As per the Australiasian Injury Prevention Network (AIPN), injury is the leading cause of death in children aged 1-15 years. Injury-related hospitalisations of children are all too common and the worst nightmare for most parents. While approximately 90% of child injuries are unintentional (accidental), there are some 68,000 hospitalisations of children every year due to unintentional injury.
Common causes of injury in children include:
● 0-12 months: Thermal injury including smoke inhalation, burns due to fire, and burns due to contact with heat supplies and hot substances.
● 1-4 years: Falls from playground equipment, including trampolines.
● 5-9 years: Falls from playgroup equipment, with approximately 42% of injuries in this age bracket due to falls from climbing apparatus.
● 10-14 years: Falls involving riding equipment such as scooters and skateboards (66%).
● 15-17 years: ‘Other unintentional causes’ such as an injury due to inanimate mechanical force, e.g. being struck by a ball or an animate mechanical force such as being hit by another person or bitten by a dog.
Other common causes of injury include:
● Fatal and non-fatal drowning.
● Choking, suffocation and strangulation.
● Cuts and piercings.
● Hit, struck or crush injuries.
The leading causes of unintentional death in children include:
● Road traffic accidents.
Most unintentional injuries and deaths are preventable; however, accidents can happen, and when they do, they can leave the entire family traumatised. Occasionally accidents happen as a result of negligence, in which case the child has a right to claim personal injury compensation through their guardian against the responsible party.
Children are extremely resilient; however, accidents can have physical and psychological consequences that may be minor and temporary, or severe and permanent. Children may also experience ongoing trauma due to witnessing the injury or death of another person involved in the accident. Many children recover quickly after an accident while others may take much longer to recover and may need more time to adjust.
The impact of some injuries may not become apparent for months to years after the accident, and it may be difficult to know how the accident will impact your child’s life in the future. Enjoyment, employment prospects and independence may all be affected in some way after an accident. In some cases, the child may require significant levels of care from their parents or guardians into adulthood. This uncertainty can add to family stress levels and can also impact the child’s parents or guardians earning capabilities.
Much like an adult, a child (a person under the age of 18 years) also has rights in an accident and may be eligible for personal injury compensation. As the child’s parent or guardian, you are eligible to make a claim for compensation on the child’s behalf. It is important to remember that personal injury claims for children often take longer to settle than those of adults. Claims for children may take longer to settle because of uncertainty around the severity of injuries sustained and how those injuries are likely to impact life as an adult.
Time Frames to Lodging a Claim
As with other personal injury claims, strict timeframes apply for lodging a claim in the court. In the case of an adult, all personal injury claims must be lodged within three years of the date of the accident. In the case of children’s injury claims, the time to lodge a claim is extended by three years after their 18th birthday, i.e. the claim must be lodged by the time the person turns 21 years of age.
That being said, timeframes still apply to the parent or guardian who is claiming on behalf of the child. The person must give written notice of intent to claim to the proposed defendant within:
● Nine months of the accident occurring, or the first symptoms of injury; or
● One month after engaging a personal injury lawyer to act on their behalf.
In the event of serious injuries such as quadriplegia or severe brain injury, the child may be entitled to common law damages. Logan Law lawyers are highly experienced, compensation lawyers who are empathetic to your situation. We provide an initial consultation free of charge and then offer No Win, No Fee terms for all compensation claims cases. Compensation claims can be complicated, but our lawyers will guide you through the entire process with absolute care. Trilby Misso will fight to obtain the maximum results on your behalf and help you to get the compensation to which your child is entitled.