Personal Injury

Claiming Compensation for Child Abuse

If you have suffered physical or sexual abuse as a child it is possible to claim compensation if the local authority failed to protect you from your abuser/s.

Although compensation can never replace the childhood that was stolen from you, it can help you rebuild your life and fund therapy to help you overcome your ordeal.

What are the first steps I need to take to claim compensation?

If you suffered sexual abuse and want to claim compensation, you need to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor who can help you build a case.  They will collate the necessary evidence of the abuse by talking to witnesses and accessing any relevant records.  

How do I prove a local authority, organisation or another person was negligent?

To prove that a third party was negligent in failing to protect you from physical, emotional or sexual abuse, you need to show:

  1. The person or organisation owed you a duty of care;
  2. This duty was breached; and
  3. The breach of duty caused you damage

For example, if you were abused whilst you were in a local authority run care facility, then you may have a claim against the local authority who failed in their duty to protect you from harm.  Another example would be if social workers did not remove you from an abusive home environment when they were aware of the danger you were in.

Is there a time limit on bringing a claim?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, all personal injury claims must be brought within three years, and this includes claims for sexual, physical and emotional abuse.  If a person is under the age of 18 at the time of the relevant event, then the time limits start to run from their 18th birthday.  However, it is well recognised by the courts that the emotional impact of abuse often means victims are too afraid to speak out and it is many years before they have the courage and support required to face those who failed to protect them.

If a case is brought ‘out of time’, the court will examine the facts of the case and evaluate;

  1. The effect of allowing the case to be heard on both the claimant and defendant; and 
  2. Whether or not a fair trial can be conducted, given the amount of time that has expired

What if I cannot afford a solicitor?

Many personal injury lawyers offer a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement.  This means they shoulder all the risk and expense of bringing a claim against your abuser or the organisation/person who failed to protect you.  If you lose your case, then you will not have to pay your solicitor.  If you win, you would normally pay your legal fees plus a success fee out of the compensation you receive.  Success fees are capped at 25% of the damages received but can be up to 100% of this figure.

Before you agree to a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement, you must ensure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to and how much you will pay in the event that you win your case.  

It is also prudent to take out After The Event (ATE) insurance which will provide cover if you lose the case and are ordered by the court to pay the other side’s costs.

In summary

Claiming compensation for child abuse is a brave step to take.  At Solicitors Guru we have selected the most experienced personal injury solicitors in your area who can support and advise you throughout the claims procedure.

To find the best solicitor for you, please start your search through our website today.

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