UK solicitor explains the procedure for settling a child’s road traffic accident claim using a minor settlement court hearing or a parental indemnity form and when a child can access the compensation
Road traffic accident victim question
I was involved in a serious road traffic accident as a passenger when I was 10 years old. My mother made the claim on my behalf and when I was 13 years old my claim was settled in the sum of £15, 000.
I did not attend court and I am approaching the age of 18 years.
How will I receive my compensation?
Personal injury solicitor response
A claim on behalf of a minor (person under the age of 18 years) must involve a litigation friend – who is an adult providing instructions on behalf of the child. In your road traffic accident claim it seems that your mother was the litigation friend.
Any settlement for a minor should be authorised by the court in a minor settlement hearing. The judge will look at the medical evidence and a barrister’s opinion on quantum obtained by your solicitor (this opinion will refer to case law to show how much your claim is worth) to decide if the compensation is at a sufficient level. If the judge is satisfied the monies should be paid into the court’s fund office until the child reaches the age of 18 years at which stage the full sum plus accumulated interest will be made available.
Sums of money in the court’s fund office attract higher interest levels as monies from many Claimants are pooled together.
In my experience – the court likes to ensure that the child is in attendance at the court hearing.
Another approach is known as parental indemnity. With such an approach the litigation friend parent – signs an agreement with the solicitor that compensation monies will be held on behalf of the child until the age of 18 years. Here the court is not used – but although some solicitors take this approach it is strictly speaking unsuitable as the court should be involved as described earlier. If a solicitor has adopted this approach and as a result you do not receive your compensation you might have a negligence claim against the solicitor.
You mother will no doubt have all the details as will the solicitor who acted in the RTA claim and when you are an adult you would be entitled to view the file of papers to satisfy your curiosity and ensure all is in order.