Q&A - When should I start personal injury claim for my 4 year-old?

12/01/2015

Q: I was driving my 4 year old son, James, to school when another car ran into the back of me. As James was screaming with pain I took him straight to the hospital after exchanging details with the other driver and they did X-rays which showed that James’s leg was fractured. I have reported it to my insurance company but they frankly haven’t been very forthcoming with advice about the best way of making a claim for his injury. Can you tell me, should I start a claim for him or should I wait for him to reach 18?

A: You can make a personal injury claim now on James’s behalf. The process is really no different from an ordinary personal injury claim save for the fact that once agreement has been reached on the level of damages to be awarded to James, the Court steps in as a protective measure to ensure that the damages are appropriate.

James’s compensation would then be held in a court fund until he reaches 18. However, if he required funds in the interim, for an educational school trip for example, you could apply for the Court to consider releasing some money before his 18th birthday.

Alternatively you could wait for James to reach 18 and see if he wishes to make a personal injury claim. He would then have 3 years from his 18th birthday to bring such a claim. However, the difficulty with bringing a claim so many years after the accident (here it could be up to 17 years later) is obviously that reliable evidence is harder to obtain.

If you do decide that you wish to bring a claim on behalf of your son it would be advisable to contact a local solicitor to assist you in bringing his claim.

John Hulme

John Hulme

Partner

A Partner and Head of our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team in Oswestry

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Solicitor

Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry