Can I make a work injury claim on behalf of someone else?Updated: March 26, 2020
When someone is injured at work it may be possible to make a compensation claim. But what happens if the injured person is unable to handle the claim process themselves?
If the injured person (the 'claimant') is unable to handle the claim process, they can ask a friend, colleague or family member to act for them in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
A litigation friend will make decisions on the claimant's behalf and correspond with the solicitor during the claim process.
Claiming for a minor
A minor (a person under 18 years old), cannot take a claim to court. Instead, the claim can be made by a parent or guardian, acting as the minor's litigation friend.
The litigation friend will act in the claimant's best interests to ensure that all the circumstances surrounding the injury are communicated to the solicitor.
For example, the claimant was injured whilst operating warehouse equipment, as well as understanding the injuries sustained, it would be necessary to establish:
- What happened and who was involved
- If there a fault with the equipment
- If you received adequate training
- Whether a risk assessment been carried out
- Whether suitable PPE had been provided
- Whether you were made fully aware of the risks
In most personal injury cases, a claim must be started within three years of the date of your accident. If the claimant was under 18 when the injury occurred, a claim can be made up to their 21st birthday.
Claiming for an incapacitated person
The injuries sustained in a workplace accident may be so severe that they prevent the claimant from making a claim themselves. The claimant may, for example, have pre-existing health issues that affect their ability to handle the claim process.
In such cases, a litigation friend may be appointed to make the claim on the claimant's behalf. In such cases, the claimant would be categorised as a 'protected party'.
The court can appoint a suitable person to be a litigation friend, for example:
- A parent or guardian, a family member or friend
- A solicitor or professional advocate, e.g. an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
- A Court of Protection deputy - if you are unable to make your own decisions (for instance if you have sustained a brain injury through falling from a height at work)
- Someone who has a lasting or enduring power of attorney
The court will check the suitability of the litigation friend to ensure their interests do not conflict with the claimant's and that they can make fair and competent decisions.
Where there is no obvious or suitable litigation friend, the court may appoint someone to act on the claimant's behalf.
The litigation friend will then be responsible for making decisions regarding the claim. However, the court will need to approve any settlement agreed on behalf of a protected party, or child, in an informal hearing.
Claiming for a fatality
If the workplace accident or illness resulted in a fatality, a claim may be brought by the claimant's next of kin acting as a litigation friend. This would usually be a parent, spouse, civil partner or child.
If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Find out more about making a work accident claim:
- Do you qualify?
- How much compensation could you get?
- How does No Win, No Fee work?