Can a child bring a claim for compensation? On their own, no. With a litigation friend, yes. So – what is a litigation friend?
Where a person has suffered an injury and they are under the age of 18, they are required by law to have a litigation friend to conduct their claim on their behalf. A litigation friend is therefore a responsible adult who acts on a minor’s (a person under the age of 18) behalf. In most cases a litigation friend will be a child’s parents or guardians; but equally it could be a family friend or some other trustworthy adult.
The law recognises that a child of the age of say four or five may have a genuine claim for compensation having been injured through no fault of their own, but that this child does not have the capacity to proceed with a claim on their own. In other words, a child does not have the ‘legal capacity’ to conduct legal proceedings. This is also similarly applied to persons deemed a ‘protected party’ under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They too will require a litigation friend to conduct their claim for them.
At The Injury Lawyers we always encourage litigation friends to be chosen carefully. At the very least a litigation friend must have the Claimant’s, that is the injured party, very best interests at heart. A litigation friend is responsible for dealing with all correspondence on the injured party’s behalf, and must therefore be trustworthy, reliable, and in frequent communication with the injured party. It goes without saying that a litigation friend must not have any ulterior motives or any conflict of interest.
It is important to note that having a litigation friend acting on behalf of the Claimant does not in any way jeopardise proceedings or make the matter any more difficult. Your claim will be run in the same way as it would be if we were dealing with the Claimant direct. The only extra bit of paperwork is a quick form which a litigation friend is required to sign to state that they do have the authority to deal with the claim on the injured party’s behalf.
So, if your child has been injured through no fault of their own, and you believe they will have a claim for compensation, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Injury Lawyers today. We will be able to provide you with some free legal advice and further advise you of your responsibilities on behalf of your child. Just because the child cannot make the claim him/herself does not mean that the child is not entitled to compensation!
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.