Minors and Personal Injury Lawsuits: Who Can File a Claim?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury law can be complicated. When it involves a minor, it can be even more complex. The question that many parents have is whether they can file a lawsuit on behalf of their children. As with many laws that regard minors, all lawsuits have to be in the best interest of the child. If your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, he or she may have a case. Here is what you need to know about lawsuits and minors.

Most Common Childhood injuries

Many children are accident-prone. Sometimes, these injuries won’t be due to the fault of anyone. Children are not held responsible in the same way that adults are. Children under seven, for instance, in some states, are incapable of negligence. In these states, children who are under 14 may still be considered incapable of negligence. The difference is that the law can dispute these cases for any child over seven.

If a child is injured on someone’s property and that person did not take reasonable steps for the child to avoid injury, then that person may be responsible. Common causes of childhood injuries include:

  • Dog bites
  • Birth injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Drowning accidents
  • Defective product injuries

These injuries can become catastrophic. If you have extensive medical bills for your child, you may have a personal injury claim.

Parties Who Can File Lawsuits

In some cases, parents and children both have a claim. This can happen if you have expenses of your own or have some infliction of emotional distress. In most cases, however, only the child has a right to file a claim. Children, however, cannot file a claim on their own behalf. There are protections, however, to keep parents or guardians from using the money for their purposes. Children can wait until they are adults to file a lawsuit. In some instances, if a parent or guardian files the lawsuit on behalf of the child, the child will have to wait until he or she is 18 before using the money.

In some cases, the court will appoint an impartial person to act as the child’s representative. This person is called the guardian ad litem.

Lawsuits involving children can be complex. If you have a child who was injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a case. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, like from David & Philpot P.L., to find out your options for a lawsuit.