Q. Do children’s accident claims differ from adult claims?
There are a few differences and these are detailed below:
Limitation period: The limitation period for a children’s accident claim does not commence until the child reaches 18 years of age. A child therefore, has until their 21st birthday to claim but if they fail to claim within this time, their claim will almost certainly be considered invalid. This is different to the case of an adult, who has just three years from the date of the accident in which to make a claim. Even though a child has an extended period of up until their 21st birthday to claim, it is advisable to take legal advice immediately so the relevant information and evidence can be collected as soon as possible.
Litigation Friend: A child is unable to pursue a claim themselves as the law considers that they do not have the necessary mental ability to do so. For this reason the claim is pursued by a ‘litigation friend’ on behalf of the child. The litigation friend is usually the child’s parent or guardian, but must be someone who does not have a direct interest in the child claiming compensation and they must be approved by the court.
Settlement of the claim: The settlement of a claim will have to be approved by a judge at an Infant Settlement Approval Hearing. This is a very short, informal hearing at your local court which the child, litigation friend and solicitor/barrister acting on the child’s behalf attend. It is an opportunity for the judge to meet the injured party and ask them a few questions about how they are feeling and to ensure they have reached a recovery. It is also a chance for the judge to ensure the compensation awarded by the insurers is adequate for the injuries the child sustained in the accident.
Settlement monies: The courts do not allow children to receive their compensation until they are 18 and the court will therefore take steps to ensure the money is invested into a court approved interest earning account. The money will be released upon the child reaching 18 years of age.
Q. What steps do I need to take to pursue the claim?
If you would like to pursue a children’s accident claim on behalf of an injured child simply call us, free of charge on 0800 980 9386. You will be put through to an experienced solicitor who will discuss your child’s accident with you. Your solicitor will assess the claim and will take matters from there, contacting all the relevant parties. All of our advice at this initial stage comes with no obligation.
Alternatively, you can complete the Online Form and one of our specialist solicitors will contact you.