As you may know, if you’re injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation from the other driver. However, if a child is injured, they cannot claim compensation on their own as they are not old enough to represent themselves in legal matters. Therefore, a legal process exists that lets adults represent the child so that they can still be compensated.
The process isn’t exactly the same as other types of personal injury claims so we’ve written this guide to explain how to make a car accident claim for a child. As we progress, we’ll look at who could claim on behalf of a child and what happens if compensation is awarded.
Our team can help you if you’re thinking of representing a child injured in a car accident. To begin, we’ll work with you to review your case during a no-obligation consultation. You’ll be given free legal advice and the advisor will explain your options. If there are sufficient grounds to continue, one of our personal injury solicitors will be asked to represent you. If they agree to take your claim on, you and your child will benefit from a No Win No Fee service. That means the only time you’ll have to pay the solicitor for their work is if your case is successful.
To begin a car accident claim for a child right away, please call an advisor on 0800 6524 881. If you’d rather find out more about the claims process before calling, please continue reading the rest of our guide.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For A Child Injured In A Car Accident?
- Common Injuries To Children Involved In Car Accidents
- What Is A Litigation Friend?
- How Much Compensation Can Be Claimed On Behalf Of A Child Injured In A Car Crash?
- Evidence To Support A Car Accident Claim For Child
- Time Limits For Making A Car Accident Claim For A Child
- Why Claim Compensation For A Child Hurt In A Car Accident Using Our Solicitors?
Before we explain how you can represent your child in a car accident claim, we should explain the eligibility criteria for claiming compensation. Essentially, if you can answer yes to the following three questions, you could be eligible to claim:
- Did the other driver owe your child a duty of care?
- Was the other driver negligent in some way and did that lead to a car accident?
- Was your child injured in that accident?
Don’t worry if you’re not sure about the answer to question 1 as the answer is almost always yes. That’s because all road users have a duty of care to try and prevent accidents by driving carefully. This legal duty is established by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Therefore, if you’re to win compensation for your child, you’ll need to concentrate on providing evidence to prove how the accident happened and the extent of the injuries that your child sustained. We’ll explain what evidence you could provide to do this later on.
A car accident claim for a child can be based on any injury sustained in an accident that was not their fault. Some of the most common injuries compensation’s claimed for include:
- Bruising and soft tissue damage.
- Head, neck and shoulder injuries.
- Back injuries.
- Bone fractures.
- Sprains and strains.
- Cuts and lacerations.
If your child has been injured in a car accident and you’d like to claim compensation for them, please get in touch.
As we mentioned at the start, children (those under 18 years old) cannot represent themselves in legal matters. However, if you believe your child should be compensated after a car accident, you could become their litigation friend.
By doing so, you’ll be able to claim compensation for your child and make decisions on their behalf. Usually, parents and guardians are appointed as litigation friends but other adults including friends, family, or solicitors can also take on the role.
Before you start the claims process, you will need to apply to a court to formally become your child’s litigation friend. This is something we can help with if you decide to proceed with a claim.
If you claim compensation for your child injured in a car crash, it’s important to consider all the ways in which they have already suffered and how they might suffer in the future. General damages can be sought to cover the impact of their injuries while special damages could be used to cover any costs linked to their injuries. If you do take action, your child’s compensation could be based on:
- The pain and suffering they’ve had to deal with because of their injuries.
- Any loss of amenity. For example, if your child has broken a wrist in a car accident and that prevented them from playing on their console with their friends, this could be factored in.
- The cost of caring for your child while they were injured.
- Any medical expenses.
- Changes to your home if your child is left disabled by the accident and the changes will improve their quality of life.
- Travel expenses linked to your child’s injuries.
- Future loss of earnings if your child’s ability to work in the long-term has been affected.
The differences between general and special damages are explained in more detail here.
If a car accident claim for a child is successful, any compensation offer will be vetted by a court to ensure it is a fair amount. If they agree to the settlement, it will be paid into the Court Funds Office and managed by the court.
As a litigation friend, you can ask for money to be withdrawn if you can explain how it will benefit your child. This arrangement will last until the child turns 18-years old. At this point, funds will be transferred into their own bank account and your role as litigation friend will end.
As with any type of injury claim, you’ll need to supply evidence that proves who caused the car accident and the extent of your child’s injuries. Therefore, if you decide to make a claim for a child, you could use any of the following as evidence:
- Medical reports. If you took your child to the hospital or a GP surgery for treatment, your solicitor could request their medical notes to help prove the injuries they sustained.
- Witness information. You should ask anybody else who was present at the time of the accident for their contact details. If liability for the car crash is denied, your solicitor could use witness statements to try and establish what happened.
- Photographs. It is a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene before any vehicles are removed. These could help to work out who caused the accident. Only do this if it’s safe to do so.
- Dashcam footage. If any vehicles at the scene of the accident were fitted with a dashcam, ask the owner to send you a copy of the relevant footage.
- Police reports. In more serious road accidents, the police might carry out an investigation to try and establish what happened. If so, ask for your copy of their report.
- Details about the other driver. It is important to get as much information from anybody else involved in the accident. Try to write down their name, contact details, insurance details and information about their vehicle (including the registration number).
You might also find it helpful to keep a diary of events so it’s easier to discuss the impact of your child’s injuries. For example, you could keep track of days they couldn’t go to school or family events, days you couldn’t work because you were caring for the child and any costs you incurred because of your child’s injuries.
The normal rule for making personal injury claims following a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) is that you must claim within a 3-year time limit. However, that does not apply to claims involving children until they turn 18.
As a litigation friend, you can take action on behalf of your child at any point before their 18th birthday. If you decide not to claim, your child will have the option to claim themselves within 3-years of their 18th birthday.
Although you can claim at any point, our advice is to seek legal advice sooner rather than later. There are several reasons for this including:
- It will be easier to secure evidence to support your case.
- You and your child will find it easier to recall what happened.
- An interim payment could be requested by your solicitor to cover the cost of private medical treatment if needed to help your child recover sooner.
If you’d like to know more, please call to discuss your options.
If you wish to begin a claim on behalf of a child hurt in a car accident, the easiest way to start is to call our team on 0800 6524 881. An advisor will explain the claims process and review your case for free.
If your case is accepted, you’ll be represented by one of our No Win No Fee solicitors. That means there won’t be any solicitors fees payable unless your child is compensated. If the case is won, you’ll pay a success fee that’s simply deducted directly from the settlement to pay for your solicitor’s work and expenses.
If you’d like to know anything else about making a car accident claim for a child please call or get in touch via live chat.