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Injured as a child

Hi, great show- regular listener. Question. if a person sustains an serious injury as an infant, which was caused by a parent who did not fulfil their duty of care, are there grounds for the victim to claim for losses. Losses include inability to work and damages include severe depression. Thanks for your help.

It depends on what age this listener is now.  The law states that a person has two years to file a claim after they reach their majority (eighteen years old) so if this listener is over twenty the Statute of Limitations would, in normal course, bar their claim for personal injury compensation.  This very same legal problem was faced by victims of institutional abuse and a number of cases were lost by claimants in the courts.  This is why the Redress Board was established.

There are some exceptions to the Statute of Limitations called “disabilities” which relate to the power of the court to extend time but these are granted only in exceptional circumstances.

How a person sustains the injury is also relevant.  If, for example, the parent was driving and the child was injured, then the parent would be responsible if it was the parent’s fault in driving.  But in the course of normal parenthood (for example wasn’t holding the child’s hand while he or she was walking along the top of a wall and the child fell) that may not be grounds for a legal action, apart altogether from the Statute of Limitations.

You should really speak to a solicitor who specialises in personal injury law and many will give a first consultation free.  That way you can discuss the actual detail of your accident and see if legal liability can be established and if so does the statute of limitations get in your way?

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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