Quite often accidents occur where the victim is under the age of 18. A personal injury claim can still be brought on behalf of a minor and the claim does not have to be delayed until they reach the age 18.
Who will represent the child?
Anyone under the age of 18 cannot represent themselves in their claim and will, therefore, need someone to act on their behalf. The person will act as their ‘Litigation Friend’.
A litigation friend can be a parent, family member, close friend or a professional such as a guardian or social worker. The litigation friend should not have any conflict of interest in acting for example they could not be the person who they claim is brought against.
What is the role of the litigation friend?
The role of the litigation friend is to represent the child. They must always act in the best interests of the child at all times. The litigation friend must not make decisions in their own interest but must consider what is best for the child when giving instructions. They must conduct court proceedings fairly and competently. They would have to complete a Certificate of Suitability if the matter progresses to Court to state why they are appropriate to undertake that role.
What happens if my child’s claim is successful?
If the claim is successful, the agreed settlement will need to be approved by the Court at an Infant Approval Hearing. If the Court is content that the awarded damages are fair and reasonable, the Court will provide their approval. The child’s compensation will then be paid into a Trust to be held for them until the age of 18.
What are the time limits for bringing a claim on behalf of a child?
The general time limit of 3 years from the date of the accident only comes into force after the child’s 18th birthday and expires when they reach 21 years of age.
At Taylor Bracewell, our personal injury team represent children who have sustained an injury as a result of non-fault accidents.
If, unfortunately, your child has suffered an injury as a result of another person’s negligent actions, then please do not hesitate to contact Robert Clarke, a Senior Solicitor in the Disputes Resolution team, Telephone: 01302 965 402 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.