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Infant Approval Hearing V’s Parental Indemnity – What Is The Best Option For Me?

In a personal injury claim, where the injured party is under the age of 18, they require representation by a Litigation Friend. The injured party is classed as a minor and often the Litigation Friend appointed will be a parent or a family member or friend who is an adult.

How to choose a Litigation Friend

Depending on the age of the injured party often it will be a parent who will be the Litigation Friend. They have a duty to act in the best interests of the injured party. Sometimes where a parent such as the mother is a driver of a car and the child is a passenger, it might not be appropriate for the mother to act as Litigation Friend where there could potentially be a dispute in terms of liability and who was responsible for causing the road traffic accident.

In situations where there could potentially be a conflict of interest an alternative family member of friend may be the Litigation Friend.

Where there appears to be no suitable Litigation Friend then an Official Solicitor could be appointed if appropriate.

Once a settlement has been agreed with the Defendant Insurer, usually an award needs to be approved by a District Judge at an Infant Approval Hearing.

Infant Approval Hearing – what is it?

This is a Court Hearing which is relatively informal. The Claimant minor and the Litigation Friend will attend the Hearing and a District Judge will ensure the minor has recovered and ensure the settlement is suitable.

Before a case proceeds to an Infant Approval Hearing, an advice from a barrister will be sought on the value of the claim. A District Judge will need to see this.

Once the settlement is approved the District Judge will issue a Court Order and usually the settlement will remain in a courts funds account. It can be possible for the settlement to be placed into an account with higher interest but you will need approval from the Court. The money will remain in the courts funds office until the child turns 18.

The benefit of an infant Approval Hearing is that a District Judge will approve the settlement if appropriate and if it does not seem appropriate and further medical evidence is required then the settlement would not take place at the Hearing.

Parental indemnity agreement – what is it?

Some Defendant Insurers’ will suggest that the settlement is agreed by Parental Indemnity. This means that the parent (Litigation Friend) approves the settlement but it means that if they sign the agreement it leaves them open to a claim in negligence by the child in the future if the settlement was not appropriate. Therefore most Solicitors will recommend the Infant Approval Hearing is more appropriate.

If your child has been injured due to someone’s else negligence, our personal injury experts may be able to help. They have vast experience in representing minors and obtaining the compensation they deserve. Call us on 0330 822 3451 or request a callback online.

Further Reading Karen Mann
Personal Injury