Bakers Guide: Injury Claims for Children (Minors)

Posted Dec 28, 2017.
As with adults, children can also suffer from injuries resulting from an accident and may also be entitled to claim for compensation. Of course, because they are children (or ‘minors’ – this is the legal definition used by courts in the UK), the claims process and the way the case is handled is somewhat different.

Minors are defined in law as being individuals under the age of 18. Minors themselves cannot bring a claim in their own name and as a firm of solicitors, Bakers would be unable to accept instructions from a minor but they can engage the services of an adult who is nominated to assist in bringing the claim. This person is formally known as a Litigation Friend, and is often a parent or legal guardian of the minor involved in the claim.

Once a solicitor is appointed, the next step is to obtain expert medical evidence of all the physical and psychological injuries suffered as a result of the accident, including provision of any required immediate medical treatment to assist with rehabilitation recovery if this is recommended at this stage by a healthcare professional. Once a full recovery is made (confirmed via the litigation friend) then the case can progress to discussions around final settlement. This will include an independent valuation of the claim and compensation levels from a barrister or senior solicitor. 

When a settlement amount is agreed between the parties involved (the defendant or ‘other side’ involved in the claim is typically an insurance company), a court will review the case at an "Infant Approval Hearing", usually attended by the minor, the litigation friend and the senior solicitor or barrister. Having reviewed the case in full during this hearing, the court will then either approve the settlement or request further medical evidence and formal statements to enable them to consider the case further.  Such additional costs would be payable by the defendant and the focus in this process is ensuring that the minor has fully recovered and that the compensation awarded is appropriate for the specifics of the claim. Such compensation is usually paid into the Court Funds Office, to be held until the minor reaches the age of 18.