Skip to main content

June 23, 2024

Can A Minor File A Personal Injury Claim?

Back To Blog

Posted in Personal injury

Can A Minor File A Personal Injury Claim?

In general, a minor child cannot file a personal injury claim on their own according to a personal injury lawyer who works with injury claims on a daily basis. A minor child is a child that is under the age of 18.  Minor children CAN file a personal injury claim, but they usually cannot do it by themselves/on their own behalf.  As such, the child’s parent or legal guardian will have to file the claim on the minor child’s behalf.  Here is how this generally works according to our friends at Kiefer & Kiefer:

1. Parent Or Legal Guardian Representation.

A parent or legal guardian of the minor child will file the personal injury claim on behalf of the minor child.  This person then acts as the legal representative throughout the entire process, including negotiations, settlement discussions, and any court proceedings.

By default, a parent is usually considered to be the natural guardian of their minor child.  However, this is not the case if the parent’s parental rights have been terminated or restricted by a court.  The parent needs to be the child’s biological or adoptive parent; otherwise, it needs to be the minor child’s legal guardian.

If both parents are unable or unwilling to serve as guardian for their minor child, a legal guardian must be appointed by the court.  A legal guardian for a minor child can be a relative (such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or adult sibling).  A non-relative caregiver can also be appointed as guardian.  This happens when no suitable relatives are available to serve as guardian. A non-relative caregiver can be a family friend, foster parent, or trusted adult appointed by the court.  In some situations, a professional guardian or a guardian ad litem will be appointed by the court – this usually happens if the child has significant assets or has complex needs requiring specialized care.  In emergency situations, or if the parents are temporarily absent or incapacitated, the court may appoint a temporary guardian to provide care and make decisions for the child until the parents are able to do so.

2. Court Approval For Settlements.

If there is a settlement reached regarding the minor child’s personal injury claim, the settlement often must be approved by a court.  This way, the court ensures that the settlement is both fair and in the best interest of the minor child. The court may require supporting documentation and evidence for the settlement, and the settlement proceeds may be placed in the registry of the court, a trust account, or other designated account for the benefit of the child.

3. Statute Of Limitations.

Some jurisdictions have different rules regarding the statute of limitations in cases involving minors, so it is very important to be aware of the laws surrounding the statute of limitations for your area and the type of injury suffered.  For example, some jurisdictions extend the time limit of the statute of limitation until the child reaches the age of majority.

4. Legal Representation.

For claims involving a minor child, it is best if the parent or legal guardian representing the child it is best to seek legal counsel from a personal injury attorney experienced in handling cases involving minors. The attorney will represent the child’s best interests and ensure that all legal requirements that are unique in the representation of minor children are met throughout the process.

Overall, while minors can file personal injury claims, they typically do so through a parent or legal guardian who acts on their behalf. The legal process may involve additional considerations to protect the rights and interests of the child. If your child has a claim, contact a lawyer near you for help.

Dedicated To Getting You Results

Contact Us For A Free Consultation