My son suffered a broken leg in a car accident two years ago and I now want to claim compensation. What is the statute of limitations for minors?
The statute of limitations for minors is different from the usual three year time limit as imposed upon claims for adults. Generally speaking, a claim can be initiated anytime until the child reaches the age of eighteen, after which they can initiate their own injury compensation for minors. A three year time limit to claiming for children lies in place from the child’s eighteenth birthday, meaning they have until their twenty-first birthday in which to initiate a claim to compensation. However, while an injury claim for children is possible until this point, you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity to claim compensation.
The statute of limitations for minors does not begin until their eighteenth birthday as legally, children cannot initiate legal action or instruct a solicitor to do on their behalf. Because of this, a claim for children must be initiated by a responsible adult — usually a parent or guardian — acting on behalf of the child as a “litigation friend” within the time limit to claiming for children. This litigation friend must first be approved by the court and cannot have a conflict of interest in the child’s case — for instance: a parent cannot claim for the child if they were the negligent driver who caused the accident in question. The injury compensation for minors can then be sought by the litigation friend at any stage between the date of knowledge of the injury and the child’s eighteenth birthday, when they can commence legal action on their own behalf. However as compensation may be required for the benefit of the child, you are advised to pursue your injury claim for children at the earliest opportunity following your child’s accident.
While the statute of limitations for minors is three years from the age of majority, it must be noted that exceptions may occur under international law. For instance, the time limit to claiming for children may be two years if your child has been injured on a boat or plane. It is also possible that if your child has suffered mental incapacity because of their injuries, the time limit for pursuing an injury claim for children will commence if — or when — your child is capable of initiating legal action. To determine whether any of these exceptions apply to your child’s injury compensation for minors, you are advised to contact a personal injury solicitor at the earliest convenience.
The time limit to claiming for children may seem like plentiful time in which to commence a claim to compensation. However it should be remembered that an injury claim for children can be difficult to pursue, and evidence can disappear and memories fade over time. Because of this, you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity if you wish to pursue injury compensation for minors, in order to ensure they receive the compensation they require. By doing so, you can also ensure that the statute of limitations for minors does not become an issue of concern in the long term.