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Accidents Involving Children
Any accident which has caused an injury can cause stress and worry but never more so than when a child is involved.
We at Dutton Gregory are particularly aware that the best interests of an injured child must be protected at all times and that where serious and/or life long injuries have been sustained, the child receives the compensation that will help protect them for the rest of their lives. This is not always straightforward, particularly when the child is so young but Dutton Gregory’s specialist lawyers have the expertise to advise the parent or guardian every step of the way.
We will advise you on how to make a claim on behalf of your child; the time limits relating to personal injury claims involving children; what a Litigation Friend is; any financial issues that you may have including whether an interim payment can be made and any educational needs that may arise; whether the Court of Protection needs to be involved and whether the child needs any rehabilitation or treatment.
Frequently asked questions that arise;
1. What is a Litigation Friend and why does my child need one?
A Litigation Friend is an adult who represents the interests of the child. A child needs a Litigation Friend because until they reach the age of majority at 18, they have no legal right to pursue a claim in their own name. It is often the case that the parent or guardian becomes the Litigation Friend; provided they were not the cause of the accident. A Litigation Friend will in effect act as our ‘client’ and provide Dutton Gregory with instructions on behalf of the child.
2. When the claim settles, what happens?
- All settlement awards agreed between the insurance company and us (on behalf of a child) must be approved by a court in order for the agreement to be legally binding. The approval of the court also ensures that the settlement amount agreed between the two sides is sufficient compensation for the child.
- Once the court approves the award, it will generally make an order that the money will be paid into the Court Funds Office, where it will be invested on the child’s behalf until he or she is 18 years old. There are exceptions to this but these will be at the court’s discretion. This is to protect the child and ensure that he/she receives the full amount of compensation.
- Once the ‘child’ reaches 18 years of age, he or she can apply to the court to have the money withdrawn.
3. How long does a child have to make a personal injury claim?
The rules relating to children are different because ordinarily an adult who has been injured in an accident only has 3 years from the date of the accident/injury (or date of knowledge of injury) whichever is the latest, to pursue a personal injury claim without involving the court. However, a child, who was under the age of 18 at the time the accident occurred, has 3 years from their 18 th birthday to do so. This means that they must settle their claim by their 21 st birthday at the latest otherwise proceedings at court must be issued.
We strongly advise any parent or guardian to contact Dutton Gregory as soon as possible because it is always in the injured person’s best interests, whether they are an adult or a child, to pursue the claim from the beginning.
Dutton Gregory’s specialist lawyers have dealt with thousands of claims involving children over the past 35 years. We have a wealth of knowledge to reassure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that your child is protected and receives the compensation that they deserve. Please call our freephone enquiry line today on 0800 0901499.