Personal Injury Claims for Children
Children under the age of 19 can make personal injury claims in British Columbia. However, the rules for minors are slightly different.
Personal injury claims for minors
In British Columbia, anyone under the age of 19 is considered a minor. The law states that those who are injured through no fault of their own are entitled to pursue a personal injury claim – including minors. This right also extends to unborn babies.
Nevertheless, the law also recognises that minors may not have a full understanding of the situation and their legal rights. Because of this, those under the age of 19 are not allowed to make a personal injury claim alone. Instead, there are two options available.
Firstly, a litigation guardian can be appointed. This person can then pursue a claim the child’s behalf. Typically, this will be a parent or close family member. If no one suitable can be found, the Public Guardian and Trustee office may step in.
Secondly, the child may wait until their 19th birthday to start a lawsuit. When this happens, he/she has two years in which to bring a claim, meaning it must be settled by their 21st birthday.
Start a claim now
Usually, it is better to start a claim earlier, rather than later. That way, key evidence can be gathered before it is destroyed or lost.
Also, there may be other time limits to adhere to. For example, if your child has been injured in a car accident, he/she may be entitled to ICBC Part 7 benefits. If so, this claim must be made within two years of the accident, or the last Part 7 payment. By getting early legal advice, you can rest assured that you will not miss these deadlines.
Compensation settlements for children
Personal injury compensation is intended to reflect the physical, emotional and financial damages that have been caused. Although a child will not have a career, their ability to work in the future may be affected. Parents may also have to take time off work.
All of these things should be considered when negotiating a compensation settlement. Once a sum has been agreed, it must be approved by the Public Guardian and Trustee office, or the court (depending on the value of the settlement). This ensures the settlement is fair.
The settlement will not be given directly to a child under the age of 19. Instead, it will be held by the Public Guardian and Trustee office. The money can be accessed with the office’s approval. As long as mental capacity is not an issue, the compensation can be released once the child turns 19.
Personal injury claims Vancouver
Personal injury claims involving children are extremely nuanced. There’s a lot to consider, and you will likely just want to focus on your child’s health, rather than pursuing a legal claim.
At John Mickelson Law Corporation, our Vancouver personal injury lawyers are here to help you. If you or your child has suffered harm in a car accident, or any other kind of accident, please contact us for legal advice.