Did you know that the number one cause of death in children in Canada is injury?1 Many children are resilient and able to bounce back from many things. However, serious injury can have long-lasting, devastating consequences for your child’s quality of life. It can also greatly impact their ability to live independently.
When something serious or life-changing happens to your child because of someone else’s negligence, it makes sense to hold the guilty parties responsible. However, most information online surrounding personal injury claims is catered to adults. The process for children can be quite different.
If your child has been seriously injured and you wish to pursue a personal injury claim, you do have options. Children can successfully pursue these claims with the help of a parent or guardian and an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Reasons To Pursue A Child Injury Claim
Children get hurt often, and often due to no one’s fault but their own. At a young age, many children are learning their own boundaries and abilities, which can result in some knicks or scratches. However, should your child suffer a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence or lack of care, action can be taken.
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Product failure or malfunction (car seats, appliances, toys, medicine, and more)
- Negligence by a babysitter, daycare, or school resulting in serious injury
- Accidents caused by a lack of safeguards put in place (including swimming pool accidents, trampoline accidents, and more)
The above is not a full list, and if you have any questions about your ability to pursue a personal injury claim, we recommend giving De Rose Lawyers a call. Our free consultation will allow us the chance to learn more about the accident and provide you with proper legal guidance.
Statue of Limitations For Child Injury Claims
In most cases, the Statute of Limitations in Ontario for personal injury claims is two years. This means you have two years from when the accident occurred to pursue a personal injury claim. Once those two years have passed, you may be barred from bringing a claim.
When it comes to child injury claims, however, this two-year limitation period does not begin until the child turns 18. You do not need to wait until the child turns 18 to bring a personal injury claim. That’s why we always recommend that you meet with a personal injury lawyer when the accident and accompanying details are still fresh. The more information and evidence that we can obtain, the more likely the claim is to be successful.
How Child Injury Claims Differ From Regular Personal Injury Claims
There is an obligation in Ontario Courts to protect minors. This is why there are additional procedures and safeguards in place for cases involving anyone under the age of 18.
The Court must approve a settlement before it becomes legally binding
Unlike other personal injury claims that can be settled outside of Court, when children are involved, the Court must sign off on the settlement. No final or legally binding settlement can be entered on a child’s behalf until the Court approves and signs off on it.
The Court holds the settlement until the child turns 18
Child injury claims are intended to ease the burden on the child involved in the accident. This includes any financial burdens they may experience because of the accident. Therefore, the money awarded is not given to the parents or guardians. It is held by the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice.
However, there are special circumstances where the parents will be given some of the money awarded. These circumstances are when the parent or guardian must pay for medical services, rehabilitation services, or assistive devices required by the child.
Additionally, if you do not want to leave the settlement in the hands of the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice, you must instead put the money in a reliable investment, such as a savings account with high interest or a GIC (Guaranteed Income Certificate).
In some circumstances, it can be difficult to invest in a GIC as the funds need to be accessed early or on a continuous basis for medical costs. In these circumstances, you have two options. You can buy annuities so regular payments are available to you to cover expenses. The other option is to gain approval from the Court to access the funds prematurely.
Once the child turns 18, they will gain access to all remaining funds.
A parent or guardian must act on the personal injury claim on behalf of the child
For a child to pursue a child injury claim, their parent or guardian must assume the role of litigation guardian or decision-maker. This adult then obtains all responsibility for all decisions made in the case. They will be the main point of contact in Court and with the personal injury lawyers.
How Compensation is Awarded In Child Injury Claims
Unlike an adult who has stopped growing, determining compensation in child injury claims can be incredibly difficult. Especially when the injuries are still new and their total impact on quality of life is not fully known. Compensation is awarded based on future challenges, complications, medical expenses, other expenses, and ability to work. It can be very hard to foresee what these challenges and expenses will be over the child’s entire lifetime.
This is where you need to count on the expertise of the personal injury lawyer you work with. They will have a much better idea of the realistic outcomes and challenges your child may have.
The main goal of compensation is to ensure the child has the money required to cover all medical expenses outside of OHIP coverage. It should also cover a decline in quality of life, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings.
When pursuing a personal injury claim immediately after the accident, you may not yet know if the injuries will heal fully or cause long-term disability or pain.
Count on De Rose Lawyers’ Experience In Pursing Child Injury Claims
All personal injury claims are complicated. However, when a child is involved, it becomes much more complicated. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers will ensure this process is as stress-free as possible while obtaining fair compensation for your family.
With 40 years of combined experience, De Rose Lawyers will guide you through the complex legal, medical, and insurance issues. This allows you to focus on your child’s rehabilitation and recovery.