Compensation claims on behalf of minor children who suffer injuries in Queensland

All too often, children suffer injuries in car accidents, at daycare, during a sporting activity or, sadly, as a result of the negligence of a doctor or hospital. It’s important that you know that as a parent, you have the right to claim compensation on behalf of your injured child. You do not have to wait until your child reaches 18.


When a child suffers injury due to someone’s carelessness, in our experience, your first reaction, as a parent, is that you are angry at the people that caused harm to your child and you want to do something about it. You contact whoever caused the injury (daycare centre, school etc), you want an investigation, you want answers and you want to see consequences for the people that were negligent. One of the main frustrations is that usually there is no immediate response to your complaints and it can feel like you are hitting a brick wall.  The reason for this is that often the people who caused the injuries are talking to their insurance company to make sure they are covered and they don’t want to tell you anything because they are afraid they may lose their insurance cover.


We have summarised below some important things you need to know.  Generally speaking, you will achieve much more if you focus on your child’s medical care and wellbeing, and leave the legal proceeding in the hands of competent lawyers.


As the parent, you have the right to claim compensation on behalf of your child

Because your child is a minor, you as a parent can claim compensation on their behalf. You will be claiming compensation as your child’s litigation guardian. This means you will be making all decisions on behalf of your child. As part of this, you choose a lawyer and you give instructions to your lawyer during the process.


It’s even more important to choose a competent lawyer

It goes without saying that you want the best lawyer to handle your child’s compensation claim.  It’s important to realise that there are special rules that apply to children’s claims that an inexperienced lawyer may not even be aware of.


For example, if the matter settles, the settlement will have to be court sanctioned – even if the settlement amount is agreed with the insurance company. This means your lawyers will have to persuade the judge that the settlement amount is fair.


As another example, if your child suffers injury in Queensland because of the negligence of a doctor or other medical provider, your lawyer must advise you to bring a claim within 18 months  after first consulting a lawyer. This timeframe is tighter than you think, because within this 18 months period it may be necessary to first obtain an expert report about both your child’s injuries, and the doctor’s negligence. This could be tricky because doctors in Queensland don’t like to give evidence against each other, so you need a competent lawyer who can find the right experts.


At Denes Lawyers, we have experience in claiming compensation on behalf of children. For example, we have handled compensation claims for injuries arising at day care centres and for injuries caused by medical providers in hospital.


Different time limits on making compensation claims

If a minor child suffers injury, the time limit to make a compensation claim is different than for adults. For example, an injured minor child can bring a claim within 3 years after they turn 18.  (However, the law surrounding limitation periods is complex. Please contact us for detailed legal advice as our website is only intended to provide general guidance.)


Don’t settle unless and until the full effect of the injuries are known

When children get injured, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is probably not going to be obvious for a while just how the injuries may affect them in the long run. The reality is that as children grow, it may be that the impacts of the injury completely resolve. Alternatively, it can become clear that there will be some lasting impacts.


For example, do the injuries prevent your child from engaging in sporting activities? Are there particular careers they can’t now pursue?


Unless the injuries are very mild, it is critically important to obtain a report from a specialist (or multiple specialists) about how the injuries may impact your child as they grow up. Once this report is available, it is then possible to properly assess what is the amount of money that fairly compensates for the injuries (to the extent that money can compensate for this).

Free book offer: what to expect in your injury claim

Many firms try to rush you to sign up with them without carefully considering your options. We encourage you to first learn about your personal injury claim. You should ask yourself:

  • How do you calculate your compensation amount?
  • How should you choose your lawyer? Do you just choose by firm name regardless of who is really in charge of your matter? Has your lawyer ever argued a case in court?
  • What is a no win – no fee agreement? How much will it cost?

Our book is available to you free of charge. You don’t have to be a client to receive this book. Head to the order page and we will be happy to send you a copy straight away.

Oszkar Denes Seven Deadly Sins that can wreck your personal injury claim

25% Cap on legal costs

In all of our personal injury compensation matters, we act on a  No Win – No Fee basis. What that means is, there’s no upfront cost to you.


In Queensland, most compensation firms will charge you 50% of your compensation amount – the maximum allowed at law. This is very expensive. Our fee is different. We will cap our fee at 25% . Remember also, these are the maximum fees we will charge. If our fee in your claim is less, then we charge the lesser amount.


Before you engage us, we will provide you a written Disclosure Notice and a Client Service Agreement. These documents set out in detail the service we provide, as well as our fees and outlays. Before you sign anything, you can take these documents home with you, and study them with your family. You can take as long as you need, there is never any pressure from us. If anything in these documents doesn’t make sense to you, we can discuss it with you and you are free to ask another lawyer to give you advice.  And remember, no win – no fee agreements come with a 5 day cooling off period for extra peace of mind.