By Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Your Child’s Health and Safety
Although it will be abundantly obvious to any parent, it should always be remembered that if your child has been injured in an accident in a public playground, his or her health and safety is much more important than any potential compensation claim that he or she may have against the local council or public authority. If the child has been seriously hurt an ambulance (together with the Gardai, if appropriate) should be called immediately.
It is of the utmost importance that you report to the casualty department of the nearest hospital, or at the very least make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner, should your child have been injured in a playground accident. Even if you feel that the injuries are not particularly serious, it is still advisable that you take your child to see a doctor. Never underestimate peace of mind when it comes to children. The reality is that monetary compensation is no substitute for your child’s health and well-being.
It should be noted further that your child’s attendance at hospital or with your doctor will be recorded in his or her medical records which may later be used in evidence to support the claim.
Speak to your Solicitor
It is advisable that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible after you have addressed the immediate health and safety concerns. It is advantageous for the case to commence matters as early as possible. This will make the solicitors work of gathering evidence, including witness statements, less difficult as people’s memories of the incident, for example, will still be fresh (this is particularly pertinent should the witnesses be other children). The procedure for a compensation claim by a minor is that proceedings are in fact issued in the name of his or her parent or guardian who acts as his or her ‘next friend’.
Time Limits in Children’s Cases
The law affords extra time for a minor victim (i.e. a child) to pursue a compensation claim. Under the Statute of Limitations, which normally limits the plaintiff’s right to claim to two years after ‘the date of knowledge’ of the injury, allowance is made so that in the case of a minor, the date of knowledge of the injury is in fact the minor victim’s eighteenth birthday. Time does not begin to run against the injured infant until the infant reaches his or her majority (eighteen years of age).
Under current law, therefore, your child has two years after his or her eighteenth birthday within which to issue proceedings in court.
- Playground accident claims are usually made against the local council or public authority.
- As ever, you should make the health of your child a priority before considering playground accident claims.
- A solicitor is the best person to advise you about the procedures when making playground accident claims.
- Although children can make playground accident claims for up to two years after their eighteenth birthday, it is advisable to proceed with a claim while people´s memories of the playground accident remain fresh.
- A solicitor will explain to you on our free advice service how you can make playground accident claims for compensation on your child´s behalf.
It is important to note that each case is unique. If your child has been involved in an accident resulting from the negligence of another, such as a playground accident, and you feel that he or she may have a potential personal injury claim you are advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Copyright © 2009-2015 Eoin Campbell
About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose primary professional experience is the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.