Child Car Accident Injury Claims


author image - grace

By Grace Hickman

on Wednesday 6 June 2018


Child s hand reaching out in car

Car Accidents Involving Children

Example Case: Hughes V Williams and Williams [2012]

Claiming for Compensation for a Child’s Personal Injuries

Why Claim for Compensation?

How Much Compensation for a Child Injury Claim?

Time Limits for Child Injury Claims

What to Do After a Car Accident Involving Your Child

No Win No Fee Solicitors with Non Fault Claims

 

No matter how much we wrap them up in cotton wool or even if we carry out all the safety measures under the sun, children are prone to accidents and it’s often out of our control.

When we take them out in the car, we make sure they’re all strapped in safely and have their belts on, we drive as safely as we possibly can, and pretty much act like superheroes as we maintain concentration while they make a mess all over the plush, leather seats or have a tantrum over what song to play.

In all seriousness, road traffic accidents can happen; regardless of how safe we are – be that because of another driver or a sudden hazard in the road that takes you by surprise.

If your child has been involved in a car accident and you’re looking to claim for compensation on their behalf, our guide will help to provide information on what to do. Or you can call us at Non Fault Claims today to see how we can help you!

Car Accidents Involving Children

The person driving is always responsible for anyone inside the vehicle. With regards to children (under the age of 14), the person driving is legally under obligation to ensure they are securely seated inside the vehicle – that includes wearing a seat belt and/or being restrained in the correct car seat.

Here are some facts that you may not be aware of:

  • The most common cause of accidental child deaths is transport.
  • Speeding is the main catalyst of child fatalities.
  • Every year in the UK, around 5000 children (under 16) are involved in car accidents – that includes deaths and injuries.
  • Approximately 15 children aged between 0 and 11 are killed in car accidents each year.

In a collision where the driver was travelling at a speed of 30 mph and the child was not securely seated in the car, for example, they could be hurled forward at such a force equating to between 30 and 60 times their body weight – causing severe injuries to themselves and possibly others in the car.

Even if the driver was not at fault for the accident, if the child wasn't wearing a seatbelt or restrained properly, they could still be liable for not reducing the level of risk and extent of injuries that the child sustained.

Example Case: Hughes V Williams and Williams [2012]

In this devastating case, we are reminded of the importance of having the correct car seat for your child.

A three-year-old girl, Emma Hughes, suffered horrific injuries in a road traffic accident – brain and spinal cord injuries.

The mother who was driving at the time of the incident was driving perfectly – however, another, negligent driver who lost control of their car due to speeding swerved into them. The defendant admitted liability for the accident.

Despite the defendant's actions, there were grounds for contributory negligence on the mother’s part.

Having the choice between a fitted five-point harness car seat with a solid back and a booster seat in the back, she chose the latter.

The reason for this was that she felt Emma looked more comfortable in the booster seat. Unfortunately, it actually contributed to making her injuries worse. Had her mother placed her in the five-point harness seat, she would have avoided the spinal cord injury and her brain injury wouldn’t have been as severe.

Instructions are provided with all car seats – it is important to abide by everything detailed on there.

The Court had no doubt that Emma’s mother was caring and always looked after her daughter – they felt that this mistake could have been made by any other caring parent. However, they came to the decision that she was 25% liable for Emma’s injuries. This meant she only received 75% of her compensation payout amount.

Claiming for Compensation for a Child’s Personal Injuries

Many people are unsure about whether you can claim compensation for a child who has been injured in a car accident - it is possible and at Non Fault Claims, we can help you with your child’s personal injury claim.

For an accident that was someone else’s fault and involving a child under the age of 18 – it is possible for you to claim on their behalf. As long as you were not responsible, you can act as their ‘litigation friend’.

A litigation friend is someone who can make decisions in a court case for a child and represent them, as they are not yet 18 and may be too vulnerable, or even lack the mental capacity to do so themselves if they’ve suffered severe injuries (the same goes for adults too).

An appointed litigation friend must be officially approved by the court first.

There are two types; a McKenzie Friend and a Lay Representative.

McKenzie Friend

A McKenzie friend is someone who can provide moral support for the litigant (claimant of defendant) – in this case, the child.

