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Serious injury to a child can have a shattering and long-term impact on the entire family.
It brings a whole range of emotional, financial and practical worries, placing enormous pressure on everyone involved.
When a child is injured, either as a baby, toddler or teenager, the last thing on your mind will be a claim for compensation.
However, there is only so much the NHS and community health services can do.
Securing the right level of compensation will help your child’s recovery and ensure the very best:
Obtaining the best package of support as quickly as possible gives your child the greatest chance of recovering to lead a productive, fulfilling and independent life.
Hiring the right law firm to represent your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever take.
It is vital you choose a law firm with years of experience handling successful claims for seriously injured babies and children.
Serious Law have that experience.
Over the last two decades, we have brought many successful claims for children injured in accidents involving:
We provide a highly personalised service.
We recognise that acting on behalf of children not only requires a very high standard of legal expertise, it also requires compassion and understanding.
We know only too well that parents will want to concentrate on their injured child, but will also have important commitments to take care of, including other children, family members and work.
We will meet with you at the hospital or your home to discuss the legal process, providing straightforward and practical advice at a time and setting most convenient to you.
In appointing Serious Law, you can be confident that we will take away all the worry and stress associated with bringing a claim for compensation, leaving you to concentrate on all your other responsibilities.
The law protects the rights and interests of children, ensuring they are not taken advantage of during the litigation process.
As such, claims on behalf of children are subject to many rules and considerations that adult claims are not.
It is important you retain a specialist team of solicitors with expertise and experience of acting for seriously injured children to ensure the best possible outcome for your child and family.
Only experienced serious injury solicitors understand the importance of not rushing to agree compensation settlements.
A rushed claim, settled on the basis your baby or child seems to be recovering well, may unravel if the injury does not recover as expected.
Problems that were not considered at the time of settlement may emerge a number of years later, so it is essential you are aware of the long-term implications of your child’s injuries and disabilities.
A child, defined as a person aged under 18, is unable to bring a claim on their own.
Children require a ‘Litigation Friend’ to instruct solicitors to carry out litigation on their behalf.
Parents or close friends usually act as Litigation Friend. You will need to decide who is best placed once you have appointed your solicitor.
Your solicitor will explain the duties of a Litigation Friend and help you decide.
Your solicitor will explain the duties of a Litigation Friend and help you decide who is best placed to do the job.
From the outset your solicitor will consider the appointment of a qualified case manager to liaise with your baby or child’s medical team and carry out an early independent needs assessment ('INA').
Your case manager will have an appropriate background, possibly in occupational therapy, nursing or rehabilitation.
The INA will set out the most appropriate rehabilitation package for your child. This may change over time to reflect his or her changing needs.
Young children are often found to be incapable of any fault.
Obviously an older child has a very different understanding of the world compared with a young child.
Each set of circumstances will be different and each child assessed according to their particular age, intelligence and attributes. Nevertheless it is very rare for children under the age of 7 to be found partly to blame and in road traffic cases the age is even higher.
Your solicitor will be able to advise you further, where required, regarding this important area of the law for children.
We recognise the need for an early, comprehensive liability investigation and the importance of securing timely ‘interim payments’ for our clients.
An interim payment is an advance payment of damages.
Interim payments enable families whose baby or child has a strong case on liability to avoid the financial hardship caused by any delay in waiting for the final settlement.
Ideally, your solicitor will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company to secure a voluntary payment. If this is not achieved, your solicitor may apply to the Court to ask a judge to order one.
Rehabilitation can often be put in place even before the insurer has admitted liability. There are legal time limits for requesting and responding to rehabilitation requests.
Again, your solicitor will explain this to you.
A personal injury claim must usually be started at Court within three years of the date of the injury. However, where children are concerned, the three year period does not start until the child reaches their 18th birthday (and only then if they are deemed to have ‘capacity’).
So even if your child’s accident happened more than three years ago, it may still be possible to bring a successful claim.
By instructing experienced solicitors as soon as possible, key work can be undertaken and evidence gathered. Many cases require witness evidence to succeed and it helps to secure witness evidence as soon after the accident as possible, while memories are clear.
Rehabilitation helps your child recover emotionally, physically and socially.
Early, targeted rehabilitation following injury helps babies and children recover more quickly and have a better quality of life in the long-term.
It is vital your child receives the right rehabilitation treatment as soon as possible.
Rehabilitation comes in many forms and can include:
Your case manager will work closely with your child’s treating doctors to plan the best possible private rehabilitation package.
Special rules apply when compensation payments are awarded to a child.
The amount of compensation can either be negotiated between the parties or ordered by a Judge at a trial if agreement cannot be reached.
Once the terms of settlement are agreed, the Court has to approve the award on behalf of the child. The Judge must ensure the compensation awarded is reasonable and a proper settlement for the child. If the Judge is satisfied the settlement is reasonable, an Order will be made to approve it.