How to start a compensation claim for a child injury

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The last thing any parent wants to think about is their child being involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault but, when you are ready, you may want to think about making an injury claim for compensation on their behalf.

Child injury claims might include;

  • Road Traffic Accidents
  • Accidents in a playground caused by faulty or damaged apparatus
  • Accidents at school or
  • During after school activities whether that be at a club or when playing games in the street.

It is important that you report the accident to the appropriate person (school or local authority) and of course seek medical attention for your child’s injuries.  Photographs of both what caused the accident and the initial injuries will also be helpful throughout the claims process.

How to start a compensation claim for a child injury?

A “Litigation Friend” will have to provide instructions to a solicitor on behalf of the child.  This is usually a parent but could be a close relative or family friend.  It should not be someone who was involved in the accident (ie, the driver of the vehicle the child was a passenger in when injured).  The Litigation Friend will be making decisions in the best interests of the child, which will include signing paperwork on their behalf and approving any medical evidence obtained.

What can be claimed?

Compensation for the pain and suffering caused to the child by the accident and injuries.

The Litigation Friend can also claim financial losses and expenses that have been incurred such as travel expenses or lost earnings if time off work has been taken as a result of the accident.  Evidence of any losses claimed will need to be provided.

Medical evidence

The injured child will need to be seen by an appropriate medical expert and the type of expert will depend on the injuries sustained.  Once medical evidence is finalised, settlement negotiations can begin with the third party.

An advice on the value of the claim may need to be sought from a Barrister prior to agreeing to any settlement, as the final settlement, if it can be agreed between the parties, must be approved by a Judge.

If a settlement is agreed, an Infant Approval Hearing will need to take place in your local Court.  This is usually an informal hearing where the Judge will be asked to consider the medical evidence, financial losses and settlement agreed.  The Judge will decide whether an appropriate settlement has been reached on behalf of the child.

What happens to the compensation if the claim is successful?

Prior to the hearing, the Litigation Friend will be asked if the child has an appropriate account in place.  This should be an account that cannot be accessed by the child until they are 18.  If an account is not already set up, you will be asked to arrange a Junior ISA or similar.  If by the time the hearing takes place, there is not an account set up, the Judge may order that the compensation be paid into the court funds office account where it will stay until the child’s 18th birthday when it will be paid directly to them. It is possible to request payments out of the settlement prior to the child reaching 18 years old for medical treatment.

However, it is becoming much more common practice for the compensation to paid into the child’s account.  Proof of the account will need to be provided at the hearing or very shortly afterwards.

If the Litigation Friend has claimed financial losses and expenses and they have been agreed, the Judge can be asked to order that these losses be paid to them instead of being invested.

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