Is car accident compensation available when a child is at fault?

Published 08 Oct 2018

Up to a certain age, children do not receive the same sentences or punishments as adults do for illegal activities. But what happens if a child causes a motor vehicle accident? Will they still be able to get accident compensation? What if they are only partially to blame?

The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 includes special provisions relating to accidents involving children.

What if a child is at fault?

Section 7 of the Act defines a child as someone who is under 16. A motor vehicle crash caused by a child is considered a blameless accident under the Act, as long as the child was under 16, the incident happened on or after 1 October 2006 and the child lived in New South Wales at the time.

Claims for benefits or compensation may still be made for children even if they caused the motor vehicle accident. The Act allows children to receive damages if the driver was not at fault and death or injury occurs from the crash. Damages that children may receive in relation to an injury can include hospital, rehabilitation, pharmacy, respite care or even funeral expenses if the child died in the accident.

What if the driver and the child are both at fault?

If both parties are at fault, the child would still be able to receive damages. Even if the child showed contributory negligence in his or her conduct, in addition to the driver's own negligence, the possible damages would still not be reduced under the Act.

Are there exceptions?

The exception to the provision allowing a child to receive compensation for an accident they caused is if their conduct is deemed a serious offence on the balance of probabilities by the court. This means that the child's conduct contributed materially to the injury or death, or to the risk of injury or death, and is an offence punishable by a minimum of six months in prison. If this is the case, damages would not be awarded.

If you believe your child is eligible to receive car accident compensation under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, get in touch with our team of lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. We can provide free in-person or over-the-phone consultations and we can guide you through the claim process. Don't think that just because a child is at fault that they are not eligible to receive damages.