Personal injury claims involving children are among the most heartbreaking of all, and families facing a long rehabilitation process and an uncertain future need an experienced personal injury lawyer on their side. The legal process can be daunting, and parents need to understand how it works so they can protect themselves and their families.
Injuries to children can arise in any number of ways, but the most common causes include:
– Car accidents
– Bicycle accidents
– Sports injuries
– Accidents at school
– Defective toys and/or products
There are often multiple causes leading to an accidental injury, and most injuries are preventable through the exercise of ordinary care. If an accident or injury is caused by the neglect or failure of someone with a duty towards your child, you may have a claim against them and their insurance company. The lawyers at McNally Gervan have the knowledge and experience to navigate personal injury claims involving children. They can help families to investigate the events leading up to an injury and can determine if you and your child are entitled to compensation.
There are sometimes strict timelines for giving notice of a legal claim, so it is important to get advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.
Children and teenagers under the age of majority cannot file personal injury claims without a legal representative who is over the age of eighteen and does not have any conflict of interest. Usually, a mother or father will act as the “litigation guardian” for their child, and will make the decisions and give instructions to the lawyer on their behalf. When a settlement is reached on behalf of a minor child, the Superior Court of Ontario will review the settlement and ensure it is fair and reasonable, and that the legal fees are fair and reasonable, before approving the settlement. Once it is approved, the settlement funds are typically paid into court and are held until the minor turns eighteen.
Depending on the nature of the injuries or impairments, it may be necessary to wait for a number of years before commencing a claim on behalf of a child. In particular, it is often important to know how the injury or impairment is affecting the child’s development and education, and whether the child will be economically disadvantaged in the future. If so, it will be necessary to obtain expert educational, vocational and actuarial evidence to fairly assess and value the child’s claim for compensation. When it comes to children, their best interests are rarely served by quick settlements. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows when there is enough information to assess the claim and to provide an opinion as to the reasonable settlement value of the child’s claim.
If your child has been injured in an Ottawa car accident, speak to one of our lawyers at McNally Gervan as soon as possible. We are experienced and compassionate lawyers. We understand the system and we can give you and your family the guidance you need to navigate in a complex legal and insurance system.