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In most circumstances, when anyone is making a claim for personal injury compensation after an accident that was not their fault, they will deal with it themselves. However, in the case of a son or daughter, elderly parent or any vulnerable person that is unable to cope with such matters alone, people are often unsure as to how to go about pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation on their behalf.
Pursuing a claim for a loved one is much the same as pursuing a claim for yourself. You are simply acting as a responsible adult on behalf of your child regarding the pursuit of the claim. Any parent or legal guardian of a child (under 18 years) can act as a ‘litigation friend’ for them.
When claiming compensation for a child, the process is the same as when claiming for an adult, save for the fact that a legal guardian (usually a parent of the child) will act in the capacity of a litigation friend on behalf of the child. The litigation friend will give the instructions to the solicitor, sign the paperwork and agreements for the child and along with the solicitor ensure that the client’s interests are protected.
When it comes to the settlement of the claim, you will be asked to sign a parental indemnity form in which you confirm that the settlement received will be retained for the child and that it will not be used by the parent. In most cases, the settlement can be placed in a trust account to mature on the child’s 18th birthday. Your specialist solicitor will be able to help you with the running of your claim and help you to decide how best to manage the settlement.
Claim time limits
The only other difference from children’s claims to those of adults, is the amount of time available in which the claimant has the legal right to make a claim. This period of time is called ‘limitation’. In the circumstances of an adult over the age of 18, the injured party has 3 years from the date of the accident, or the date of diagnosis for an industrial disease, in which they can register their claim in the courts. However, in the case of a minor under the age of 18, the claimant has until their 21st birthday – or 3 years from their 18th birthday – in which to register their claim in the courts. Failure to register your claim within the legal period of limitation will leave you statute barred and unable to pursue your claim.
So although a child injured in an accident on their 1st birthday, has the legal right to leave it 20 years to pursue their claim, it should be noted that leaving such a long period would severely reduce the prospects of successful pursuit of the claim. In such a long period, evidence would be lost and it becomes ever more difficult to trace 3rd parties.