What you need to know about compensation for child accidents

Children get bumps and bruises and are involved in child accidents all the time – it is part of growing up. But when your child has been injured in an accident where somebody else was to blame – even partially – then you, as a parent or guardian, are entitled to make a child accident claim for compensation.

As a parent or guardian, your natural reaction is going to be concern for their health and even when they insist that there is nothing wrong with them, it is strongly recommended that they visit the accident and emergency department of a hospital or your doctor’s surgery to be examined. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but their attendance at a medical centre will be recorded in their medical records and support any child accident claims for compensation.

Because a child is under eighteen years of age, it is the parent or guardian who makes a child accident claim on their behalf. Acting as a “next friend”, you can either approach the Injuries Board Ireland independently or have a specialised personal injury claims solicitor compile a child accident claim for you and your child. The outcome may not necessarily be the same. A specialist solicitor naturally has more experience of personal injury claims procedures and will include factors other than compensation for the physical trauma a child has suffered in the claim.

We offer a free phone advice line on , where you can speak to one of our experienced child accident claim solicitors to discuss your potential case. This free advice service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If now is not a convenient time simply fill in our contact form and we will call you back.

Incidents Leading to Child Accident Claims

There are many examples of child accidents that justify making child accident claims for compensation. Below we have listed just a few, but if your child’s accident is not included, it does not mean that you are not entitled to claim. Contact us to discuss the circumstances surrounding your child’s accident and we will advise you accordingly.

Road Traffic Accidents – Road traffic accidents account for the greatest proportion of child accidents where a negligent party was involved. Children are not so road-aware as adults and, according to statistics released by the Road Safety Authority, account for over a quarter of all pedestrians killed and injured on Ireland’s roads. Child pedal cyclists also account for a high number of casualties – an eighth of all cycling casualties in Ireland happened to children between the ages of 10 and 14.

Schools, School Playgrounds and School Trips At school, teachers and other support staff owe the children they are responsible for a “duty of care”. A child may sustain an injury through the dereliction of that duty if school equipment is faulty, if they are asked to perform a physical task which has not been explained to them properly or if they trip and fall on a poorly maintained surface. Child accident claims can also arise from sports events when adequate training has not been provided or a lack of supervision results in an injury. The same duty of care applies during an outing away from school grounds.

Any Other Slip or Fall – A high proportion of child accidents occur through slipping or falling. Often these will be innocent or self-inflicted events, but when a footpath is poorly maintained, a passageway dimly lit or the floor in a restaurant, for example, has been left unattended after a spillage of food or liquid, and these circumstances lead to your child sustaining an injury, you are entitled to make a child accident claim for compensation.

Medical Negligence – Although different procedures apply for making child accident claims due to medical negligence, an injury sustained by a child through a lack of care by a medical practitioner can lead to a claim for compensation. Child accidents can occur in a hospital, outpatients department, at the dentist or orthodontist or even in your local doctor’s surgery – wherever a medical practitioner has displayed a lack of skill or failed to apply their skill competently, and your child has been injured as a result, you are entitled to make a child accident claim for compensation.

Unique Procedures for Child Accident Claims

There are certain procedures put in place which are unique to child accident claims. The first is that the Injuries Board Ireland will not accept applications on behalf of minors over the Internet. They have to be processed by post – although it is recommended that you have a solicitor involved by then, and they will deal with the paperwork for you.

The second unique procedure involves the award of compensation for child accident claims. A court must approve any assessment for compensation before the respondent (negligible party) will be directed to pay the amount involved. Again, this is something that is more easily achieved with the assistance of a specialised personal injury claims solicitor.

Children also have two years from the age they reach majority in which to make a child accident claim if it has not been done so already by a parent or guardian. Once they turn eighteen, the procedures relating to Internet applications and requiring court approval of their compensation award no longer apply, but the advice and guidance of a specialised personal injury claims solicitor is just as important.

Other Elements of Child Accident Claims

Other elements of child accident claims are very similar to those connected with adult personal injury claims.

A child accident claim for compensation has to show that there has been some negligence or lack of care from a liable party. Whether the liable party is wholly negligent or your child shares some proportion of the blame for the accident is not important. If there was contributory negligence in your child’s accident, then you are entitled to seek compensation.

You have the same right to contest an assessment of compensation made by the Injuries Board Ireland for a child’s accident as you do for an adult. If they, or any institution representing the negligent party, offer a compensatory anount which you do not believe to be appropriate for your child’s injuries you can either renegotiate with the institution (normally an insurance company) or take the matter to court.

Whether negotiating with an institution or going to court it is in your best interests to use the services of a specialist personal injury claims solicitor. They are familiar with the required procedures and are not personally involved. This may be your first (and hopefully, only) child accident claim for compensation, while solicitors deal with matters of this nature frequently.

If you would like to find out more about the difference that using a specialist personal injury claims solicitor may make to your child accident claims, please do not hesitate to call our free phone advice line on . You can discuss your potential claim with one of our experienced solicitiors without obligation. This service operates 9.00am to 6.00pm weekdays. However, if now is not a convenient time for you, simply fill in our contact form and we will call you back.