Irrespective of whether a claim for child’s accident in Ireland is processed by the Injuries Board or has to go through the court system, a parent or guardian has to represent the child acting as their “next friend”. As you would be involved with your child’s claim even if this were not the law, this is no particular hardship. Most parents in this modern age find it more inconvenient that applications to the Injuries Board have to be made through the post rather than online, but this is a task which should be left to your solicitor in any case.
There are two other significant differences when making claims for child accidents in Ireland. Firstly, children have two years from their 18th birthday in which to make a child accident’s claim, rather than the two years from the “date of knowledge” allowed to their parents. Although this means that children can wait until they reach the age of majority before making a claim, it is often not in their best interests to do so – especially as any award of compensation is held in an interest bearing account by the court until they reach the age of 18.
Secondly, all settlements for child accidents claims – whether assessed by the Injuries Board, litigated in court or settled by negotiation – have to be approved by a judge before payment can be made. As mentioned above, the judge may decide that some or all of the settlement has to be paid into court – this is for the protection of the child, but can be appealed against or a certain amount of funds can be withdrawn to assist with medical and educational costs.
There is a 2 year time limit to making a personal injury compensation claim from the date of the accident, so it’s advisable to seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation. It’s often easier to investigate your accident claim if you begin proceedings quickly.
If you would like us to help you, or if you would simply like to have a chat to discuss your options about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.