Why is it a good idea to engage a solicitor for an injury claim when the victim is a minor? When a minor, i.e. someone younger than 18 years of age, is injured due to the negligence or fault of an individual or organisation, the injury claim may be different from a claim that involves an adult.
Below are some reasons that make consulting a solicitor for such a claim a sensible choice.
The time limit is different: While an adult may make a personal injury claim to the Injuries Board Ireland within two years from the date of the accident, the restriction is not the same for a claim that involves a minor.
The time limit to make an injury claim for a minor is two years from the day he/she reaches adulthood. However, as your solicitor will tell you, it is not a good idea to wait a long time to make a claim. If you think that your child is the victim of negligence, you need to talk to a solicitor immediately.
The claimant is the ‘next friend’: An adult may make the claim to the Injuries Board on their own. However, this is not applicable for minor victims of accidents. Their ‘next friend’ must act as claimant for them.
A parent or a guardian may qualify as the ‘next friend’ of the minor injured in the accident. If you are the parent or guardian of the child involved in the accident, you need to seek legal advice and assistance. If you are not sure whether you can act on behalf of a child, you need to talk to your solicitor.
The initiation of the claim is different: An adult victim of an accident may make the claim to the Injuries Board by post or online. However, a minor, or his/her next friend, does not have this option.
In such a circumstance, the only way to make a claim to the Injuries Board is by post. For this, the parent/guardian of the minor victim must fill in the application form and submit it along with the medical report completed by the treating physician. A fee of €45 must also be paid by cheque or postal order.
The Court must approve the final compensation award: The assessment of damages for accident claims that involve adult victims can be completed by the Injuries Board and the order to pay may be issued without any Court intervention.
The assessment of damages for the injury claims that involve minor victims may be completed by the Injuries Board. However, they need to get the approval of the Court before they can issue the order to pay the respondent. Your solicitor will help you understand whether the compensation is adequate or not.
The compensation is held by the Court: In the case of a claim that involves an adult victim, the compensation is awarded to him/her after the Injuries Board completes the assessment of damages.
The process of payment to a minor victim, however, may differ. After the completion of the assessment of damages, the Court must approve it. Next, the Injuries Board orders the respondent to pay a specific amount, which is held in the Court funds. You can ask your solicitor whether it is possible to release some funds from this to meet present needs.
Andy Floweris a legal consultant working in Ireland. He provides advice about the necessity of appointing a solicitor in Ireland to work on behalf of a minor victim injured in an accident. Whether it is a minor whiplash injury or a severe head injury, he suggests that you seek legal aid and assistance immediately.