If your child has been injured in a road traffic accident, public place or in a supermarket or has been injured through the negligence of another person you as the parent or guardian are entitled to seek advice as to whether you can make a claim for compensation on their behalf
In Ireland no child can pursue an action for compensation without the case being pursued on their behalf by their parent or guardian. Once the injured child reaches the age of 18 years, they have two years in which to make a personal injury claim for compensation themselves if their parent or guardian has not already done so but a delay in maintaining proceedings can lead to the case being dismissed so it is important to act promptly.
A parent or guardian who make a claim for compensation on behalf of an injured minor is referred to as their “next friend”. The litigation next friend has to be independent therefore if a parent was to blame for the accident sustained by the child they cannot act as the litigation next friend. For example, if a mother was driving a car with her son as a passenger and collides with another vehicle in the rear causing injuries to her son, she would not be able to act as his litigation next friend when making a claim for compensation on his behalf. However, the child’s father, grand parent or other close relative could act instead.
How do I commence a personal injury action on behalf of my child?
If the circumstances allow you to pursue a personal injury action on behalf of your injured child the first step is to make an application for compensation to the Injuries Board.ie. In making this application you have to ensure that you submit a medical report to the Injuries Board and register the claim against the correct Respondents. It is always better to seek legal advice to ensure that your interests are properly protected as failure to name the correct Respondents could lead to legal problems with the Statute of Limitations or by suing the wrong Defendant who could then escape liability on that basis.
If the Respondents consent to the Injuries Board making an assessment of compensation on behalf of your child once the Injuries Board assess compensation this assessment then has to be brought to the Court to have the assessment approved by the relevant Judge who sits in that Court. No assessment can be accepted on behalf of a child without first of all being approved.
Who pays the legal costs of my client’s compensation claim
In Ireland the legal costs of a minor’s case to include the cost of the ruling before the relevant Court are paid for by the Defendant’s Insurance company in the event that the case is won or a settlement achieved.
What will happen to my child’s compensation?
Once the compensation assessment or settlement has been approved by the Court the monies will be lodged by the Insurance Company in the Court Bank account until your child reaches the age of 18 years. Any interest that accrues on this sum will also be added to the compensation and these monies will be automatically paid to your child once they reach the age of 18 years.
What happens if my child is very young and cannot give evidence in Court?
Often children are unfortunately involved in accidents when they are quite young but this does not preclude an action being taken on their behalf as long as there are witnesses to the accident who can give evidence as to how the accident occurred. In some circumstances liability will automatically be admitted particularly if a child is a passenger in a vehicle, wearing a safety belt, which is involved in an accident as they would be entitled to full compensation.
Moloney, Solicitors are experts in all personal injury matters and would be happy to advise you on whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation. We will talk you through the process of making a compensation claim. Please feel free to contact our office today at 045 898000 for further advice or simply complete one of our online personal injury claim forms and submit it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you with advice on the next steps.
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