Child injury claims are a corner of personal injury law in which a lot of nuances exists.
Growing up, we can all likely recall moments where we ended up getting into accidents and sustaining random injuries. While the odd bump and bruise is a part of your child’s life, parents understand their role as a protector takes on a different meaning when things get serious.
When someone’s negligence or lack of care results in an unsafe environment that leads to injury to your child, you can – and should – take action. It’s rarely a case of whether a mother wants to act, but a question of knowing what to do, and what rights you have as their parent and, or, guardian.
Your Child’s Rights to Claim
The first thing to acknowledge is that, as a non-direct claimant, you have a choice as to whether you claim compensation on your child’s behalf or opt to allow the child to claim the compensation themselves when they turn 18.
The law also states that the child who received the injuries can pursue a claim until they turn 21, and pursue it directly by their 18th birthday. This ensures that significant time hasn’t passed since their accident, and they can act in a responsible manner when they choose to act.
Many potential claimants struggle to raise claims due to personal doubts or fears over legal costs. Speaking to a solicitor on your personal injury claim doesn’t have to be a commitment to make a claim. Many firms offer ‘no win, no fee’ services and free consultations to instil more confidence in their clients.
Your Role in a Claim
As a parent, you must become what is known as a ‘litigation friend’ in legal terminology. Once you have been identified in this role by the solicitor, you can make decisions on behalf of your child, and also be considered as part of the compensation in some cases.
This is because of how compensation is calculated. Rather than being seen as a direct equaliser for pain and suffering – which really can’t be ‘solved’ with money – compensation is designed to cover costs for rehab, recovery and lost earnings. If, as a parent, you had to take time off work or leave work altogether to care for an injured child, a court will consider this as lost earnings, for example.
Your role can evolve into a sort of ‘proxy’ for the child claimant you’re standing for. Collating evidence, taking photos, reporting the incident to authorities, recording expenses and collecting names of witnesses are all really helpful and valid actions a parent or guardian can take.
Child injury claims are a corner of personal injury law in which a lot of nuances exists. What constitutes a guardian means a lot of different people can claim on behalf of the child, and whether the child needs to attend ‘infant approval’ process (a chance for the child to agree to terms of settlement) or not. Even how compensation can be an open question, requiring serious thought.
Approaching a claim with openness, honesty and your child’s best interests at heart is what must be prioritised. For any guardian, the child’s recovery process is what matters most, so picking an empathetic, experienced and effective legal representation to represent you should be your first port of call.