Road accidents and occasionally medical mistakes, can cause catastrophic damage to both children and adults.
If the person concerned is either too young or mentally incapable of bringing an action for damages, the law allows for fair compensation to be applied for.
By law, it is not possible for certain categories of people to bring a claim on their own. These categories are:
- A child, which is any person under the age of 18 years.
- A person (a Protected Party) who is lacks the mental ability to make decisions for themselves owing to an impairment of their mind or brain.
People in both these categories will need another person, known as a Litigation friend (LF), to instruct solicitors on their behalf.
In most instances, parents or a relative will act as a “Litigation Friend”, but where this is not possible or appropriate, a professional LF may be appointed. The “Litigation Friend” is required by law to act competently and fairly, take all decisions and have no personal interest in the claim.
A claim for compensation for personal injury must usually be issued within 3 years of the accident, however there are exceptions and children and Protected Parties fall into that category.
For children, the time limit is three years past their 18th birthday. If, for example, someone born on 1st January 2000 had an accident in 2005, they would have until 31st December 2021 to make a claim.
For a Protected Party, they would have 3 years from the time that they were no longer disabled to make a claim. If however the person never becomes mentally able to start proceedings themselves, there is no time limit for commencing the claim.
Award of damages to children
With damages for a personal injury, whether agreed in negotiation between the parties or by a judge at trial, the Court has to approve the settlement on behalf of the child to ensure that it is reasonable and proper. Once the judge has gone through the papers, asked any relevant questions and is satisfied with the award, he will make an order approving it on behalf of the child.
Where the amount paid is of significant value, the money will remain in Court and be managed for the child.
The money retained by the court will be invested and payments will be made to the child as requested by the LF if the court thinks appropriate.
If the child is capable of managing their affairs on reaching 18, the court will transfer all funds to them.
The court will also have to approve any settlement and also decide if the person is a “Protected Beneficiary”. This is someone who is incapable of handling their affairs due to a mental disorder.
If they do decide, on medical evidence, that the person is a Protected Beneficiary and the award is in excess of £30,000, the court will order the LF to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to look after their financial affairs.
Funding your claim
We offer a full range of funding options including “No Win, No fee”, whereby you do not have to pay any upfront costs and there is nothing to pay should you lose the case.