Children are entitled to be compensated for their injuries, if they are involved in an accident through no fault of their own. However, the process differs slightly because children cannot bring legal action on their own.

Compensation for injured children

When a child is injured, the first priority is, of course, to get the medical attention he or she needs. But when the initial panic has subsided, your attention might turn to the matter of fault.

If another person or organisation is responsible for your child’s injuries, there could be grounds for a personal injury claim. This ensures that your child is properly compensated for their damages.

When a personal injury claim involves a child, the compensation settlement is usually geared towards addressing their current and future care needs. It also provides some form of redress for the way in which their life has been (and will continue to be) affected.

For some children, their injuries will have a detrimental impact on the rest of their lives. It may prevent them from pursuing certain activities and careers. It may even prevent them from living an independent adult life.

Personal injury claims process

But while children are entitled to compensation for their injuries, the process of making a personal injury claim differs if the injured person is under the age of 18. This is because in Ireland, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor. Minors are not allowed to bring legal action in their own right.

That leaves two options available.

Either, the child waits until he or she turns 18 to start legal action. On their 18th birthday, the normal two year time limit for personal injury claims begins. This means a claim must be made by their 20th birthday.

Or, someone else brings a claim on the child’s behalf. This person is known as a ‘next friend’ and is usually a parent or legal guardian. This is usually the preferred route. Otherwise, if there is a long delay in bringing legal action, key evidence may be lost.

The role of the next friend

The next friend must get permission from the court to bring a claim on the child’s behalf. The next friend also assumes financial liability for the claim.

After this, the personal injury claim proceeds in much the same way as a personal injury claim for an adult. Medical records will be obtained, a medical expert report written, and damages calculated.

But once a compensation settlement is agreed upon, it must be approved by the court. If a judge is satisfied that it meets the needs of the child, the money is held in an interest-bearing account until the child’s 18th birthday.

Personal injury claims involving minors

It’s particularly heart-breaking when a child is injured, especially if this injury could affect their health in the long-term. We understand this is a difficult time for you, but we are here to ensure that your child has the help and support he or she needs.

At Mullins & Treacy Solicitors, we specialise in personal injury claims and can advise you on your next steps. We are client focused and results driven.

Call us on 051 391 488 or email reception@mullinstreacy.ie for a no obligation enquiry.

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