Acting for injured children in their compensation claims, whether they be motor vehicle accident claims, public liability claims, medical negligence claims, or other types of accident, requires a high level of experience, skill and understanding.
The cases are challenging for many reasons, including:
- A child generally doesn’t have a work record, unless the child is a television or movie star or has done some weekend work if an adolescent like in a café or shop.
- Children can’t make their own legal decisions, or provide lawyers with instructions, until they turn 18. They must rely on others to provide these instructions, usually one of the child’s parents.
- Compensation is paid as a “once and for all” lump sum – there is no coming back for more if something has been overlooked.
- Children can’t collect their settlement or verdict monies until they turn 18. If claims are settled or decided before that age the funds are generally invested with a funds manager e.g. NSW Trustee & Guardian.
- Any settlements before age 18 must be approved by the Court as being in the child’s best financial interests.
- Often it is prudent to wait until the child has developed because of issues with growth plates which may have been damaged, the consequences of which may not manifest themselves until adolescence.
- With young children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries it is important to wait until the child has completed his or her education to ascertain the adverse impact the child’s cognitive deficits may have had on the child’s academic performance.
I have acted for numerous children who have suffered all manner of serious injuries, but mainly traumatic brain injury. I have had cases which I have been unable to finalise for more than a decade because of the need to wait in order to be able to assess the children’s long-term prognoses.
If one of your children, or a child you know has been injured as a result of an accident, they may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Tom Goudkamp.