3 Things To Know About Minors And Personal Injury Cases
While children can often bounce back quicker after injuries than adults, it can be hard to know the extent of a child's long-term injuries after an accident occurs. If your child was injured in an accident, you may wonder what to do about the compensation. You can file a personal injury case against the responsible party, but these cases are different when children are the victims. Here are three things you should know about this.
A Guardian Ad Litem Is Appointed
Children under the age of 18 cannot file personal injury cases themselves, but their parents can on their behalf. In order to do this, someone must be appointed to represent the child, and this is usually a parent. This person is referred to as the guardian ad litem, and he or she is given the authority to make decisions for the child.
In some states, parents can ask the court to be the guardian ad litem. Other states, however, allow the court to choose a person to serve in this role. The point of a guardian ad litem is to have someone fighting for the rights of the child. If you are the parent, you will most likely obtain this role, and this will allow you to work with an attorney to represent your child.
The Statutes Of Limitations Might Be Longer
Because it is hard to know exactly how severe a child's injuries may be, and because the victim is a child, the courts typically extend the statutes of limitations period for minor cases. Some states may extend this period by a couple years, but others allow the period to last until the child is 18 years old.
Once you have been appointed as the guardian ad litem, you can begin discussing all the details of the case with a lawyer. The lawyer will help you understand how long you have to file a case against the at-fault party, and the lawyer will also help you understand what types of compensation you can seek for the case.
The Settlement May Be Placed In Locked Account
When the negotiations are final and the compensation amount is reached, there are several things that can happen. The first is that part of the money must be taken out to pay the lawyer. A personal injury lawyer typically works on commission, and he or she will take the necessary portion after the defendant pays the claim.
The next thing removed from the settlement is medical bills. If your child was injured, it is likely that there will be thousands of dollars of medical bills. Since you are the parent, you will be responsible to pay these bills. If you are waiting for the settlement amount to pay them, you can have money deducted from it to pay off these debts. The clinics you owe money to may have placed liens on the settlement amount, which means they will automatically be paid when the case settles.
The rest of the money can either be turned over to you as the parent, or it may be placed in a locked account. The purpose of a locked account is to protect the money for the child. The settlement money is designed to compensate the child for the injuries incurred, and many courts like to protect the money by placing it in an account that cannot be accessed until the child reaches a certain age, such as 18. You may be able to negotiate these issues, and you can talk to your attorney about this.
After your child is injured in a case, you have the right to seek compensation for the child. If you would like to learn more about your rights and the rights of your injured child, contact a personal injury attorney through resources like http://www.danielgoodmanlaw.com.