Personal injury claims involving children and protected parties
If you have a child or a family member who lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs (also referred to as protected parties), and they have been harmed due to an accident, you may be uncertain if it’s possible to file a claim. Although it can be a more complex process than claims for adults, it is totally possible to make a claim on a child’s behalf.
These claims may involve accidents or injuries that occur at school, at home, or in public places and can include a wide range of injuries from minor cuts and bruises to more serious and life-changing injuries.
Who will serve as a representative for the child/protected party?
Because children and protected parties may not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves, they will require the help of an adult to act as a litigation friend to pursue a personal injury claim. This can be a parent, legal guardian or other responsible adults who can act on behalf of the child or protected party throughout the legal process.
The role of a litigation friend is to provide instructions concerning the claim, ensure that the injured child/protected party attends any relevant medical appointments and sign all legal documents. They take on the responsibility of managing the claim on behalf of the child/protected party.
Personal injury case settlement
Once all medical evidence has been collated, a barrister or specialist solicitor then evaluates the claim. This evaluation is presented at the court hearing where the approval of the settlement takes place.
Once the claim has been settled, the court needs assurance that the injured protected party or child has fully recovered from the accident or, in cases of long-term harm, knows what to expect in terms of further health effects and is adequately compensated for any injuries, treatment or other expenses like care and medical supplies.
The judge will consider the barrister/specialist solicitor’s valuation advice when deciding if approval is appropriate. If they are content that the settlement is reasonable, they will continue with approval.
Allocation of awarded damages
When the judge approves the settlement concerning a child and the settlement award is a small amount, one can request that the sum be deposited into a child trust fund or junior ISA. This money is not available to them until they reach 18 years of age, at which point they will receive the full amount and any additional interest accrued.
Any settlement for a substantial amount or made for protected parties will be handed over to either the Court Funds Office or the Court of Protection and invested according to their guidelines. Interest will accrue on the sum and if requested by an application, any payments for medical/educational reasons can be released if approved by the court.
Why the money is not immediately available
The approved settlement is held because minors and protected parties are not legally allowed to manage their own finances until they reach a certain age or have the capacity to do so.
This system of court-approved settlements is to ensure that the funds are used appropriately and that they are protected for the long-term benefit of the child or protected party.
How personal injury solicitor can help
If your child or a protected party you know has been injured and you are considering pursuing an injury claim, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced solicitor who has knowledge and experience in handling these types of claims.
It is important to note that personal injury claims involving children and protected parties may also have different time limits and limitations compared to claims involving adults.
At SilverOakSolicitors, our team of highly experienced solicitors can guide you through the legal process, and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. We work on a No Win, No Fee basis so you won’t pay a penny unless we win your case.
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