A groundbreaking case where a court awarded damages for ‘sexting’ for the first time has grabbed press attention this week. A teenage girl at an independent special needs school near Sevenoaks was encouraged to text sexually-explicit photographs of herself to a middle-aged teacher.
A legal precedent has now been set which means anyone manipulated into sending or receiving an explicit message or image, and who suffers psychological harm as a result, can now bring a claim for compensation, says Neille Ryan, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at leading south east law firm Furley Page.
Neille says: “I’ve no doubt that there will be plenty of commentators encouraging victims of sexually explicit texting, grooming and revenge porn to think about claiming against the perpetrator, but forgive me for sounding a word of warning.
“Having a claim is one thing but it’s equally important that, if you are awarded damages, you know that the perpetrator has the means to pay. Are they a person of sufficient wealth that they can afford to pay you damages and legal costs?
“If not then consider whether the events took place in the course of the perpetrator’s work so that their employer, who should have employers liability insurance as such insurance is compulsory, might conceivably be liable for the employee’s actions. The insurance policy would then cover the damages and costs awards.
“If you are looking for advice on a potential claim, make sure you go to a reputable solicitor, such as one accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). The fact that this claim involving the Sevenoaks school is the first successful one of its kind makes you realise just how difficult these cases can be to win,” adds Neille, who is a member of APIL.
Neille, who is also a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, is an expert in industrial disease and personal injury compensation claims. Acting for claimants and defendants has given him an understanding of defendants and their insurers which he is convinced benefits his claimant clients.
For further advice on personal injury claims, contact Neille Ryan on 01227 763939.
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