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This article was published on October 14th, 2020
Travelling with young children is rarely uneventful even if you are fully prepared with children’s car seats. Whether it’s the endless calls of ‘are we there yet?’, the spilt drinks, crumb covered rear seats of the family car or the sudden stop for a poorly passenger experiencing car sickness for the first time, a car journey with children can be fun, frustrating, exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.
However, one thing that remains consistent is the need to ensure your children are kept safe, even if the worst happens and they are involved in a car accident.
If a child is injured in a car accident it can have both immediate and catastrophic consequences and a lasting effect on their whole family.
In this blog post, we look at the legal ramifications surrounding road traffic accidents involving children in addition to the possibilities open to children and their families following an accident.
If an adult is injured and it due to the other party’s negligence then they may pursue a personal injury claim.
However, what happens if a child is injured?
In this instance, if a child under the age of 18 is injured in a non-fault road traffic accident then an adult over the age of 18 may be able to pursue a claim on their behalf, this adult is known as a litigation friend.
In most cases the litigation friend will be an adult who was also involved in the same car accident providing the accident was non-fault if the accident was a fault accident then the driver of the fault vehicle cannot be the minors litigation friend.
When it comes to making a claim against the negligent party, a claim may be pursued against either the driver of the vehicle in which the child is a passenger or against the driver of the other vehicle, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
When a personal injury claim is made for injuries suffered in a road traffic accident there are certain rules will apply in order for a claim to be valid.
However, some of these rules do not apply to personal injury claims involving children.
For example, the normal 3-year limit within which one would usually have to make a claim does not apply. It is essential you speak to a qualified and experienced solicitor who is a specialist in dealing with these types of claims as they will be able to outline any differences between an adult road traffic accident claim and one that is being made on behalf of a child.
Children’s car seats are legally required for children under 12 years old or children who are less than 135cm tall when they are travelling in a vehicle.
By not using a child seat, a child is at a significantly higher risk of suffering a severe injury than if they were using a child seat.
Not only this, but they may also lose any eligibility to make a personal injury claim as a result.
Regardless of the severity of the road traffic accident a child’s car seat should always be replaced following an accident, even if no damage is apparent on the surface.
If your child is more than 135cm tall or is above the age where children’s car seats are required when travelling in a vehicle, they must adhere to the laws relating to adults travelling in a vehicle, which include wearing a seatbelt.
Should a child become injured in a road traffic accident and they weren’t wearing a seatbelt, but it is deemed that the injuries would have been less severe had they done so, the level of compensation they may receive will be decreased.
If you or your child are involved in a. road traffic collision it is essential you seek expert legal advice as soon as possible following the incident.
Our team can work with you to ensure you secure any medical treatment you or your child may need following your road traffic accident. We also work with medical experts who may need to be consulted to ascertain whether your child has suffered damage that may affect their development and future life.
Our personal injury team have a wealth of experience in handling compensation claims of this nature and will be able to advise you every step of the way.
We operate on a no win no fee basis and we also offer a free initial consultation to assess your claim.
To speak to a member of our team, please call 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.