If your child has been injured due to the negligent actions of another, you may want to make a child accident claim on their behalf. This is because a child, or minor, includes anyone who is under the age of 18 and is unable to make their own claim until they reach adulthood. For a child injury claim to be valid the accident must have been caused by someone who owed them a duty of care.
This article looks at how a minor could be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim. Depending on the type and severity of the injuries, there could be life-changing consequences for you or your child. Within this guide, we will talk about what criteria need to be met for a personal injury claim to be valid along with the types of damages that can be awarded in successful personal injury cases.
If you would like to talk to someone about making a claim, get in touch with us today. Our team of advisors can offer free legal advice and could pass you on to a child personal injury solicitor from our panel to help you start your child accident claim.
Keep reading to find out more about compensation claims when a minor is injured.
Select A Section
- When Could You Make A Child Accident Claim?
- Who Can Make A Child Accident Claim?
- When Do You Have To Start A Child Accident Claim?
- How Are Child Accident Claims Assessed?
- Calculating Child Accident Claims
- Start Your Child Accident Claim
It is important to consider the duty of care when making a personal injury claim. This differs depending on the environment.
On the roads, all road users have a duty of care to behave in a way that does not endanger others. The Highway Code considers some road users more vulnerable than others, meaning other road users should take more care around them. This includes pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders.
Public places are populated by all sorts of different companies, land owned by different owners and even the local council is responsible for many areas visited by the public. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, controllers of public spaces are required to ensure that these spaces are safe for all visitors to use. This could include public parks, gyms, and paths.
In the workplace, employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to take all reasonably practicable steps to keep employees safe. This could include risk assessments, providing PPE, and ensuring all employees are properly trained.
If the duty of care is breached in any of these situations, and a minor is harmed as a result, they could potentially be eligible for compensation in a child accident claim. To find out more about the duty of care, contact our advisors for more information.
People under the age of 18 cannot represent themselves in legal proceedings. So how can they claim compensation in a child accident claim? A minor will need a litigation friend to represent them to make this type of claim. However, this is only until the claimant turns 18. This section looks at these processes in more detail.
A litigation friend is an appointed adult expected to make decisions in the child’s best interests. To be a litigation friend, it must be an adult that is suitable by ensuring that their interests do not conflict with the claimants and that they can make decisions for them competently and fairly.
Some examples of who could apply to be a litigation friend:
- Parent or guardian of the minor
- Other family member or friend
- A solicitor
- A professional advocate
- Someone with the power of attorney
- A Court of Protection deputy
If nobody is suitable, the Official Solicitor will act as a litigation friend.
Other than making decisions in the claimant’s best interests, a litigation friend should:
- Inform the claimant of what’s happening within proceedings and find out their feelings and wishes
- Talk to the claimant’s solicitor about proceedings, get their advice, and instruct them on what the claimant wishes
- Pay any costs ordered by the court
- Manage the Court Funds Office (CFO) account
A CFO account is an account that is set up so that the child’s compensation can be protected until they turn 18. It is possible to receive interim payments from this account before the claimant is 18, but you must apply to the court, which will assess if the costs are reasonable and for the benefit of the child alone.
The duties of a litigation friend generally conclude when the claimant turns 18.
The Victim Once They Are 18
Once the claimant turns 18 if no claim has been made they can start a claim for themselves. However, it must be within 3 years of their 18th birthday.
Time limitations affect all types of claims. Under the Limitation Act 1980, personal injury claims should generally be started within 3 years of the accident. However, the time limitation is different when making a child accident claim.
Generally, a child accident claim can be started at any time until the claimant turns 18. If the claim is started before the age of 18, a litigation friend is needed to make decisions in the claimant’s best interests.
Once the claimant is 18, they then have the ability to start a claim for themselves if one has not been previously started. After they turn 18, the usual time limit of 3 years then applies.
If the claimant has diminished mental capacity, they may not be able to pursue their own claim even once they are of age. In these cases, a litigation friend would still be required. If they recover, the usual time limit of 3 years again applies.
Personal injury claims on behalf of a child are very similar to adult personal injury claims. The only real difference is the time limitation period. If making a personal injury claim, your compensation will be split into general and special damages. This will be paid as one sum, but each element is assessed differently.
