What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
Children’s birthday parties have become big business over the last few years and the type of events available offer ever more adrenaline-fueled activities. Gone are the days of a quick game of pass the parcel: these days sumo suits, laser shoots, go-karting and even crazy golf are all regularly featured on the birthday invitation.
However, as the high-octane thrills of children’s parties have increased so too has the risk of something going wrong and a child being injured. The possibility of this happening, and the child being entitled to claim compensation as a result, was underlined recently by a court ruling that held the host of a 10th birthday party liable to pay substantial compensation to a child who was blinded at the party when he was struck in the face by a golf club.
Fortunately, incidents like this are relatively rare and usually when a child is injured they suffer nothing more than a grazed knee or a bump on the head from which they quickly recover. However, when the injury is more serious the question of legal responsibility may need to be considered, particularly if there are long-term implications.
Katherine Flashman Kitson, Director of Litigation at Parnalls Solicitors explains more.
‘The parents or guardians of any child who suffers a serious injury at a children’s birthday party will need to consider whether the child might be entitled to compensation. This is not something you can do alone – specialist advice from a personal injury lawyer will be required, together with a medical opinion.’
So, what steps should you take in the immediate aftermath of an accident to ensure you have everything your lawyer and a medical expert will need to assess your case?
Step 1: seek medical advice and gather evidence
Health issues associated with the injury could take time to emerge, so even if your child appears to be fine in the immediate aftermath of the incident, as a matter of course you should:
• take photographs of the scene of the accident;
• inform the host and the event organiser;
• fill out an accident report form if one is available and include a brief description of the injuries;
• seek medical treatment and take (or request a copy) of any treatment notes; and
• consult a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as practicable.
Step 2: consider making a legal claim
With the help of your lawyer you need to decide whether to make a compensation claim. Although it is your child who has been injured it will be you, or another family member or friend, who will have to make decisions on their behalf acting as what is known as their ‘litigation friend.’
The time limit for making a personal injury claim is normally three years, but for children the time limit does not start to run until the child reaches the age of 18, meaning that in effect they have until they turn 21 to make a claim. However, it is always advisable to make a claim as soon as possible while events are still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Your lawyer will talk you through the claims process and explain your options. They will also advise you on whether any offer of compensation the host or their insurer’s might make should be accepted or not.
As Katherine explains:
‘It will be your lawyer’s job to establish how the accident happened, whether your child was being supervised at the time and whether the activity they were taking part in had been properly risk assessed. Where fault is established your lawyer will determine who is legally responsible, which may be the parents who were hosting the party or, if it was an organised event, the event’s company.’
‘People coming to see me often worry about how the host of a party will pay for any compensation their child may be entitled to, but in the majority of cases this should not be a concern because most people have insurance’.
‘Another worry is how the parent of a child will fund a personal injury claim, but again this is not something to be too concerned about as claims can often be funded under what is known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’ which means that there is no financial risk to you if the claim is unsuccessful.’
If you need assistance with a child’s injury claim, or any other personal injury matter, please contact Katherine Flashman Kitson, Director of Litigation on 01566 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.