Children have the same rights as adults when it comes to making a compensation claim for personal injury. The main difference is a parent or guardian will make the claim on the child's behalf. While bumps and scrapes are a normal part of childhood, if an injury occurs due to a 3rd party's negligence, your child may be entitled to compensation. Many parents are not aware of their rights in this area so we have put together an short guide to tell you how and when you can make a personal injury claim on behalf of your child.
When Can You Claim Compensation?
The most important factor here is whether or not a 3rd party has shown negligence which contributed to you child's injury. If you believe this to be true you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation on their behalf. There is no real time limit on this. A parent of guardian can make a claim as soon as the accident happened or anytime up until the child reaches adulthood (18). At this stage the responsibility for making the claim switches to the child and they have an additional 3 years to begin the process.
The adult making a claim for compensation on behalf of an injured minor is called a 'litigation friend' and must not have been involved in the incident. They should however be close relative os if a parent was involved in the accident, the other parent or grandparent could act on the child's behalf.
Common accidents that can be eligible for compensation include;
- Road accidents (s a passenger, cyclist or pedestrian)
- Injury caused by a dangerous consumer product
- An accident at nursery, school or college
- An accident at a park or funfair
- An accident involving a lift or escalator
- An accident while on holiday
- An accident in a public place such as a supermarket, hospital or restaurant
- An injury or illness caused by negligent medical treatment by a GP or hospital
What Do You Need To Prove?
The first thing that must be established is that your child's injury was caused by an accident that was not their fault or was caused by the actions of a 3rd party. Partial or complete blame must be attributed to that 3rd party as they (or their insurance company) will pay the compensation. You will need to prove that the 3rd party had a duty to prevent your child's injury and could have taken reasonable steps to prevent the accident. If it is not possible to establish that someone was at fault, it is unlikely that your claim will be successful.
The first step in any child's personal injury claim is reporting the incident to the relevant parties. You must inform both the police and your insurance company if the injury is the result of a road accident. A doctor should be informed so that if you go to court as part of your claim he/she can provide the court with a medical report.
It is also wise to gather any and all pertinent information about the accident and injury. This should include;
- The time and date of the accident
- Where the accident happened
- How the accident happened
- The contact details of any witnesses and the other people involved in the accident
- The details of your child's injuries including any medical treatment received
- If your child was injured by an animal, you need to provide details of the animal and the owners name and contact details and whether the animal was under the owners control at the time
- If the accident occurred in school, supermarket or any public place, you will require the contact details of the person supervising your child at the time of the accident and the contact details of the 3rd party responsible for the location (local authority or company)
How Much Compensation Could You Receive?
The amount of compensation awarded will depend on a number of factors including;
- How serious is the injury or illness?
- What impact will the injury or illness have on your child’s life?
- Will your child need additional support or medical treatment in the future?
- Has the child's accident resulted in a loss of earnings for the parents?
The compensation award will be broken into 3 parts.
- Medical and legal expenses incurred as a result of the claim
- Compensation for pain, suffering and impact on quality of life for the child
- Compensation for future loss of earning and ongoing medical expenses
In order to find out if your claim is likely to be successful and what sort of compensation you may be entitled to, you should contact a reputable personal injury solicitor. Beware anyone who promises to gain you thousands of pounds of compensation before they have fully considered the facts of your case. Compensation vary’s significantly between cases but payouts can be anywhere from thousands of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds in more serious cases.