Accidents Involving Children / Minors Under 18
If your child has had the terrible misfortune of being involved in a avoidable accident causing injury because of another party’s failure to provide adequate protection and safety, you should know what to do to take legal action against said individual.
Once it is established that the accident was avoidable, the first step in legal action is to record the following information:
- Where the accident took place
- When/ what time the accident occurred
- Who was with your child at the time of the accident
- How the accident happened
- Photos of the area where the accident happened
- Photos of the child’s injuries
- Gardaí details and contact information
Claims depend on, where the accident happened, how severe the injuries where and the longstanding consequences of the accident. The most common accidents in Ireland take place in schools or nurseries, In fairgrounds or because of a unsafe children’s toy.
In the case of any of the above scenarios, the following procedure is required for sufficient claims.
If your child is involved in an accident, it can be a very difficult time for your family. Financial compensation rewarded, in the case of a successful claim, can help for any costs you have endured as a result of the accident. It is important to remember the time limits on such claims.
Minors are not allowed to employ a solicitor or commence legal action until the age of 18 years old, but it is permitted for minors to seek compensation for an accident through a parent or legal guardian. If you (the parent/guardian) choose not to pursue a claim, then your child can choose to do so themselves from the age of 18.
The Statute of limitations doesn’t commence until an individuals 18th birthday. From that date, they have 2 years to pursue a compensation claim. Although, there are advantages to pursuing a case before then. Gathering evidence is more efficient and witness statements needed would be fresher in people’s minds.
If you choose to take up a claim before your child’s 18th birthday, the procedure for such is as follows:
- Gather your information
- Seek out a solicitor, who will build your case and advise you on the best course of legal action
- Before the claim can continue, it needs to be approved by the district court.
Before any claims can continue, you need to to accept the financial liability should the claim be unsuccessful.
- Any settlements made of child’s injury will be approved by court before any payments are made to the court. It is then held in the court until the child’s 18th birthday. Compensation can be released from the court before then, but only upon application approval.
TYPICAL ACCIDENT SCENARIOS INVOLVING CHILDREN
- Show how the accident was due to someone else’s neglect of your child.
- Report to a teacher in the facility as soon as possible and confirm that the accident is recorded in the schools accident book.
- Gather names and contact information of all the people involved in the accident/witnesses.
- Photograph the area where the accident took place.
- Photograph the child’s injuries.
- Retain cost receipts as a result of the accident i.e medical bills etc
Public Amenities / Entertainment Venues / Fairgrounds
Accidents in theses location types are usually a result of the following circumstances:
- The owner of said establishment neglected to ensure a standard of maintenance of the grounds to provide adequate safety for customers.
- Food sellers did not have a standard of hygiene adequate for customers to consume the provided food.
- Employees did not act in a reasonable way to provide safety for customers
- The rides in the establishment were either poorly maintained or defective.
The procedure for such accident claims are as follows:
- Gather witness Information i.e names and contact information.
- Record when the accident happened.
- Record where the accident happened.
Unsafe/faulty children’s toys
- Accidents involving unsafe children’s toys are the most common personal injury claims in Ireland. The toy causes choking or physical harm to the child because of defective parts etc. The procedure in this claim are as follows :
- Record the details of the injury
- Record what store/establishment where the toy was bought.
- Retain the receipt of the purchase.
- Retain packaging and instructions for the toy.
Decision of the District Court and Circuit Civil Court – Ronan Byrne & Chloe Murphy -v- Enda Woods.
In the case of Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy v Enda Woods, a settlement of €46,000 was made of Róisín Byrne’s claim for falling from an unsafe window. She fell eleven feet onto the emergency fire casing below. As a result of her fall, she fractured a rib and punctured a lung.
Her parents had previously complained about the insecurity of the window to the caretaker of the flats. Her parents made a claim against the property owner – Enda Woods – declaring negligence. Ms. Murphy applied to the injuries board for an assessment of her claim.
The assessment of €46,000 had to be approved by a judge. After reviewing the circumstances of the claim and the assessment, the judge approved the settlement of the injury claim. The settlement was then paid into the court funds where it will remain until Róisín’s 18th birthday.