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Personal injury claims involving children

When a child is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence it can be difficult to know how to begin a compensation claim, particularly due to the child’s age. It does not matter, however, that the person injured is a child, and a claim can still be made. The process to making a claim is just slightly different compared with a claim pursued for an adult.

Types of Accidents

The types of accidents which adults can claim compensation for normally also apply to children. These include, but are not limited to, road traffic accidents, accidents which occur at school or in a park, accidents which occur in a public place, accidents which occur as a result of a slip or fall and accidents which occur as a result of a defective/dangerous product.

Children experiencing accidents at work (if they are under 18 but are the legal age to undertake work), and those who have been injured as a result of medical negligence are also eligible types of accidents for a litigation friend to pursue a claim. This includes negligent treatment associated with their birth, and also negligent treatment/diagnosis if the visit a GP or hospital later in life.

Who Can Claim for the Child?

If a child has been injured in an accident which wasn’t their fault, parents/guardians of that child can pursue a claim for compensation on behalf of the child, up until the time the children reaches the age of 18. If they have not done so, once the child reaches 18 they can then pursue a claim themselves. Once they reach this however, they have a limitation period of 3 years to bring the claim.

The parent or guardian who pursues a claim on behalf of the injured child is known as a ‘litigation friend’. It is important that this person was completely independent from the accident. This means that if the parent/guardian was involved in the accident and was to blame for it, they are not eligible to be the child’s litigation friend. In these circumstances, it is still possible for the other parent, or another guardian to act as the child’s litigation friend.

What Happens to the Compensation Received?

If the claim is successful, and compensation is awarded to the child, they will not receive this amount straight away. The court will transfer the compensation into the court funds. They then create a Special Investment Account for the child, which they hold the money in. Once the child turns 18 they will be able to access the compensation that has been saved for them.

The court will consider releasing some of the funds before this time, if they have been provided with compelling reasons to do so. Reasons may include specific medical treatments, or for certain educational needs.

This method will only exist for those claims that are settled via Court Approval. It is therefore important to find out if the solicitor you are using is going to use this method. With this method, the court approves the amount of compensation to be received, even if the other side has already admitted liability for the accident.


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