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In the vast majority of legal cases involving claims for compensation the person who makes the claim will be the person who has suffered the injuries. However, there are certain limited circumstances in which a person has to step in and, in a representative capacity, make a compensation claim on behalf of another party. In this article we look at the three principal circumstances in which this is likely to happen. The first case is where the claimant is a minor.

Child Claimants

Unfortunately, children are often the victims of accidents. More tragically, new born babies are sometimes injured during childbirth. Children cannot take court proceedings on their own behalf until they reach the age of eighteen yet, in most cases, the compensation that they need as a result of their injuries is required much sooner than that. Therefore, the law enables another party, which is normally one of the child’s parents or guardians, to instruct a solicitor on their behalf. The parent or guardian of the child will be appointed by the court to represent the child’s interests and will be responsible for instructing the child’s lawyer. The representative is known as a “litigation friend.” In order to protect the interests of the child, any financial settlement that is agreed between the parties must receive the approval of the court. Furthermore, the court needs to approve the removal of any monies from the child’s compensation fund to ensure that the minor’s interests are placed first at all times.

Incapacitated Claimants

An adult who has been involved in a serious accident may suffer catastrophic injuries, including brain damage or paralysis. In such circumstances it may be possible for another party to make a compensation claim on behalf of the injured person, who is termed a “protected party.” Once again, the representative is known as a litigation friend and any settlement that is agreed upon will need to be given the approval of the court.

Fatal Accident Claimants

If a fatal accident occurs, a claim for compensation can be made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. This act provides for a bereavement award to be paid to the spouse, civil partner or parent (where the deceased was a minor.) It also enables compensation to be claimed for loss of intangible benefits, dependency for financial support and dependency for services, where the victim has financial dependants.

Anyone who has undergone the trauma of a dependent child or adult sustaining injuries or being involved in a fatal accident will find it extremely difficult to come to terms with it and the possibility of taking legal proceedings for compensation is likely to be the last thing on their minds. However, if you have a child or other family member that has been seriously injured or you have been bereaved by an accident that you think was someone else’s fault you may be entitled to make a claim. These types of cases can be complex, requiring great sensitivity and the calculation of compensation in fatal accident cases can be complicated. For those reasons, you should consult a personal injury solicitor with experience in this type of case. In most cases, the case needs to be brought within three years. In cases involving a minor, a representative action can be brought any time before the child reached 18. The child can also make its own claim to the court from the age of 18 until the age of 21. The mental capacity of the claimant will also be a factor.

For expert advice on any type of personal injury claim contact the experienced team at Accinet for a confidential discussion about your accident or injury.