Compensation Claims for Child Injuries
Making child injury compensation claims in Ireland involves a slightly different process that those for adults. A minor – a child who is under the age of eighteen – must have adult representation from their parent or a guardian if they intend to make a compensation claim. Children are not allowed to hire a solicitor or pursue legal action in their own right, until they reach the age of majority. The adult acting on their behalf is known as a “next friend”.
Approval from the District Court must be sought by the “next friend” before a compensation claim for a child can begin. The “next friend” must accept any financial liability for pursuing the child’s accident claim should it be unsuccessful, and any compensation settlement of the injury compensation claim for a child has to be permitted by a court before a payment is made to the court – where the resulting settlement is held on behalf of the child until he or she becomes eighteen.
Time Limits in Compensation Claims for Child Injury
The Statue of Limitations is also applied slightly differently in a child accident claim. Since a minor cannot pursue a personal injury claim, other than with the representation of a “next friend”, the time limit does not commence until the child reaches majority on their eighteenth birthday, when he or she will have the following two years in which to pursue a compensation claim for the injury they sustained in childhood.
It will work to the victim’s advantage to start compensation claims for child injuries as soon as possible, rather than wait until the child is no longer a minor, for a number of reasons. For one, the solicitor can collect evidence much more efficiently, especially when gathering witness statements while memories are still fresh. Also, if the child accident claim requires the release of compensation funds to provide medical and education support for the child before they reach eighteen years of age, they can be requested from court on application.
Other Important Factors in Child Injury Compensation Claims
Another difference between child and adult personal injury compensation claims is that a child’s application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland cannot be made online. The only possible avenue to submit an application for assessment for child accident claim is through the post.
The value of the compensation settlement for a child may also be significantly different. Although children tend to recover from injuries far quicker than adults, consequently being debilitated by their afflictions for a shorter time period, any injury that will affect their lives permanently must be given special consideration. The child may be eligible for a significant special damages award in respect of the lost opportunity to earn an income if their injury could restrict their ability to work in the future.
The Health and Safety of Your Child
It is of the utmost importance that your child’s health and safety be seen to and monitored immediately after an accident in which he or she has been injured. An ambulance should be called straight away if the child appears to be seriously hurt.
The medical practitioner who treats your child will note his or her presence at the hospital or the doctor’s surgery in medical records which could be used later as evidence in support of the child’s claim for accident compensation. Therefore, your assistance in ensuring that all injuries and any related problems are accurately recorded as soon as possible after the injury was inflicted is vital.
Seeking Advice from a Solicitor about Compensation Claims for Child Injuries
As soon as matters relating to your child’s health and safety are covered, it is in your best interest to consult a solicitor and discuss the circumstances of your child’s accident. You will need a solicitor’s assistance if you wish to pursue a child injury compensation claim, at the very least to have the compensation settlement permitted in court.
Accident victims’ in both adult and child injury compensation claims are often approached by the negligent party’s insurance company with an offer of compensation soon after the accident has occurred, and a solicitor will be in the right position to inform you whether the offer is fair and adequate or whether you would be better advised to pursue a compensation claim for a child through the Injuries Board Ireland.
Pursuing compensation claims for child injuries can be an overwhelming experience, particularly if the parent has also been injured in the same accident or if parents understandably fail to consider the evidence required in support of the child’s injury compensation claim. By seeking the assistance of a legal professional, a solicitor can take care of the practical matters of the compensation claim for your child’s injury while you focus on caring for your child in the wake of his or her injury.
Child Injury Compensation Claims: A Summary
- The procedure for a pursing compensation claims for child injuries differs from an adult compensation claim.
- A child is represented by a “next friend” if their personal injury claim is pursued before he or she reaches the age of majority.
- For child injury compensation claims in Ireland, the Statute of Limitations is applied differently; in that the child plaintiff has two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make a claim.
- It is advisable that a personal injury compensation claim for a child is made as soon as possible after the accident occurs and a solicitor should be called for legal assistance – after the child’s medical needs have been first taken care of.
- By hiring a solicitor, the potential for gathering sufficient evidence to support a compensation claim for a child is made more likely.
It is worth noting that no two personal injury claims are exactly the same. If your child has been injured in an accident in which he or she was not at fault, it is in your best interest that you discuss your particular case and the points discussed in this article with a solicitor as soon as possible.