More often than not, when a child is hurt, it is usually the result of ‘children being children’. However, children are sometimes hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you believe your child or infant has been injured as a result, for example at a holiday resort, in a road accident, or even playing with toys, it may be possible for you to make a claim on their behalf. Essex Personal Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation your child and family need to cope.
Because they are under 18 years old, children are unable to pursue their own injury claim as they lack “legal capacity”. Instead, someone will need to act on their behalf as a “litigation friend”. If you are not the parent or legal guardian, the child you can either apply to be their litigation friend or you can be appointed by a Court if necessary.
To be a litigation friend, you should be prepared to help conduct Court proceedings on their behalf and in their best interest. You cannot have an interest that conflicts with the child’s, and as such you need to be independent from the incident itself. For example, if a parent was to blame for the accident of the minor, they cannot act as their litigation friend.
Ultimately, it will be down to the Court to determine what is an appropriate settlement for a child in a claim for personal injury. While you may be acting in the interest of the child, neither a ‘litigation friend’ or child’s solicitor is able to finalise the claim without a formal Court hearing. This is known as a “Infant Settlement Hearing” or an “Infant Approval Hearing”. At this hearing the Judge will decide, with the help of the Litigation Friend, the best method for investing the settlement money. This will either be done via the Court Funds Office or, alternatively, the Judge may be satisfied that a Junior ISA Account (or similar investment) is suitable. The goal being that the money will only be available to the child once they turn 18 years old.
You have until the child’s 21st birthday to pursue a claim. The general rule of thumb in Personal Injury claims – for adults - is that you have three years to make a claim, but this applies differently to the cases of minors. This time limit will only begin to run once the child has turned 18 years old. This means that even if you sustained an injury as an infant, you still have until your 21st birthday to pursue a claim. So, if you think you may be entitled to a claim sustained as a child, you should seek immediate advice from a specialist injury solicitor – such as our team of child injury experts in Essex - to a advise you.
Commonplace child injury examples include being injured at a public space such as a school (including sports injuries), or on a public highway, or in commercial spaces such as a theme park or shopping centre. However, these can occur almost anywhere, and these experiences will often differ and be complex in their own circumstances. Some common examples are:
Our child injury solicitors in Essex may also be able to help if your child has been harmed as a result of clinical or medical negligence, such as at a GP or hospital. For example, this may be an injury sustained during birth or as a result of negligent medical treatment. These can often be specialist cases, such as those involving Erb’s palsy or cerebral palsy.
Accidents and injuries can also occur in the workplace for children before the age of 18, such as in a part-time restaurant job or an office apprentice role. There have also been a number of cases in which has contracted an industrial disease, such as being exposed to hazardous materials and chemicals that can result in health complications or early death.
At EPIL, we know that paying solicitor’s fees may be a cause for concern for many parents and guardians. However, for your peace of mind, we typically operate on a no win no fee basis. This ensures you are under no obligation to pay fees and there’s no need to worry about being left out of pocket. If you believe you have a claim on behalf of a child or infant injury, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your claim, offering practical and realistic advice about their legal rights and the best way to seek compensation.
Get in touch with one of our law experts today to see how we can help.