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What You Need to Know About Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Minor

One of your children recently suffered injuries in a serious accident, and now you’re wondering if you can recover compensation on their behalf. The truth is that you can take action legally, but you also need to know what that process entails. When filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages for the child. These can include compensation for medical care and future treatment, permanent scarring and disfigurement, emotional and psychological trauma, loss of potential future income, and loss of quality of life. As a parent, you have the right to file a personal injury claim on behalf of your minor child if they have been injured due to the negligence of another party. In California, minors are not legally able to sign or enter into legal agreements, so an adult, such as a parent or guardian, must represent the minor in any legal proceedings. If you are a parent and your child has been injured in an accident, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options and determine the best course of action. A skilled attorney can help you understand the legal process, negotiate with insurance providers, and fight for the compensation your child deserves. Our San Diego personal injury attorneys want to explain some of the issues surrounding the matter and explain how you can navigate everything:


Common Causes of Injuries to Minor Children
Injuries and accidents involving minor children can happen for various reasons. Many situations can give cause for you to file a personal injury claim, and they include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (cars, motorcycles, buses, etc.)
  • Dog attacks
  • Medical malpractice
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Defective product injuries
  • Playground accidents

Though you can’t control other people’s actions, you may be able to hold them accountable for their negligence when you take the proper legal measures.


Can a Parent File a Personal Injury Claim?
The answer is yes, and it’s because California doesn’t recognize minors as capable of signing or entering into legal agreements. In other words, anyone under 18 years old can’t negotiate settlements independently and defend themselves from adults in court.

If the personal injury claim involves a minor, the courts will appoint an adult to represent the child (also known as “Guardian Ad Litem”). This person will act in the minor’s best interest, and they’re usually a parent or adult relative. They’ll also speak for the minor in court.


Compromise Hearing
As a parent, you can help arrange a settlement and prevent the case from going to court. However, you have to attend a compromise hearing to settle with insurance providers. This is when the courts approve any settlements made on behalf of injured minors.

Beforehand, you must also file a settlement agreement with the courts to approve the compromise. Because the law doesn’t allow minors to sign legal agreements, you’ll have to accept the terms on their behalf.


Are There Deadlines?
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a personal injury claim. Like most other states, California stipulates that you have two years from the accident to take action. However, the rules are a little different for minor children.

Minor children will have until the age of 18 to file a personal injury claim. Because they can’t enter a legal agreement, an adult will need to make the decision and initiate negotiations.

Depending on the nature of the claim, the state may grant you more time to submit the filing. This includes cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, and accidents involving government entities.


What Types of Damages Are Available?
You can recover economic and non-economic damages on behalf of an injured minor when filing a claim. The child might be entitled to receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical care and future treatment
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Loss of potential future income
  • Loss of quality of life

Parents who have to make accommodations for their injured children can also seek compensation. Taking time away from work to care for your injured child means losing income.


Meet With a Personal Injury Attorney

Here at HHJ Trial Attorneys in San Diego, we can provide you with excellent legal representation. We ensure that all Californians can recover the full compensation for their injuries. Contact us today and set up a consultation with our legal team to learn how we might approach your case.


Testimonial from AJ, Personal Injury Client in San Diego
Elliott was a tremendous help during a situation of mine. He was very quick to communicate with, very honest and ethical. What made the difference for me was that he was able to comfort me even in a bad situation and for that, his service is invaluable. He and his group won’t hesitate to do everything they can for you and speaking to them right away, you know money isn’t their objective, but helping and protecting you is. Elliott and HHJ will always be my go-to for any legal matters of mine. It’s so hard to find lawyers you can trust and you feel will have your back, but these guys are the one.

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