Compensation Claims Involving Children in Ireland
Compensation claims involving children in Ireland involve a slightly different procedure than those for adults. Minors – the legal term for children who are under eighteen years of age – are not permitted to engage a solicitor or commence legal action in their own right and therefore have to be represented by a parent or guardian acting as their “next friend” if a claim for compensation is going to be filed before the child reaches the age of majority.
The “next friend” has to seek permission from the District Court before personal injury claims for children can start and also has to accept any financial liability for bringing children personal injury claims in Ireland should the claim be lost. Along with the above, any settlement of a childs injury claim in Ireland has to be approved by a court before payment is made to the court, where it is held for the child until he or she reaches eighteen years of age.
Time Restrictions for Irish Child Injury Compensation Claims
As personal injury claims for children in Ireland cannot begin other than by proxy until a child reaches the age of eighteen, the time restrictions – or Statute of Limitations – for child injury compensation claims do also not start until the child becomes an adult – whereupon he or she has two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make claims for childrens compensation for the injury they sustained as a child.
It is often wise to pursue children personal injury claims much earlier, as it will make the solicitor’s work of collecting evidence in support of the claim more efficient – especially when gathering witness statements when peoples´ memories of an incident will still be fresh. It may also be the case that compensation funds are needed to provide medical and educational support for an injured child – funds which can be released from court on application.
Other Major Factors in Claims for Childrens Compensation
There are several additional differences between the procedures for making compensation claims for children in Ireland and when making compensation claims as adults – for example, online applications for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland made on behalf of children will be turned down. It is only possible to file an application for assessment of a childs injury compensation claim to the Injuries Board Ireland via the mail.
The amount of compensation for childrens injuries is awarded may also differ significantly; for although children tend to heal far faster than adults – and therefore are incapacitated by their injuries for a shorter period of time – any persistent or permanent affliction will remain with them for the remainder of their lives. It should be taken into account that any injury to a child which may restrict their ability to work later in life may qualify for an award of special damages to reflect the lost opportunity to earn an income.
The Health and Safety of Your Child
It’s stating the obvious for any parent but, it should always be remembered that if your child has been injured in any form of accident, his or her health and safety is much more important than any potential compensation claim that he or she may have. If the child has been severely hurt, an ambulance (together with the Gardai if appropriate) should be called at once.
It is of paramount importance that you report to the casualty department of the nearest hospital, or at the very least make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner, should your child be injured in an accident. In the case of a road traffic accident, even if you feel that the injuries are not that significant, it is still important that you take your child to see a doctor. Never underestimate the importance of peace of mind to you. The reality is that monetary compensation is not an adequate replacement for your child’s health and wellbeing.
Your child’s attendance at hospital or with your local doctor will be recorded in his or her medical history and may later be used in evidence to support their claim. You should therefore help your child by ensuring that all injuries and related problems are recorded properly and as soon as possible after an injury has been suffered.
Speak with an Experienced Solicitor about Children Compensation Claims
You will need the services of a solicitor if you wish to pursue compensation claims for children in Ireland – at the very least to have a compensation settlement approved in court – and it is often in your best interests to talk about the circumstances of your child’s accident as soon their health has been tended to.
Furthermore, if you are approached directly by the negligent party´s insurance company with an unsolicited offer of child injury compensation soon after an accident to your child has happened, a solicitor will be able to advise you whether the offer represents a fair and adequate settlement of compensation or whether you should pursue child injury compensation claims through the Injuries Board Ireland, by negotiation with the insurance company or via court action.
Most parents are so worried by an injury to a child they often – and understandably – neglect to consider the evidence they will need in support of their childs injury compensation claim, indeed possibly because they have also been injured in the same incident. By speaking with a solicitor about claims for childrens compensation at the earliest available opportunity, the solicitor can deal with collecting evidence in support of a claim and allow you to focus on providing care for your injured child.
Summary: Compensation Claims Involving Children In Ireland
Childrens personal injury claims are handled in a different manner to those when an adult has been injured in an accident which was not their fault.
- Parents or guardians represent their children when childrens personal injury claims are made in Ireland prior to the age of majority being reached by the victim
- The Statute of Limitations applies differently to compensation claims for children in Ireland, with the plaintiff having two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to register a claim
- However, it is not wise to allow childrens claims for personal injury compensation to go for that long: a solicitor should be spoken to as soon as any immediate threat to the child’s health is resolved
- The sooner a solicitor is contacted, the more likelihood there is of collecting the evidence you will need to support compensation claims involving children in Ireland
It is important to note that each case is different. If your child has been involved in an accident resulting from the negligence of another individual and you feel that he or she may have a possible child injury claim you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.