Children are inspiring. Their inquisitive sensibilities, their wide-eyed curiosity and their playful naivety are exhilarating characteristics that make children “children”. Playing the roll of Devil's advocate, however, when it comes to sustaining injuries, it is three traits that are often the cause of many close-shaves for our kids. And let's face it, when it comes to our children getting hurt, it is more of a case of when than a case of if.
Now, not to scaremonger, we don't want you to suddenly begin over-protecting your child. But let's just get some basic truths out in the open that every parent is already aware of: These injuries can occur at any-time and in any place. In fact, it is frighteningly common to see children injured in school, in playgrounds, in the street and at home, and while we would never advocate using an injury your child may sustain in order to seek financial reward, you should be aware that children are just as eligible for compensation as adults. After all, our bodies break in the same way.
|Don't be overprotected and stop the fun things|
In the UK, the age of responsibility is 18. Therefore, children under that age are not able to log, file or fight a personal injury claim themselves. The only way for the courts to be able to consider the case is for a 'Litigation Friend' to act on behalf of the child, a representative usually coming in the form of a parent or guardian. This Litigation Friend will be considered by the courts beforehand, in order to determine whether the child is fully informed, comfortable and willing to proceed with this person, as well as ensuring that they are operating with the child's best interests at heart.
The Claim Process
The claim process, as with adult claims, is often a rather drawn-out affair. As anyone who's ever tried to push their way through the cogs of liturgy will know – they don't rush; be prepared for the long haul. Of course, there are times when the process can be sped up to match certain features of the case, and in the cases of severe injury – something requiring immediate, costly care – then the courts can provide back-dated pay outs to cover the expenses.
Until a long-term prognosis of the child is actually determined, however, it is actually impossible for any one to estimate an appropriate amount of compensation. After all, a rough idea of the future needs to be reasonably demonstrable in order to know the extent and cost of future care.
Time Limits After an Injury
When an adult wishes to pursue a personal injury claim, they usually have to act within a time limit of three years. Any claims made after this time – except in extraordinary cases – will generally be ignored by the courts. For children, however, this time limit doesn't begin until they hit the age of responsibility: 18. This means that children have up until their 21st birthday to determine whether or not a claim is applicable, giving both parents and children appropriate time to determine the long-lasting effects of any injuries.
When May Compensation be Received?
Of course, should the claim prove successful, large sums of money will not simply be handed over to your child. The usual discourse is to save the money and release it into a bank account on the child's 18th birthday, allowing regular withdrawals in the case that on-going care needs to be paid for.
This is especially common in cases where smaller sums of money are concerned. For example, should an amount less than £2,500 be awarded, the courts may ensure that the money be kept in a National Savings Bank or a building society to accrue interest and for safe keeping ready for release when the child comes of age. In the cases of larger sums, however, especially when receiving considerable compensation (over £10,000) , the court may take any money that is not immediately required and invest it under the discretion of the Courts Fund Office.
Fundamentally, children are prone to danger. By the very grace of their childish sensibilities, they are exposed to a host of various situations of which any could lead to severe injury. Of course, that's not to say we should keep our children indoors, protect from the outside and worry about their every move. No. Children need to be children, let them roam, investigate the world and find out things for themselves. Just know that in the tragic case that something does happen to your child, there are things you can do to partially remedy the situation.
If you're reading this after your child has already fallen victim to an injury, or are looking for advice on how to pursue a claim on before of your child, may we recommend contacting Yorkshire's own Coles-Law Personal Injury Solicitors.