When a clinical negligence claim is brought on behalf of a child, before it can be settled and compensation paid, a judge is required to approve the amount that has been agreed. We call this an Infant Approval Hearing.
Infant approvals are needed to ensure that the amount agreed on behalf of someone who can’t decide for themselves is the right amount. This is to protect everyone. It protects the child, making sure that the amount agreed properly compensates them for the injury; it protects the solicitors, parents or whoever is acting on behalf of the child from any suggestion by the child in the future that they made a wrong decision and it protects the Defendant from the child coming back in the future if the injury changes in a way no one envisaged at the time.
If a claim is settled on a full and final basis and approved by a judge, it is finished in the same way any adult claim would be. The only difference at that stage is that the compensation award is paid into a special court bank account where it is protected until the child is 18 (the rules are different if the child will never have the mental capacity to manage their own affairs under the Mental Capacity Act 2005). The court will then pay the money to the child.
If the child needs compensation before age 18, an application can be made to the court for some of the money to be paid out, but the person making the application needs to explain what the money will be used for.
Usually, the court will only approve a payment if the child has an immediate need for something for their educational or physical needs, such as a computer that will help with school work.
Again, this is to protect the child’s money from being used before they are age 18.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you would like assistance with a medical negligence case, please contact us via our contact form or call us directly on 0151 645 0055