Most information about personal injury claims online is targeted toward adults. However, when children are seriously injured, it can have devastating and long-lasting consequences on their quality of life and ability to live independently.
When something happens to your child that causes them pain and suffering, it’s only natural that you want to hold responsible parties accountable. Even if the injury was accidental, it can cause serious trauma and long-term consequences, for both your children and you as part of their support network.
The good news is, that when it comes to injury to children, there are options available. Children can successfully make a personal injury claim with the help of a parent or guardian and a personal injury lawyer.
Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Claims For Children
In Ontario, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This means you have two years from the time your accident occurred to pursue legal action and seek financial compensation.
However, this two-year limitation period does not begin for a child until they reach the age of 18. This doesn’t mean you need to or even should wait until your child turns 18 to contact a personal injury lawyer. It is always a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer while all the details are fresh, but even if you waited, you may still have a case.
It’s also important to note that the statute of limitations is different in cases of slip and falls. If the fall happened on a municipal property, you only have 10 days to provide written notice to the municipality. If the fall happened on private property, you have 60 days to provide notice.
Reasons Why You Might Make A Child Injury Claim
Children get hurt all the time. Many times, it’s an accident or due to a child exploring their own boundaries and learning how their body moves. However, when the injuries are serious and caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, action should be taken.
This can include:
- Negligence leading to injury during daycare or under the care of a babysitter
- Car accidents or pedestrian accidents due to a drunk or distracted driver
- Negligence or a lack of maintenance causing a slip and fall
- Product malfunction or failure which can include car seats, toys, medicine, appliances, and more
- Accidents as the result of a lack of supervision or safeguards such as swimming pool accidents, trampoline accidents, and more
The above is not a full, complete list of the only things you can pursue in a personal injury claim. These are just some examples. The best way to understand if you have a valid personal injury claim is to call a personal injury lawyer, like MG Law, to talk about your individual circumstances during our free consultation.
How Do Procedural Requirements Differ For Child Injury Claims?
Courts in Ontario have an obligation to protect minors. This is why the law requires that additional procedures are followed to provide additional protections for children.
A parent or guardian must act on the claim on the child’s behalf
For instance, the child’s parent or guardian must assume the role of decision-maker or litigation guardian. This adult will now have the responsibility to make all decisions in the case on behalf of the child. They will be the main contact and person who consults with the personal injury lawyer.
No settlement is legally binding until the Court approves it
In regular personal injury claims, settlements can be entered and approved without the Court having to sign off on them. However, in personal injury claims involving children, no settlement entered on a child’s behalf is final or legally binding until the Court has approved it.
The settlement is held by the Court until the child turns 18
Settlement funds that are awarded to the child are held by the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice until the child turns 18. The money is not handed over to the parents. There are special circumstances however when parents will get some of the money. These circumstances will be to cover costs for medical services, rehabilitation services, and assistive devices.
If you do not want the funds held by the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice, then they must be invested in reliable investments, such as GICs (Guaranteed Income Certificates) or a savings account with high interest.
In circumstances where the funds need to be accessed early for medical costs, there are two options. You can buy annuities so regular payments are available to cover expenses if regular treatment is needed. Additionally, if there are unexpected costs, you can access the funds before the child turns 18, however, you will require approval from the Court.
Once the child turns 18, they will receive all the remaining funds.
How Compensation Is Awarded
Determining compensation in child injury claims can be very difficult. Foreseeing all possible challenges, obstacles, and medical expenses that a serious injury can have on a child’s entire life is complex and requires the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
The compensation awarded is intended to ensure that the child has enough money to cover all medical expenses that are not covered by OHIP. Additionally, it should cover the potential loss of earnings, a decline in quality of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. When going to court to pursue a personal injury claim, you may not yet know whether these injuries will fully heal or if your child will be left with long-term pain or disability.
The Court Will Always Act In The Best Interests Of The Child
No matter the accident or personal injury claim, the Court will decide whether or not to approve the settlement based on the best interests of the child.
All personal injury claims are complex. However, a case involving children becomes even more complicated. Working with a personal injury law team that is experienced in pursuing child injury claims will make this experience as stress-free as possible while ensuring the rights and remedies of your children are protected.
Our personal injury lawyers will always put you and your family first. We offer legal services in English, French, Greek, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, Punjabi, Hindi, and all Arabic dialects to make sure you always understand your options – even when English isn’t your preferred language. Your children have rights, and we’ll do everything to get the results that your family deserves.
Book a free consultation with MG Law today. Together, we’ll fight for the compensation and care required to heal.