Anyone who is injured in a car accident may have a legal right to claim compensation for their injuries if the accident was caused due to somebody else’s fault, including children. The limitation period for making a car accident injury claim is generally 3 years from the date that the accident occurred, or from when the injury was linked to the accident, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder which may not surface for some time after.
The legalities are a little different if the person injured is under the age of 18. On the one hand, their minor status prevents them from directly pursuing any legal action against the other party. On the other hand, there is the 3-year time limit for filing most personal injury claims. This means a child injured in a car accident could have potentially lost out on the compensation due to them if they are still minors 3 years after the accident. The law has taken this into consideration and has introduced special legal clauses that govern a car accident claims for a child.
Time Limit For Filing A Car Accident Claim For Children
In the UK, children under the age of 18 can’t file a personal injury claim themselves. This is even if they were injured in an accident that was clearly not their fault. To ensure that children’s legal rights are protected and that they can be compensated for their injuries, they have a longer time limit for filing the claim.
For a child injured in a car accident, the time limit is 3 years from the day they turn 18 years of age. This means the 3 years starts on the date of their 18th birthday and the claim must be filed before their 21st birthday.
Legally, a child could wait until they turn 18 to start the process. However, this is something to consider only if there is really no other option. Most personal injury solicitors would advise against waiting this long as it becomes much more difficult to pursue a car accident claim for a child as time goes on. The earlier the claim is filed, the better a child’s chances of winning compensation.
There is one way that children under 18 can pursue a claim for compensation and that is with the help of a ‘litigation friend’.
Special Provisions For Pursuing Car Accident Claim For Child
Before a child turns 18, they are deemed to not have the legal capacity to fully comprehend their legal rights or the legal process for filing a car accident claim. This could leave them vulnerable to not receiving the full compensation due to them for their injuries or even completely forfeiting the compensation due to them. To protect the child’s right to getting the full benefit of the law, they can be legally represented by a person over the age of 18. This person is known as a litigation friend.
A litigation friend could be a parent or anyone over 18 years who is responsible for the child. The litigation friend acts on behalf of the child they are representing and takes on responsibility for their welfare, particularly with regards to all legal matters.
If you are the litigation friend for your child or for a minor who is not your child, you will be responsible for pursuing the claim on the minor’s behalf.
How To Pursue A Car Accident Claim For A Child As A Litigation Friend
Filing a car accident claim for a child is complex, more so when you are filing it on behalf of another individual. Any mistake when filling in the details or when filing the claim could result in the injured minor forfeiting the compensation due to them.
The best way to start a car accident claim on behalf of a child is by taking advantage of the free consultation offered by most personal injury solicitors. During this consultation, the solicitor will first make sure that you have a valid case for filing the claim. If you do, they will help you with advice on how to proceed, typically on a No Win No Fee basis. The No Win No Fee agreement allows injured persons to get the benefit of their legal expertise without paying any upfront fees. Our solicitors can explain in detail how our No Win No Fee agreement works and how the payment is to be made if the case is successful and compensation is awarded.
What Happens To The Compensation That Is Awarded To A Child?
The disbursement of the compensation award for children is different to adult compensation claims. For successful adult claims, the compensation payment is typically transferred to the claimant’s bank account.
In successful child injury claims, the settlement amount is usually transferred to the Court Funds Office until they turn 18 years old. This ensures that only the claimant benefits from the award and nobody else.
If the child needs to buy items that they cannot afford, they may be allowed to withdraw smaller amounts from the total compensation amount before their 18th birthday. To access this money, the child’s parent or guardian must submit a written letter to the court requesting them to release the funds. The court will check the veracity of the request before releasing any money before it becomes due.
How Much Compensation For Car Accident Claims For Children?
Compensation is awarded for general damages and special damages meaning is there is not one set settlement amount that every child injured in a car accident would receive.
General damages are awarded for the child’s pain and suffering. This takes into consideration the prognosis and seriousness of the injury.
Special damages take into consideration actual expenses associated with the car accident and injury. Examples of expenditures being medical expenses, cost of travel related to the medical treatment and the cost of mobility or assistive devices. The cost of home care is also reimbursed, whether that home care is provided by a professional or a family member. If one parent or a family has to stay home to care for the injured child, that is compensated for under the cost of home care. Depending on the extent of the injury and the prognosis by medical experts, predicted loss of earning may also be considered.
When you have a personal injury solicitor to file a car accident claim for a child, they will take all the factors into the calculation and make sure that the injured child gets the maximum amount of compensation due to them.