a meeting with your child’s home group teacher/supervisor or the school’s principal to discuss the bullying behaviour.
  3. If your child is able and willing to identify the bully, bring this to the staff’s attention but ask them to discreetly deal with this information to avoid further conflict and distress.
  4. If this is the first bullying allegation and the bullying behaviour is not too serious, it may be helpful to suggest a meeting with the parents of the children involved to discuss the bullying behaviours under the supervision of a staff member of the school. Remember, the bully’s parents may not be aware of their child’s behaviour.
  5. Document your child’s complaints and the details about the alleged bullying behaviour, along with the date the bullying commenced.
  6. Keep a record of the date the school was first notified of the bullying behaviour.
  7. Review your child’s schools bullying policy and procedures. If you do not have a copy, request one from your child’s school, they are obligated to provide a copy to parents and guardians.

Lastly, remember difficult situations can arise for children throughout their school years and these situations do not automatically give rise to a cause of action against the school. However, if the bullying behaviour persists and your child is suffering psychological trauma or physical injury, and you are not satisfied with your the schools response to the bullying allegations, seek advice from a legal professional.

For legal advice about bullying claims and/or injury claims against educational institutions, please contact Duncan Basheer Hannon on 1800 324 324, or send us a message to arrange a no obligation first interview.

 

Can I sue my child’s school for negligence?

Having children start school can be an emotional and frightening time for parents. It is important parents know their child is safe at school and are aware of their legal rights when it comes to the school’s duty of care to children.

Schools owe an implicit duty of care to their students. This duty extends to students on school premises and at events or grounds where the children are under the care, control and supervision of the staff members of the school, including excursions, camps and sporting activities.

When bringing a claim against an educational institution, one of the first things to consider is whether the injury occurred while the child was on school premises, or where they were under the control or supervision of staff members of the school. The second thing to consider is whether the injury arose from the school’s negligence.

For example, if a child is injured in the usual course of children playing, it is unlikely that a Court will find that the school was negligent. However, if a child was injured as a result of faulty playground equipment on the school’s premises, then negligence may be applicable.  Another example of school negligence is when there has been poor supervision by staff of children playing or engaging in other activities such as sport.

But what about injury, whether physical or psychological trauma, which arises from bullying? This is an ever popular topic, largely due to advances in technology and social media which means bullying can now easily follow children outside of school. Two of the most important things to remember when assessing a potential claim against a school for injury, whether physical or psychological, arising from bullying are:

  1.  The school knew or should have known about the bullying; and
  2.  The school did not take action within a reasonable timeframe to address the bullying.

Other factors that may be taken into consideration when assessing potential claims are;

  • Whether the school failed to comply with or implement their bullying policies.
  • Whether the school failed to protect the child against further threats or harm after finding out about the bullying.
  • How severe the bullying was, the length of the bullying and whether the bully is a repeat offender.

If your child has suffered injury, whether physical or psychological, while at school or as a result of suspected bullying behaviour and you are unhappy with the schools response, please contact Duncan Basheer Hannon on 1800 324 324 or send us a message to arrange a no obligation first interview.

Stay tuned for our next blog on potential claims arising from bullying.

Renting out your home for short term stays

Read this quick guide before renting out your home for short stay.

The new trend of renting out your home while you’re away on holiday or business can be a great way to make some additional cash, but what are the potential liabilities?

Online real-estate portals allow almost anyone to put up a room, their home or holiday house for rent and short term stays.

However most of us don’t stop to think about the consequences if someone is injured or even dies while staying at our house.

Here are a few handy tips about potential liabilities and how you can help reduce your risk of potential liability:

  1. Be upfront about any potentially dangerous conditions which guests may not recognise for example, a garden path which gets slippery when wet.

TIP: Put warning signs on your property advising of potential danger and hazards.

 

  1. Most standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover commercial activities such as renting out your home for short-stays. Therefore if someone is injured during their stay your insurance may not cover it.

TIP: Check your insurance policy and make sure it covers commercial enterprises.

 

  1. As a host, be mindful of features of which guests may not be aware such as home surveillance and security.

TIP: Detail the location of any security cameras or surveillance equipment in your online property listing.

 

  1. Minimise hazards where possible.

TIP: Provide instructions about operating heating/cooling, ovens and stoves. 

TIP:  Be mindful of potential hazards to small children such as stairs and sharp edges. Remove same, or mark clearly.

TIP:  Mark, or if possible remove, tripping hazards such as hoses prior to renting out your property.