Child Injury Compensation Must Be Approved By The Court
As the parent or guardian, known as a “Litigation Friend” of an injured child, the litigation friend can make a claim for compensation on behalf of the child injuries. A person under the age of 18 years is classed as a child or minor. In short it is a person who lacks capacity to act in their own right so a claim for compensation must be pursued through an adult providing there is no conflict of interest. Therefore a child involved in an accident sustained whilst as a passenger in a car driven by the child’s mother who was to blame for the accident, the mother could not be classed as the “litigation friend.” In these circumstances the Father or another responsible adult such as the grandmother or other close relative must act on behalf of the child in respect of the child’s injuries.
Once the case is settled and the case is won by the accident solicitors for the injuries and losses, the compensation will be payable only once the court has approved that the amount on offer and accepted by the child’s solicitors is the correct award.
Child and Litigation Friend Must Attend Court
This will mean that the child accident solicitors and the opponent’s solicitors will have to attend the child’s local court. It is an informal procedure and is designed to ensure that the child’s compensation for the injuries is not under-valued. The child’s solicitor will, before seeking approval by the court, obtain an independent advice from a barrister. The barrister will be paid by the child’s solicitor to provide a written advice which will be disclosed to the Judge in advance of the hearing. The barrister’s advice on the injury claim will set out what the barrister believes is a reasonable amount of compensation for the child’s accident injuries. If the child’s accident solicitor agrees with the barrister and the opponent’s solicitor agrees then the child’s solicitor will issue the relevant court documents at the local court to request a hearing date. The court fee is currently £150.00.
The Court will then tell the child’s injury and accident solicitors of the court date. The child as well as the litigation friend must attend court. The opponent will usually be represented by solicitors. At the court approval hearing for the accident compensation, the Judge will read the medical reports the child’s solicitor has obtained and review the evidence for any claim for losses and expenses. The Judge will also take on board the advice by the barrister. Once the evidence has been reviewed by the Judge, the Judge may ask the litigation friend and the child some questions about the injury or injuries, how the accident has affected the child and if the child is still having any problems with the injuries.
Only once the Judge is satisfied that the amount on offer is reasonable for the child’s injuries will the court approve the accident compensation.
What Happens When the Compensation is Approved?
The child’s accident compensation and injury award will be invested by the court until the child is 18 years of age.