If your child is injured in an accident, you may find that it entitles you to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and distress that your child had to endure. If insufficient safety measures were in place and as a consequence your child got injured, you should contact a solicitor so they can assess whether you have a valid child accident claim.
To find out more about children’s accident claims, what evidence would be needed and the level of compensation you could expect to receive, please read on.
What Type of Children’s Accident Can I Claim For?
There are a variety of accidents that occur in specific places which could leave a child suffering from injuries. This could include the following:
- Accidents that happen in an educational environment which includes when a child goes on a school trip
- Road traffic accidents
- Accidents that occur in public areas which includes places like shopping centres, play areas, parks and supermarkets
- Injuries caused by medical negligence
If you are unsure whether your children’s accident claim would be valid, you could contact a solicitor who can offer you an initial, free, no obligation consultation. This allows the solicitor the chance to assess your case before recommending how best to go forward with a claim. If the solicitor feels your case is strong, they would typically offer to represent you by signing a No Win No Fee agreements so you would not have to worry about costly legal fees in order to seek compensation for the injuries your child sustained.
What is the Process When Making a Children’s Accident Claim?
It is always advisable to seek legal advice prior to making any sort of personal injury claim. The reason being that lawyers have the right legal expertise to deal with all aspects of a case against a negligent third party. As mentioned previously, the initial consultation you would have with a solicitor is free of charge and once they are satisfied that your children’s accident claim is valid, they would then offer vital legal advice on what you would have to do next which would include the following:
- Gathering as much evidence as you possibly can to support your children’s accident claim. The more proof you can provide of third party negligence, the stronger your case would be
- Getting witness statements as well as their contact details
- Requesting CCTV footage of the accident – if available
- Getting medical reports detailing the extent of the injuries your child sustained
The solicitor would then contact the person/people who could be held responsible for your child’s injuries to establish whether they accept or deny liability. Should the third party accept responsibility, the solicitor may then request an interim payment from them which could go towards any medical care your child may need in the private sector.
The money paid in an interim payment can also go a long way in helping with other costs that you may have to deal with until a final settlement can be reached. An interim payment would then be deducted from the compensation you are awarded whether this is through the courts or in an out of court settlement offered by the insurer.
Should the third party refuse responsibility for the injuries you child suffered, the solicitor you work with would begin court proceedings against them, bearing in mind that most personal injury claims never go before a judge because insurers prefer to settle out of court, thus avoiding having to pay all the court costs which includes theirs and yours.
However, it is worth noting that all personal injury claims that involve a child must be heard by a judge for what is known as an “infant approval hearing” which is a legal process that is set in place to ensure that children are awarded an acceptable and fair level of compensation that reflects the extent of the injuries they suffered.
Does My Children’s Accident Claim Have to Go to Court?
Around 95% of personal injury cases are settled prior to going to court. Should the third party have accepted liability for the injuries your child sustained, a solicitor would then enter into negotiations with the third party’s insurers. If responsibility is denied, the solicitor would then recommend starting legal proceedings against them and would act on your behalf throughout the process.
Once your children’s accident claim has been received by the courts, a decision would be made on how to proceed which would include factoring in the following:
- The complexity of the case
- The financial value of the children’s accident claim
The court would then set a timetable as well as dates for when all the details and information would need to be submitted to them. A trial date would then be set.
What Happens When a Trial Date is Set for a Children’s Accident Claim?
Once a trial date has been set for a children’s accident claim, the solicitor who represents you would provide the court with the list of documents relating to your case. This would include the following:
- Witness statements
- Medical reports
- All other relevant documents pertaining to your children’s accident claim
Before a solicitor sends the necessary documents/evidence is sent to the court, you would be asked to verify that all the right information has been included before adding your signature to the evidence provided.
It is worth noting that the court would try to set the trial date so that it is practical for all parties concerned. Should your children’s accident claim reach the court, the solicitor who represents you would handle all aspects on your behalf and they would provide you with essential support throughout the proceedings.
Could I Be Offered an Out of Court Settlement If Court Proceedings Have Started?
