Earlier this week Marc Folgate undertook a successful Court hearing for approval of a claim on behalf of an injured child. He gave his thoughts as to what parents should know about the process of recovering compensation for an injured child and had in mind a Nelson Mandela quotation.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
“Many parents“, he said “are daunted by the process of pursuing a claim on behalf of an injured child. However, in the right hands, the process can actually be pretty smooth, although there is a degree of input required on behalf of a parent. A parent normally acts as what is known as a “Litigation Friend” for the injured child. The child Claimant will need to be examined by a doctor for a medical report to be prepared and insurers conduct their usual liability enquiries. The big difference is that a settlement of a claim brought on behalf of a child requires the Court’s approval, and this normally results in a Court hearing”.
Marc has found that Court hearings for approval have changed over the years and not least following the Covid pandemic.
“Prior to the pandemic Court hearings were always held in person with the child and parent attending before a Judge and bringing with them the child’s original birth certificate”, he recalled. “However, my recent hearing was held remotely, with the participants appearing before the Judge on what is known as a Cloud Video Platform, or CVP. Different Courts have different policies on this. The CVP hearing was fascinating, because it showed how much more approachable the Courts can be for young people who are generally very savvy with technology. As a result, it was my impression that the Court appearance was far less daunting for the child Claimant than it might have been. Having had my doubts, I am now a convert to remote technology being used for such hearings”.
A few pointers to claims on behalf of children:
i) be prepared to travel to a medical appointment and Court hearing if the claim is successful;
ii) you can still enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement (or no win, no fee arrangement) as the parent (or other representative) of a child to enable the legal fees to be funded without risk;
iii) compensation recovered is likely to be ordered to be invested by the Court Funds Office until the child’s 18th birthday, although other orders can be made at the hearing and Courts are very receptive to allowing some compensation to be paid out for, by way of example, educational purposes;
iv) do not be daunted by the process. Your child is entitled to justice as much as you are and in the right hands the inconvenience should not outweigh the eventual benefit.