Whichever party is defined as the landlord will normally be accountable for the proper maintenance of communal areas at residential developments. Shared areas in blocks of flats include car parks, gardens, paths, entrance halls, staircases and lifts. The landlord must make sure that these areas are kept free from hazards as far as reasonably possible. Some examples of possible dangers in communal areas include cracked paving stones, broken railings, worn carpeting, poor lighting and missing bannisters. The landlord will be responsible for fixing defects of this kind before they can pose a danger to children resident at the property, and if a child is injured because of their landlord’s failure to do so, the latter may be held legally liable.
Landlords must also make sure that electrical wiring and appliances such as heaters in communal areas are regularly checked, properly maintained and in good working order. The cleaning of common areas in blocks of flats and similar residential developments may be handled by a private contractor, and in certain cases the cleaning company may be liable for accidents involving children if, for example, a child slipped on a recently cleaned floor that had not been dried properly or tripped over a trailing electrical cable.
If your child has been injured due to housing disrepair at a rented property it will often be possible to claim compensation from the landlord. We have solicitors specialising in housing disrepair and the various accidents it can cause. Contact us today for free and reliable legal advice.
Mr and Mrs J agreed to rent a property for themselves and their two young children, but were unable to move in for longer than expected while a housing contractor carried out essential repair work on the property’s roof and guttering. When they did finally move in they found that building materials, including scaffolding poles and planks, had been left in the grounds by the contractor. Over the next few weeks they asked their landlord repeatedly for the building materials to be removed from the property, due to the obvious risk they posed to the couple’s young children, yet no action was taken. One evening their children were playing in the garden when one of them tripped over a scaffolding plank, banging and cutting his head on a stack of metal poles. He was knocked unconscious in the accident, and despite making a full recovery, sustained a deep cut that is likely to leave a permanent scar on his forehead.
Mr and Mrs J got in touch with our firm for advice, and subsequently decided to proceed with a no win no fee compensation claim against their landlord (minors must be represented by adults in order to make a claim). The central point we made to the landlord and their insurance company was that when tenants move into rented accommodation they have the legal right to expect that the landlord will have left the property in a reasonably safe state. In this instance, the discarded building materials in the grounds of the property represented a clear hazard, particularly given the presence of two young children. Had the landlord taken action when informed about the issue, instead of ignoring it, the accident could also have been prevented. We were able to secure an admission of liability before the matter reached the court stage, and a compensation settlement of £4,500 was agreed.
Children’s claims differ from those of adults in two main ways:
Firstly, they require an adult (this will usually be a parent) to act on their behalf. In the eyes of the law anyone below the age of 18 is a minor and must be represented by an adult who has close contact with the child. The adult must act in the child’s best interests at all times.
Secondly, the child has three years from their 18th birthday to bring a claim, not three years from the date of the accident, which is the case with an adult’s personal injury claim. For example, if a child aged five was involved in an accident at home, that child would have until their 21st birthday to pursue a personal injury claim.
As solicitors, we must proceed with caution when dealing with a child’s case to ensure that they are fully compensated for their injury. A child’s claim cannot be settled until the child has fully recovered from their injury. If the child has sustained a permanent injury then a final medical report must be obtained confirming this prior to settlement of the claim.
Once settlement has been agreed between the parties, a short hearing must take place at court for a judge to approve the settlement. Again, this is to ensure that the child is being fully compensated for their injury. This hearing is known as an “infant approval hearing” and usually lasts for no longer than 10-15 minutes. The injured child must attend the hearing along with their adult representative.
Following approval by the court, the child’s compensation will be placed in a high interest account and released to the child on their 18th birthday. If the child needs their compensation prior to their 18th birthday, whether in whole or in part, then an application must be made to the court. The court will usually only grant such a request if the money is needed for educational or employment purposes, e.g. to purchase a computer, college/study materials or maybe even driving lessons. This request can be made at the infant approval hearing or any date prior to the child’s 18th birthday.
Claiming with us is easy. Get a free no obligation initial consultation about your case, your rights, and our no win no fee agreement. All information can be taken over the phone. Medical treatment is local to you. We aim to keep the claims process short by keeping claims out of court. If your claim does need to go to court it is unlikely that you will need to attend court, as cases settle before the final hearing.
Compensation will pay for private healthcare treatment. It will also cover:
Expenses (such as the cost of travel to hospital appointments)
Loss of income
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and the likelihood that you’ll make a full recovery. We’ll seek expert opinions on what care you’ll need to ensure that the compensation we claim will be sufficient.