Calls have been made to ensure that children’s rights are fully protected, in road traffic accident claims.
Northampton, Northamptonshire -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/09/2017 -- Figures have shown that in the last six years, 1,832 young people (ages under 18 years) were not represented legally when they had been hurt in an accident that was not their fault.
These figures point to the suggestion that the victims did not have access to any legal advice, and therefore do not have their compensation money protected for them until they are of an age that they will be able to control it themselves.
Currently, if an adult is making a personal injury claim if they have been hurt in an accident that was not their own fault, which includes road traffic accidents, the insurance company who is offering to settle their injury claim may also offer to compensate the children who were injured. However, surprisingly, there is no mandatory legal obligation for the child to obtain their own independent legal advice.
Maurece Hutchinson, managing partner at JMK Solicitors stated "We feel that insurers have a conflict of interest between their shareholders and the rights of innocent injured children."
It is being argued that children should be entitled to be represented by a lawyer and any damages that they are compensated should be held securely in a Court, where it is protected in an approved investment account for the child's own use when they are old enough to manage their own money.
While this is not happening, there is a significant risk that the child will not receive the compensation that they are entitled to in the future. It is the responsibility of the child's parents to keep the full amount of money that the child was compensated (that they accepted on the child's behalf) safe for the child until they turn 18. The Court may also allow a proportion of the funds to be released at the time of the settlement approval, or prior to the child reaching 18 years of age if there are adequate reasons that the money is needed. For example, this can be for the cost of any special education that the child may need, or medical cost for any treatment they may need as a result of the accident.
Ms Hutchinson added "We have been monitoring the increase in the number of children injured in road traffic collisions who are not legally represented and the numbers have grown dramatically – from 57 in 2010 to 455 in 2015.
"We are urging that the Justice Minister investigate to ensure proper regulations are implemented and children's rights are protected."
The company says "If your child has been involved in a road traffic accident, it is advised that you contact a reputable law firm as soon as possible, who are experienced in dealing with personal injury compensation claims on behalf of injured babies and children and will be able to advise you whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation".
Founded in 1877, Tollers has grown to become a leading regional law firm with offices in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Kettering, Corby, Stevenage and Kempston. With six offices and over 163 staff they take a very modern approach to providing high-quality legal services.
Danny Chapman, Marketing
Address: Tollers LLP 1 Waterside Way, Bedford Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN4 7XD