Just because a court has set a trial date to hear your children’s accident claim, does not necessarily mean that your case would go to court. The reason being that many personal injury claims are settled prior to a court case starting. Should this be the case, the solicitor who represents you would ensure that a fair and acceptable level of compensation is awarded.
How Would Children’s Accident Compensation Help Me Financially?
When you file a children’s accident claim for compensation on behalf of your injured child, it allows you the comfort of not having to worry about expenses and other costs you may have to meet. This would include the following:
- Specialist private medical treatment and therapy both immediate and ongoing
- Travel costs to and from a medical facility to receive required therapy and treatment
- Home tutors should your child not be able to attend school
- Loss of earnings if you are obliged to take time off work to take care of your child
- The cost of rehabilitation
- Adaptations to the home should these be necessary to make life more comfortable for your child
The level of compensation you may receive would depend on the severity of your child’s injuries and the long-term prognosis. A solicitor would ensure the amount you receive is both fair and acceptable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Children’s Accident Claim?
If you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been injured in an accident, you would have up to the date of the child’s 18th birthday to file a claim on their behalf. As such, the 3 year time limit would begin the day the injured child turns 18 years of age which in short, means a personal injury claim can be made right up to their 21st birthday. With this said, it is far better to begin a children’s accident claim as soon as possible while the events that led up to the accident and the memories of the incident are still fresh in everyone’s mind, including the witnesses.
Would a Solicitor Work on My Children’s Accident Claim on a No Win No Fee Basis?
A solicitor would assess whether your children’s accident claim is valid before offering to work on the case on a No Win No Fee basis. You would be offered a free, initial consultation at which time the solicitor would ask you relevant questions to determine whether a third party could be held liable for the injuries your child sustained in the accident and once satisfied, they would offer you No Win No Fee terms as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement you sign.
The CFA would also set out the work a solicitor would do when acting on your behalf. The solicitor would explain the legal process involved in this type of personal injury claim clearly which would include how a No Win No Fee agreement works as detailed below:
- A No Win No Fee agreement is a Conditional Fee Agreement which is legally binding contract between you and the solicitor
- This agreement allows you to claim compensation for your injured child without any financial risk to yourself. There would be no upfront or ongoing fees to pay
- The agreement sets out the “success fee” which is an agreed percentage that would only be payable to the solicitor once you have won your children’s accident claim and you are awarded the compensation you sought with the amount being taken out of the money you receive. The percentage payable on successful personal injury claims is never more than 25% of the total amount awarded
- Should you lose your claim, there would be nothing to pay the solicitor for the legal advice and representation they provided
What Level of Children’s Accident Compensation Could I Be Awarded?
The amount of children’s accident compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim would depend on the severity of the injuries your child sustained and how their future life may be negatively impacted. Other things that would be factored into the amount you could receive are as follows:
- Whether ongoing, long-term treatment and therapy is required
- How much money you had to pay out as a direct result of your child’s injuries – this would include medical expenses, travel costs, loss of earnings and all other out of pocket expenses you incurred
- Whether you needed to purchase specialist equipment
- Whether your home needed any sort of adaptation to accommodate your child’s injuries
A solicitor would establish all your damages and losses before drawing up a list of your total out of pocket expenses which would come under “general damages” and “special damages”.
How Can a Solicitor Help Me Make a Children’s Accident Claim?
Solicitors have vast experience in representing parents and guardians who act on behalf of an injured child. They are well aware of the legal pitfalls that must be avoided so that a claim is not rejected. Solicitors understand how to communicate with the party who could be held liable for your child’s injuries and should liability be denied, very often it only takes a letter from a solicitor for the party concerned to accept responsibility.
A No Win No Fee solicitor would handle all aspects of your claim and would work hard to ensure that you are receive a level of compensation that suits the injuries your child sustained. The solicitor would also make sure that your injured child receives the best possible medical care so they make a speedier recovery. This would include physiotherapy and rehabilitation should this be needed to get your child back to normal as soon as possible.
For more information about the law regarding infant personal injury claims, please click on the link below:
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