General damages is the compensation the claimant receives for their injuries and the suffering they have experienced as a result. Any required medical treatments will be taken into account, as well as any lasting disabilities and symptoms.
A medical appointment with an independent doctor will be part of the personal injury claims process. This will look at the injuries suffered and how these injuries could affect the quality of life. The assessment will conclude with a report being sent to the different parties involved in the claim.
Special damages will cover any specific financial costs that have been experienced as a result of the injury. This would include potential future costs, such as the continued cost of care throughout recovery. Some other examples of special damages include:
- Loss of earnings, in a child accident claim this would be if a parent needed to take time away from work and did not receive their full pay.
- Home adaptions, such as the instalment of a wheelchair ramp
- Medical treatments when these cannot be covered by the NHS
- Damage to personal property,
- Supports, such as crutches.
If a child accident claim is successful they can receive both general damages to cover pain and suffering. They could also be entitled to special damages for financial implications. We have included a table that has injury value brackets. These figures are taken from the Judicial College guidelines. This is a document used by legal professionals to help calculate general damages in personal injury claims. However, you should know that these figures are not guaranteed for your specific case, as they are calculated using past cases that have been settled in court.
Harm Caused How Severe Compensation Brackets Comments
Back Minor (i) £7,410 to £11,730 A full recovery takes place without surgery within 2-5 years.
Achilles Tendon Serious £23,460 to £28,240 Complete division of the tendon has been successfully repaired. However, there will be a limitation of ankle movements, a residual weakness and scarring and a limp where further improvement is not likely.
Neck Moderate (iii) £7,410 to £12,900 Injuries that may have exacerbated or accelerated a pre-existing condition. This bracket may also apply to moderate soft tissue injuries with an increased vulnerability to further trauma or permanent symptoms.
Arm Amputation (iii) £90,250 to £102,890 Below-elbow amputation through the forearm. There will be severe organic and phantom pains.
Elbow Less Severe £14,690 to £30,050 There will be an impairment of function but without the need for major surgery. There will not be a significant disability.
Lung Disease (A) £94,470 to £127,530 For a young person with a serious disability that is likely to worsen to the point of a premature death.
Head/Brain Minor £2,070 to £11,980 If brain damage is present, it will be minimal.
Knee Severe (iii) £24,580 to £40,770 Less severe fractures that result in less significant disabilities. Continuing symptoms may include instability, deformity and limitation of movement.
Psychiatric Damage Moderate £5,500 to £17,900 Issues with work, life and relationships. However, a marked improvement will have been made by trial, and the prognosis will be good.
As aforementioned, additionally, successful claimants could also claim for special damages. This is only possible if general damages are awarded. We only cover general damages in the table above.
Starting a child accident claim could be made a lot easier with the help of No Win No Fee personal injury solicitors. A No Win No Fee solicitor will only charge a success fee when the claim has concluded with compensation. They generally, do not charge a fee to begin working on the claim or while the claim is progressing. If the claim is lost there will be no fee to pay the solicitor.
No Win No Fee is the umbrella term used for agreements that’s mean the fee paid to the solicitor is conditional on the outcome of the claim. This type of agreement means the solicitor takes on much of the financial risks so that you don’t have to. They won’t require you to pay anything upfront or during your case. You will only need to pay your solicitor if your case succeeds.
As payment, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount before it is paid to you. This success fee is legally capped so that you can keep the majority of your compensation amount.
If a No Win No Fee agreement sounds beneficial to you, contact our team of advisors to find out more. If they think you could have a good chance of success, they could pass you on to a solicitor who will start work on the child accident claim today.
Resources For Claimants
We are almost at the end of the guide if you still have questions the resources below may help you or you can call our advice line 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
My Child Got Hit By a Car, Can I Claim? – If your child was hit by a car, this guide may be able to answer your questions.
Council Slip Trip Accidents – If you’ve had a slip, trip or fall accident on council property, this guide can explain how you could claim compensation.
How to Claim Compensation from a Public School – If you have stuffed an injury in a public school, our article could help you.
Toddler and Baby Safety – The NHS guide on keeping your toddler or baby safe.
Physiotherapy Services Near You – Find the closest NHS physiotherapy service near you.
We have come to the end of this guide on how to make a child accident claim, call our advisors for more advice.