They do not have to be a friend or relative, but usually, they would have some knowledge of law. They can also take notes during the court hearings and organise documents relating to the case and help generally with giving advice on issues or some legal points raised.

A McKenzie friend, however, cannot act on behalf of the litigant, be involved in questioning those involved in the case or interact with those in court.

Lay Representative

In child injury claims, this is usually the parent or guardian that presents the case on behalf of the child – who must be in court with the lay representative.

They do not have to have knowledge in law or any previous legal experience.

It is important to remember that everything must be approved and confirmed by the court first.

Why Claim for Compensation?

At Non Fault Claims, we understand that compensation cannot take back what happened, cure the child’s injuries or illnesses, or help with the psychological trauma of the accident, but we aim to make the process simple - financially, there are many positives that can come from making a claim with our No Win No Fee lawyers.

Depending on the injuries the child has sustained from the accident, compensation can help fund their recovery – including medical costs, therapy, aids or any other treatment required.

The child’s mental and physical development could be affected by their injuries and they may have to endure pain or live the rest of their life with a condition they did not have prior to the accident. Compensation can help fund any recovery programs or care professionals needed to help them along in life.

Travel expenses you have incurred from taking your child to and from the hospital can also be recovered and if you, as a parent or guardian, have had to take time off work to look after them – it can also help to cover any lost earnings.

How Much Compensation for a Child Injury Claim?

All of the above mentioned aspects will be considered and assessed when determining how much compensation will be received.

The court will take into consideration all circumstances of the accident and extent of pain and suffering experienced by the child and family.

See our full-body payout guide for an estimation of how much compensation could be awarded for certain injuries. Some of the most common car accident injuries with children are head injuries, fractures, broken bones, burns, lacerations, bruising, whiplash and psychological effects like shock and PTSD.

Time Limits for Child Injury Claims

Generally with road traffic accident claims, there is a three-year limitation period for making a personal injury claim – that’s either from the date the accident happened, or from the date on which the claimant became aware that their injury was sustained from a previous accident.

However, when it comes to making a claim on behalf of a child, a claim can be made any time until they are 18 – after reaching this age, they then have three years to do so. Ultimately, they have until they are 21 to put their claim forward.

At Non Fault Claims, we can help you with all of this, but as it can be complex (depending on the case), we recommend that you do it as soon as possible.

What to Do After a Car Accident Involving Your Child

Similar to any accident, the first and most important thing to do is:

  • Call the emergency services on behalf of you and your child. Even if you think there are no injuries, it is vital you take them to see a medical professional – there could be an underlying issue that's not visually apparent.
  • Contact the police so that the accident can be officially reported. If you decide to claim later on, you will need a copy of this report.
  • Take photos of the scene of the accident, any injuries and anything in the surrounding area that you feel may have contributed towards your accident. You can’t have too many.
  • Make a note of everything you and your child remember happening before, during and after the accident as soon as possible afterwards. Include as much detail as possible – time, date, location, possible cause, etc.
  • Get details of any witnesses – anyone who saw what happened should be politely approached and asked if they would give their contact details and would be happy to provide information on what happened.
  • Get details of the other drivers involved – including contact information, address, insurer details, etc. Failure to do this is illegal.
  • After the accident, keep a record of everything – including your medical report after seeking medical attention, receipts of any costs you’ve incurred, emails of correspondence, travelling and childcare costs, etc.

Our lawyers at Non Fault Claims can help gather any information, so don’t worry if you’re unsure about anything – contact us today to see how we can help!

No Win No Fee Solicitors with Non Fault Claims

The process of making a claim is daunting enough, and the financial side of things can also be off-putting.

Our solicitors operate on a No Win No Fee basis (NWNF), meaning that there is no financial risk for you. If you were to go directly to a lawyer yourself, you would have overwhelming fees to pay – with our NWNF system, when our lawyers win your case, there will be a fee (capped at 25%) of your compensation amount. So you will not be out of pocket either way.

We aim to make the process as simple and efficient as possible – informing you of everything in detail and supporting you every step of the way, while answering any questions you may have.

Contact us today if you require any more information regarding child injury claims or if you would like advice on your potential compensation case.

CALL US FREE ON
0808 1454275
or CONTACT US NOW

Non Fault Claims can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch today!