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Personal Injury Cases and Child Injuries

Personal Injury Cases Involving Children

Personal injury cases involving adults are common. But what about children? Anyone that is below the age of 18, in most states, is considered a minor. There are laws which protect minors who are injured from someone else’s negligence. On the contrary, there are laws that hold minors accountable who have injured another party due to their carelessness.

Minors are also young and may not have well-formed judgement yet. Therefore, compensation and culpability are often settled with an adjuster who is not related to the plaintiff and defendant’s insurance companies. This is to ensure a fair and secure settlement on behalf of the minor.

Injuries to Children

A minor who has suffered an injury due to the negligence of the defendant can file a personal injury claim separate from an adult. Minors are entitled to their own settlement process, including compensation for:

  • medical expenses and payments
  • pain and suffering
  • permanent injury
  • emotional distress
  • long-term and short-term disability

With that said, children are unable to negotiate their own settlement. They need a parent/guardian to negotiate on their behalf with the defendant’s insurance. The parent or guardian may also hire an attorney for legal guidance on this matter. A WEIERLAW Personal Injury Attorney is aware of the extra steps necessary to settle a child’s claim and are available to explain the process in depth.

When a case settles, the money is held in a trust fund account until the minor is 18 years old. In Washington State, a judge is required to approve the settlement and determine where the funds will be deposited. Proper approval of the case is important for the security of the minor’s financial recovery.

Statue of Limitations for Minors

Statute of limitations are different for minors than for adults. Minors have 3 years after they turn 18 to settle a lawsuit, where adults only have 3 years to settle after the injury occurred. There have been exceptions, depending on the personal injury case, where the statute varies for the minor. Overall, we recommend filing a lawsuit immediately to ensure the evidence, medical bills and insurance payments, and important documents are recorded in a timely manner. If you wait too long, the defendant can be difficult to find and serve, which will hinder the minor’s settlement.

Accidents Caused by Children

Minors who have caused an accident because of their lack of carefulness are often not held to the exact legal standards as adult personal injury cases. There are different laws for the varying age groups due to their development.

If the child was 7 years old or under, then they are often considered too young to understand the gravity of the situation, their surroundings, knowledge of hazards, and do not have the same comprehension as adults.

Liability is also determined by measuring the minor’s actions to the other children at the minor’s age. If the behavior is inappropriate for the age range, then the minor can be subject to legal consequences. The guardian or parents are also responsible when children cause accidents negligently. They have a responsibility to ensure their children are following rules and not harming others.

Parents and Guardians Liability for a Minors’ Car Accident

When a minor has caused a motor vehicle accident, they are subject to the same legal liability as adults. The insurance policy of the parents or guardian typically will cover the damages. If the minor is not on the policy, then the injured party may seek compensation from the parents or guardian for medical, financial, and emotional damages. Accidents separate from motor vehicle collisions are typically covered with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Minors Without Insurance

Depending on the severity of the case, minors can be sued directly with a personal injury lawsuit if they do not have insurance. This is not as common due to its inconvenience and lengthy process. Should the parent receive a legal judgement from a court in their favor, then the defendant will have to pay the amount owed when they turned 18 and are able to work.  However, most people only directly sue the minor if there was significant harm to the injured party.

Settlements and Minors

Minors typically do not wealthy savings. What does that mean if your child was found guilty of causing an accident? Most insurance companies extend their policies to children. If the minor was driving a vehicle, the car accident should be covered by the parent’s or guardian’s auto policy. Accidents separate from motor vehicle collisions are typically covered with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Depending on the severity of the case, minors can be sued directly with a personal injury lawsuit if they do not have insurance. This is not as common due to its inconvenience and lengthy process. Should the parent receive a legal judgement from a court in their favor, then the defendant will have to pay the amount owed when they turned 18 and are able to work.  However, most people only sue the minor if there was major and significant harm to the injured party. This will require a Personal Injury Attorney that knows the laws for minors and personal injury

 

Please email or call WEIERLAW for a free consultation to discover your options regarding an accident caused by a minor, or a minor who has been wrongfully injured. We are here for you and available if you have further questions. 

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