My daughter’s helmet saved her life in an accident a year ago, but her skull was fractured and she had a bleed on the brain. She is back home now but can’t fully look after herself, so my wife and I spend a lot of time caring for her at her house. The police believe the car driver involved was to blame for the accident, but so far we have been more concerned about helping our daughter recover, rather than making a claim for compensation.
She certainly can’t work at the moment and we would like some guidance on claiming for her as she won’t be able to fully comprehend the legal and compensation system at the moment.
Answered by Andrew Campbell, Solicitor and author of the MCN Law column.
It sounds like your daughter is (at least for the time being) what the legal profession calls a “protected person”. This is a person who lacks the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, in this case as a result of brain injury.
Being a protected person does not prevent her from pursuing a claim but she will need a “litigation friend” to make legal decisions on her behalf. This should be someone that can be trusted and relied upon to always act in her best interests such as you or her mother.
The first port of call is to instruct a solicitor to obtain the police documentation relating to the incident. This will give her solicitor an excellent idea of the prospects of a successful claim.
In cases of mental incapacity the usual three-year time limit for bringing the claim to court does not apply. Time only starts to run when capacity is regained.
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