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Can I File a Lawsuit on My Child's Behalf?


Your child might come home with scrapes and bruises every now and then, but some injuries inspire deeper concern. These kinds of injuries may also lead to personal injury lawsuits. Although your child cannot file a personal injury claim for themselves, you may be able to file one on their behalf – if, of course, your child sustains an injury due to someone else’s negligence or intentional acts.

Why Can’t Minors File Lawsuits?

Many times, minors do not have the capacity to enter into contracts, hire an attorney, or sign court documents. For this reason, they cannot file lawsuits on their own. Nevertheless, parents and guardians can step in to help their minor children file lawsuits, and courts can sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem to help protect a child’s best interest during legal matters.

How Do Cases Involving Children Work?

Personal injury cases involving children work similarly to those involving adults. Minor children are entitled to the same damages as adults, and the cases deal with the same issues of negligence and liability.

Still, the law recognizes that children will not be paying their own medical bills. As such, parents have a special right to be compensated for medical bills paid on their child’s behalf. Otherwise, children can still be compensated for their pain and suffering, and legal professionals can still estimate how an injury will affect a child’s future life and income.

In some cases, the court deposits damages into a special account that becomes available when the minor turns 18, and in others, the court allows the parents to manage damages on their child’s behalf.

What if My Child Wants to Wait?

Adults who sustain injuries as children can file their own personal injury lawsuits when they turn 18, as long as their parents have not filed on their behalf. While injured teenagers may prefer to handle matters themselves, many parents wish to shield their children from harsh legal realities.

Further, injuries to children affect entire families. In many cases, parents need the resources a successful case brings in order to care for their children and account for their post-accident needs.

Additionally, filing a claim closer to the date of the accident leads to a stronger case, as attorneys can usually find more evidence and speak to more witnesses before time passes.

That being said, the statute of limitations – or filing deadline – does not begin “tolling” until a child turns 18, so people who are injured as minors will not have their claims expire if they choose to wait.

If a pre-teen with an amputated leg wishes to file a lawsuit when they turn 18, they may do so, even if their parents did not pursue legal action within the standard statute of limitation.

Get Started Today

At the Law Office of James M. Stanley, we believe taking legal action sooner rather than later is in your child’s best interest. Our firm has been handling child injury cases since 1976, and we are ready to help your family recover.

Whether your child suffers an injury on the playground or in a car accident, call us at (817) 591-4222 or contact us online to discuss your legal options – we answer our phone 24/7 and provide consultations, free of charge.

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