Can I claim compensation for my child?

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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.

Litigation friend

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.

If you have queries about pursuing a potential compensation claim on behalf of your child, contact us so that we can answer your queries or simply start your claim now.

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  1. My 4 year old daughter attends our local village hall for breakfast/ after school club and often attends birthday parties at the village hall – we’ve booked the village hall for her 5th birthday party. When my daughter initially began attending the breakfast/after school club in the village hall the internal fire door leading to the stairwell was propped open- to help smaller children as they moved within the village hall. At some point between October and December the door was no longer propped open, in the mornings I would help my daughter with the internal door so she could go upstairs as she struggled to push the door open independently, I was concerned about the door being difficult for my daughter to open on her own and asked staff to help my daughter where possible as she is little. On some of the doors throughout the village hall there are door hinge guards, apart from the internal fire door previously described. I don’t often make such observations of the building but recent events have meant it is necessary for us to have a great deal of interest and concern. As we’re now moving into warmer days the fire exit door is being propped open so children can use the outdoor play area at the back of the building the fire exit door is adjacent to the internal fire door leading to the stairwell and tonwards the front of the village hall reception/ foyer area are the main entrance doors often switched on to be automatic opening doors which are opposite the internal fire door, this week as my daughter was making her way through the internal fire door it crushed her finger in the door hinge area resulting in a horrific injury to my daughter’s finger. I’m very displeased with the events that have taken place and I’m very upset with the lack of help from the village hall site management team and the breakfast/after school club in regards to trying to obtain the risk assessments and health and safety inspection/reports as clearly there has been a failing. A member of staff said she had raised concerns about the doors in December 2016 and has had no action but she is now refusing to show us her reports. The building is owned by the local authority whom myself and my husband work for so we’re worried about the aftermath of pursuing a claim for our daughter’s injury. Equally my daughter should not have had to experience such an ordeal had the right actions been taken by either the club or building management and because there are two opportunities for risk assessments to have been carried out by both parties I’m deeply disappointed that my daughter has been injured. I’m also upset with the handling of the situation by the staff for instance the site manager felt it necessary to explain to me why they were unable to wedge open the internal fire door as the hall could incur a £7K fine however they had the fire exit door propped open, the club manager stated she wasn’t aware that the internal fire door was in need of door hinge guard and she’d put it on her list of things to do, the site management when later questioned about the recent risk assessment and health and safety inspection refused to be forthcoming and instead questioned our need for the reports despite the fact he was informed we are paying customers hiring the village hall in the next few months and would like to confidently invite friends and family to the village hall safely as well as the fact that we are customers through the use of the breakfast/after school club. We feel as though there has been negligence for the safety of others and no one is willing to be honest and helpful. I’d like to know can I make a formal complaint and claim as litigation friend for my daughter as ultimately I’d like to see the necessary precautions put into place as soon as possible as my daughter will no doubt continue her attendance to the village hall as her friends are established and she enjoys attending, I’d hate this to happen to anyone else nor do I want there to be a risk for it to happen to my daughter ever again.

    Thanks in advance

    • As a parent, I am really sorry to learn about this very distressing injury to your daughter and I hope that she is able to make a speedy recovery. Given your description of the incident itself and the lack of safety provision on this door, I believe you have a very viable claim for your daughter. Indeed, our specialist solicitors have succeeded with a number of claims of a very similar nature over the years.

      Yes, as a parent of a child under the age of 18, you can act as a litigation friend and pursue a claim on behalf of your daughter. Acting as a litigation friend simply means that you agree to act in your daughters best interests and provide the instructions to the solicitor in place of the young child.

      Any claim we act on would be through a No Win No Fee process and your daughters rights would be protected. I strongly suggest that we embark on a claim for your daughter and I therefore invite you to forward your contact number to me by email. Once we have those, we can take some further information and then assign this matter to the right specialist solicitor to act for your daughter. Alternatively, you can call us on 01225430285 Mon – Fri between 9am and 5pm.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian Morris

    • Yes, we can certainly make a claim for this – the people responsible for the management/running of this hall were on notice of a problem and failed to act and as such have exposed your daughter to the risk of serious injury. In doing this, they have exposed themselves to liability for any claim that may arise.

      Please send me your contact number so that we speak with you to get the details we need to take this forwards.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian

Direct2Compensation Personal Injury Claims

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