If your child is injured in an accident, they may be able to claim compensation for any pain, suffering or loss they have endured as a result.
As your child is under the age of 18, someone else will need to make the claim for them (a ‘litigation friend’) which is usually one of their parents or guardians.
Typical child accident claims include:
- Accidents where the child was a passenger in a car or on a bus
- Accidents at nursery or school
- Accidents where the child was a pedestrian
- Trips, slips and falls – on holiday, in a shop or at a tourist attraction, for example
- Accidents where the child was a trespasser on private land
Compensation can pay for:
Actual expenses incurred as a result of the accident, such as damage to clothing and personal items.
An amount for pain and suffering.
The cost of any future medical treatment, aids and appliances that may be needed.
Q: The accident happened some time ago – can I still claim for my child?
Most claims for compensation need to be started within three years of the accident taking place (or within three years of realising that your injuries were caused by the accident).
However, the rules are slightly different for children and you can claim compensation for them any time up until they reach the age of 18. Once they reach 18, they then have three years to bring the claim themselves, if it was not already done for them. If your child is being treated under the Mental Health Act 1983, the three year deadline begins from the date they are discharged as a patient.
If you are in any doubt as to whether you can still claim for your child or not, get in touch for advice.
Q: My child was injured while travelling as a passenger in a car driven by their father – can I still claim?
Yes – you or another responsible adult (such as a grandparent) will need to act as their ‘litigation friend’ as the father will be a defendant in the proceedings. In such circumstances, the father’s insurance company will pay the compensation.
Q: My child was injured when they stepped into the path of a car – can I still claim?
Yes – children are not expected to show the same level of care as an adult and it is very rare for the court to see a child under the age of 12 as responsible for an accident in such circumstances. If, however, they do view your child as largely responsible, they may still be entitled to compensation – it will just be reduced to reflect that the driver was only partly to blame.
Q: Will my child’s compensation claim go to court?
A huge number of claims for compensation are settled out of court without the need for a hearing. However, where a claim involves a child, the court will need to approve any offer to settle. This is just a safeguard to ensure that the offer is fair and the claim is not settled for less than it is worth. A special type of hearing – an approval hearing – will be arranged, during which the court will consider whether the offer to settle is a reasonable one.
How we can help
Our friendly personal injury team will assess the facts of your child’s case and advise you if it is likely that you will be able to claim compensation for them. If you have a good case, we will also advise you about how you can fund the claim for compensation.