Head injury and children
I acted for a family, two of whom died in a road accident. A young girl was a rear seat passenger in the family car which was hit by a lorry.
This case underlines how carefully we must check for an acquired brain injury in a child. The tendency is to concentrate on the obvious physical injuries and survival. I clearly remembering handling a road accident case in which two people died, and a surviving child seemed to be free of major injury. As time went on the acquired brain injury became more obvious, and was illustrated by the instruction of appropriate experts. An acquired brain injury can often appear to have only subtle effects, but if your ability to remember and organize is affected, the consequences are going to be very serious.
The settlement took account of educational difficulties which would lead to career problems. The compensation was placed in a Personal Injury Trust. This meant means tested State benefits could be claimed, and the compensation could be properly used through the discretion of the Trustees. If a child is injured, any compensation award must be approved by the Court, and the money is usually paid into the Court Funds Office for investment until the child is 18 years of age. Once the child reaches 18 years of age the money is theirs, and is paid out by the Court. Special arrangements can be made if money is required immediately, or as in this case if control is necessary beyond the child’s 18th birthday.
It is not enough for a solicitor to settle a personal injury compensation case. The future has to be carefully considered and the very best done to help an injured person through future difficulties. Child head injury cases need an experienced solicitor.
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