The short answer is yes. If your child, or a family member under the age of 18, has been injured as a result of an accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury compensation claim on their behalf. This is applicable for all types of cases such as road traffic accidents, accidents at school or nursery, slip/trip accidents, injuries caused by a faulty product or clinical negligence.
Who will represent my child?
Your child will need what is known as a Litigation Friend to represent them in a personal injury claim. This is usually the child’s next of kin such as mother/ father/ grandparent.
The role of a Litigation Friend is to act on behalf of the child in relation to the whole claim. They will make decisions at different stages of the claim, sign legal documents on the child’s behalf and an accompany them to medical appointments. The Litigation Friend essentially runs the claim on behalf of the child.
How long do I have to make the claim?
Generally, there are three years from the date of the accident in which to bring a claim under the Limitation Act 1980. Failure to bring a claim within this period may mean that the claim could become what is known as ‘statute-barred’.
However, the limitation period for those under 18 only begins to run from the date they turn 18. This essentially means that they have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim.
What happens when the claim is ready to settle?
Once the claim is at the stage where it can be settled, your solicitor will instruct a barrister to prepare a document which details their opinion on the value of the claim. This will then be used in negotiating the settlement figure with the other side and placing before the court at the Infant Approval Hearing for a judge to review.
What is an Infant Approval Hearing?
For personal injury claims involving children, and where the claim settles before the child reaches the age of 18, a judge’s approval is required to settle the claim. This is known as an Infant Approval Hearing.
The judge needs to be sure that the child is receiving a full and fair settlement for their injuries and financial losses, and is not being undercompensated for their claim. They will do this by reviewing the important documents produced during the claim, such as the medical evidence and the advice given by the barrister, and deciding if the settlement figure put forward is reasonable. If they think it is, they will approve it.
What happens to the money?
Any money awarded to the child needs to be invested in a special trust fund, such as in the Court Funds Office or in a child trust fund or junior ISA account. This is designed so that the child’s interests are looked after and the money cannot be spent by anyone else before the child becomes entitled to the money when they reach 18.
Contact a Specialist in Child Injury Claims
If your child or a member of your family under the age of 18 has been injured as a result of an accident, they may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact one of our experienced team for a no obligation assessment of the case on 0845 287 0939, get in touch by email, or use the online chat below.