Child Accident Claims

Accidents Involving Children

Any accident which happens to our children is a cause of great concern to us. Not only do most parents unconditionally love their children, and are upset when their child is injured, but injuries at a young age can have critical consequences to a child’s future physical and emotional development. Inasmuch as children naturally have accidents, when child accidents occur due to another party’s negligence, it can be extremely difficult for parents to remain calm and avoid getting angry.

Parents’ instinctive reactions after child accidents are to get medical treatment for their injured son or daughter as soon as possible. Although this is exactly the right thing to do, where you believe that somebody’s negligence is responsible for your child’s injuries, it can also be in the child’s best interests to contact a personal injury solicitor familiar with child accidents before any evidence of liability can be removed. In a “my word” against “their word” scenario, children are not always credited with the truth.

Child Accidents in Ireland

According the statistics released by the Injuries Board for child accidents claims that were assessed in 2010, children aged between 3 years and 7 years – one of the most vulnerable age groups in respect of future physical and emotional development – are three times more likely to be involved in child accidents that result in a personal injury claim than infants aged between 0 years and 3 years.

The Injuries Board report also revealed that the majority of child accidents claims were due to motor vehicle accidents (79 per cent) with the second most common reason for child accidents being public liability (21 per cent)*. Overall, 615 child accidents claims were assessed by the Injuries Board last year, with a total assessment value of 8.5 million Euros.

* Claims for medical and hospital negligence are not assessed by the Injuries Board

Claiming Compensation When Your Child is Injured in an Accident

Irrespective of whether a claim for child accidents in Ireland is processed by the Injuries Board or has to go through the court system, a parent or guardian has to represent the child acting as their “next friend”. As you would be involved with your child’s claim even if this were not the law, this is no particular hardship. Most parents in this modern age find it more inconvenient that applications to the Injuries Board have to be made through the post rather than online, but this is a task which should be left to your solicitor in any case.

There are two other significant differences when making claims for child accidents in Ireland. First, children have two years from their 18th birthday in which to make a child accidents claim, rather than the two years from the “date of knowledge” allowed to their parents. Although this means that children can wait until they reach the age of majority before making a claim, it is often not in their best interests to do so – especially as any award of compensation is held in an interest bearing account by the court until they reach the age of 18.

Secondly, all settlements for child accidents claims – whether assessed by the Injuries Board, litigated in court or settled by negotiation – have to be approved by a judge before payment can be made. As mentioned above, the judge may decide that some or all of the settlement has to be paid into court – this is for the protection of the child, but can be appealed against or a certain amount of funds can be withdrawn to assist with medical and educational costs.

Free Legal Advice

If your child has been involved in an accident for which they were not wholly to blame, and you would like to discuss your entitlement to make a child accidents claim for compensation, you are invited to get in touch with our solicitors via the contact form below. Our specialist child accidents solicitor will be able to answer any questions you have about how negligence is established, what you are entitled to claim and what happens at each stage of the claims process.
Even if you feel that you have left it a little late to speak with us, or if you have already submitted your application to the Injuries Board, it is still worth getting in contact. Our solicitors can provide you with impartial and practical advice about the further stages you may have to go through (you will need legal representation in court for approval of the child accidents claim settlement) and may prevent your child from being undercompensated – should you be approached directly by the negligent party’s insurance company with an inappropriate offer of compensation in return for early settlement of your child’s claim.

All discussions between yourself and our solicitors are completely confidential, so whether your child’s accident has occurred in a road traffic accident, in a playground or at a school or medical centre, you can be assured that any details of your family’s personal circumstances remain private. Furthermore, there is no obligation on you to proceed with a child accidents claim once you have spoken with us. Our objective is to give you the information you need to make an educated decision. The rest is up to you.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.