1. The appointment of a “Litigation Friend” in a Children’s Accident Claim
If the injured person is under the age of 18 then the court rules require a “litigation friend” to be appointed when making a Children’s Accident Claim. This is usually one of the child’s parents or a legal guardian or other responsible person. The litigation friend must be someone who will look after the best interests of the child and will be appointed to make all the decisions on behalf of the child during the course of the Children’s Accident Claim.
The litigation friend is appointed by the completion of a court form which serves to confirm that the litigation friend is a suitable person. There is also a declaration which the litigation friend is required to sign which states that the litigation friend is primarily responsible for the child’s legal costs. (Whilst this is technically correct, provided the litigation friend enters into a genuine “no win no fee agreement” with their solicitor and their solicitor has taken out an appropriate insurance policy to cover the litigation friend in the event the claim is lost, then the costs position can be properly protected.)
2. Barrister’s Advice
If settlement terms are agreed in principle between the child’s solicitor and the defendant’s insurer then the court rules, as a means of protecting the child’s interests, require a written opinion from a suitably qualified barrister. This advice will address the nature of the injury(ies) and provide an opinion in relation to the quantification of the claim with reference to relevant case law and court guidelines.
If the barrister agrees that the proposed settlement is appropriate in all the circumstances then the next step is for the child’s solicitor to lodge all the necessary documents at court and request an “infant settlement approval hearing.”
3. Children’s Accident Claim Court Hearing
All settlements involving claimants under the age of 18 must be approved by the court. The reason for this is to ensure that the compensation awarded to them is for the appropriate amount and that it is properly invested and expended for their benefit.
The hearing must be attended by the child and the Litigation Friend but the hearing is nothing at all to worry about. Inevitably it is a “rubber stamping” exercise and doesn’t usually last very long. The claim will be overseen by a District Judge informally in chambers (not a formal court room but a court office).
C & C will ensure the hearing will be at the child’s/Litigation Friend’s local court to keep any inconvenience to a minimum.
At the hearing it is necessary for the child’s birth certificate to be produced and consideration may be given to part of the compensation being paid out immediately to the child. In practice the court will only sanction a payment out of the compensation if the child has a pressing need and/or that any payment is for the benefit of the child alone.
4. After the Children’s Accident Claim Compensation is Invested
Once the court has approved the proposed settlement then the defendant is ordered to lodge the agreed compensation into court where it will be invested cautiously by the court up until the child’s eighteenth birthday.
100% No Win No Fee Children’s Accident Claim
To make a Children’s Accident Claim get in touch with our No Win No Fee Solicitors on freephone 0800 652 0586 or click the “Free Enquiry” button for an immediate call back.
A No Win No Fee Solicitor will speak to you immediately, take the necessary information and tell you there and then whether your No Win No Fee claim is likely to be successful.
100% of our Children’s Accident Claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis which means that you do not have to worry about any financial risk at all as if your claim is unsuccessful it will not cost you anything.