A Guide to Claiming Child Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an accident involving children we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an accident involving children and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) argue that accidents involving children are substantially under-reported. HSE data for schools suggest that around 35,000 injuries are sustained by children in education, the majority of these being slips trips and falls.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates, many more children are injured on Britain's roads, after exposure to environmental hazards, or as the result of defective products.

There is a large body of law in place to protect children from harm and to ensure compensation can be claimed when minors are injured as a result of the acts or negligence of others.

Who can make a personal injury claim on behalf of a child?

Parents or guardians can start a claim on behalf of a minor who was injured as a result of an accident. For an accident involving a child to be eligible for compensation, a number of factors must be considered:

  • The party responsible for the accident must owe the child a duty of care (e.g. teachers owe a duty of care to their students, drivers owe a duty to pedestrians and other road users)
  • The accident will need to have resulted from a breach of that duty
  • The accident must be the cause of the child's injuries

Time limits for claiming compensation if a child is injured

Claims can be made on behalf of a child at any time up to their 18th birthday. An injured child has another three years, until the date of their 21st birthday, to begin their own claim if they choose.

A parent, guardian, friend or relative who is making a personal injury claim for the child is referred to as a 'litigation friend' by the Courts.

The litigation friend will be responsible for taking decisions in respect of the claim. A settlement agreed on behalf of a child or protected party will need to be approved in an informal hearing.

Can a claim be made if the child was trespassing, or was otherwise injured partly due to their own actions?

A claim for compensation can still succeed if accountability for the injury or accident is shared by both sides.

Children do not always appreciate possible risks or consequences when faced with danger. They are not expected to foresee and avoid injury to the same degree that an adult would.

With occupier's liability claims, following an accident on someone else's property, the defendant is held to a higher standard when a compensation claim involves a child.

How personal injury compensation can help

A compensation award or settlement cannot change the past, but it can assist with treatment and ongoing care costs.

Compensation can be claimed on behalf of a minor for:

  • their medical treatment and care costs
  • anticipated future treatment and care
  • other expenses including travel costs
  • damage to personal possessions
  • loss or reduction of mental or physical capacity
  • general pain and suffering

Claiming on behalf of a child

We recognise that claiming compensation on behalf of a child requires the utmost care, sensitivity and professionalism. In consideration of the circumstances of your child's accident or illness, your solicitor will tailor their advice and approach to suit you.

The parents or guardians of an injured child often prefer to discuss their options with a specialist before going ahead with a claim. Quittance's solicitors are available to run through your options and offer any guidance and support needed.

Our solicitors have acted on behalf of children injured in a wide range of circumstances. We can assist with claims including:

  • accidents and injury at school or on school trips
  • accidents on public property
  • injuries sustained on poorly-maintained parks and playgrounds
  • birth injuries and other clinical negligence
  • injury or illness sustained as a result of discarded waste or harmful substances

Quittance's solicitors help you to focus on your child's treatment, care and recovery, giving clear advice in plain English throughout the process.

How much compensation can I claim for a child injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your child injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your child injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a child injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a child injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a child injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your child injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Find out what your child injury claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages?are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the child injury injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.?

Calculate my claim

How long do I have to make a child injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the child injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your child injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a child injury after 3 years?

For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a child injury.

However, if you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a child injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for a child injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your child injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Who pays for this specialist help?

The cost of treatment will be factored into your compensation settlement paid by the defendant or their insurance company. Should you require private treatment before the case settles, an interim payment to cover treatment costs may be possible.

What is the chance of winning a claim for compensation?

For a claim to be successful, it must be shown that another party was the cause of the injury. Dependent on the circumstances of the case, the party responsible could be the owner or operator of a business, the manufacturer or distributor of a defective product, a local authority or NHS trust.

If liability is contested, or only partly accepted, it will be harder to reach a successful outcome.

If the other side has admitted that they are responsible, you have a strong chance of success.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)

If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:

Public Place Claims - What you need to know

In a road accident

If you are thinking of making a road accident claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Road Accident Claims - What you need to know

Medical negligence

According to the latest figures published in 2019, there were over 17,000 clinical negligence claims in the year 2016-17. This increase is largely down to an overstretched NHS.

If you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim, there are some key points to be aware of:

Clinical Negligence Claims - What you need to know

Other claim types

Find details on another type of claim:

See list of other claims

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything at all if your child injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

Our no win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a child injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my child injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my child injury claim?

If your child injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees .

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Child Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert