Child injury compensation claims
The following article takes you through what you need to know about making a successful child injury compensation claim.
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 these being slips trips and falls.
According to 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.
Parents or guardians can start a claim on behalf of a minor 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.
In 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.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
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
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.
Amounts for general damages are recommended by the Judicial College and published in their personal injury awards guidelines.
Compensation awards reflect the seriousness and type of injury, including long-term effects and are laid out in the form of upper and lower figures for each category.
Though the guidelines do not restrict the Courts, their use in Court is commonplace. Most insurers and solicitors also refer to the guidelines when calculating compensation for an accident or illness.
You can also make a claim for special damages. This can include any expenses arising from the accident including the cost of care and treatment and travel to and from hospital for appointments.
In simple cases where liability for the accident and injury is admitted by the other side, claims can conclude in a matter of months.
In more complex circumstances, those involving serious injury or where liability for the injury is not accepted by the defendant, the process can take much longer.
As every case is different, it is very difficult to predict exactly the length of time it will take to agree a settlement.
Your solicitor may advise that you do not accept the first offer of compensation made by the other side. Waiting for more evidence or a better understanding of the extent of your child's injuries can result in a better offer.
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.
A No Win, No Fee agreement, or CFA (Conditional Fee Agreement), comprises a crucial component of most claims.
The Conditional Fee Agreement sets out the contract or "terms and conditions" between your lawyer and you.
The agreement details the service the solicitor handling your case will provide and the "success fee" that will be deducted from your compensation award if your case is won.
Selecting a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor, you are able to focus on your recovery, with the knowledge that there will be nothing to pay if the claim is not successful.
Meet the QLS team
Quittance Legal Services' nationwide network of solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim and have a wealth of experience in fast track, complex and serious injury claims. Selected because of their track record in winning cases, our solicitors have years of dedicated experience recovering compensation for their clients.
About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert