Claiming compensation for a child injured in a car accident

Be safe while travelling with children

The youngest member of The Simpson family is no stranger to danger. In the opening sequence of the hit American TV show, we see Maggie being scanned through a till before being placed in a shopping bag. But of all the dangerous incidents you see Maggie involved in – a car accident would be the ultimate nightmare. Thankfully, Maggie is always seen safely in her child car seat next to her mother Marge. Even The Simpsons’ writers know to highlight children should be kept safe when traveling in cars. 

Children and cars

It’s often said children can be prone to accidents. But if a child is injured in car accident, it’s unlikely to be a fault of their own.  Travelling in cars is one of the main ways that children under 11 travel According to the National Centre for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) around 250,000 children are injured in car accidents each year in the UK. Sadly, these accidents are not just minorinjuries can range from whiplash to paralysis or even brain injury.  

Shocking facts about children in car accidents

  • Around 15 children between the ages of 0 and 11 years are killed every year in car accidents in the UK 
  • Around 225children are seriously injured in car accidents annually 
  • More than 5,000children suffer minor injuries in car accidents every year

Speed is the main cause of child deaths in car accidents. It’s hard to imagine the impact a car crash can have. In a 30 mph crash, an unrestrained child would be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight, critically injuring themselves and others in the vehicle. 

Child car seat safety & the law

If you’re travelling with children, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are wearing their seatbelt or secured in a car seat. This means that the child must be in a properly fitted child car seat and use an adequate seat belt. Taking these simple precautions significantly reduces the risk of injury in the unfortunate event of an accident. 

Children must use a child car seat until they’re either 12 years old or at least 135 centimeters tall, whichever comes first. Children aged 12 or over, or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt. Choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight. 

What happens to children’s compensation in the event of an accident?

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and children can be injured. As a parent, although the focus will always be on your child’s wellbeing at the time of an accident, if it was someone else’s fault, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation on the child’s behalf. As long as you were not responsible for the accident as a driver, you can be nominated as their ‘litigation friend’ to make a claim on their behalf as their parent or legal guardian. 

When making a claim, parents or guardians need to make sure their child was in an adequate car seat and that the car seat was installed correctly. If parents fail to do this, the compensation amount their child is entitled to will be drastically reduced, not to mention its impact on the child’s safety. 

How long do I have to make a child compensation claim?

When making a claim for a child who has been injured in an accident, you have from the time the accident occurred right up until the child is 19 years old. Any person up to the age of 16 is classified as a child under Scots law for the purpose of a personal injury claim. Once a child turns 16, they then have up to 3 years to claim for compensation if a parent or guardian has not done so for them already. Contact a personal injury solicitor today for more information. 

Road safety awareness

The government’s successful THINK! road safety campaign launched in 2000. As well as providing information and advice to encourage safer behaviour on the roads, it aims to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads every year. 

Prevention is always better

While little Maggie Simpson effortlessly survives the cartoon dangers that come her way, in the real world, child safety is a serious issue. If you’re driving with a child on board, their safety is your responsibility. Drive carefully and make sure they always wear a seat belt or are strapped in the correct car seat.