Personal Injury Awards for Minors
When people are injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s recklessness or neglect, they have the right to seek financial compensation for resulting damages. However, when a minor is injured, things are a little more complex.
Minors, or those under the age of 18, are not legally able to file a claim, negotiate a settlement, or enter into a contract, so an adult needs to act on their behalf. Personal injury attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help clients from Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas negotiate personal injury awards for minors.
Who Can File a Claim for a Minor?
Since a minor cannot legally enter into a contract, they are unable to file a personal injury claim or accept a personal injury settlement. Instead, an adult needs to file a claim on their behalf. Individuals who can file a claim (or accept a settlement) on behalf of a minor include a parent, a legal guardian, or a guardian ad litem (a person appointed by the court to look out for the child’s best interest). When an adult files a claim for a minor, the court may need to approve any settlement offer that is accepted on the minor’s behalf.
How To File a Personal Injury Claim for a Minor
To file a claim on behalf of a minor, the acting guardian must file the claim with the court in the county where the minor lives. The claim must include:
- The minor’s age, sex, and date of birth
- The name of the petitioner and their relationship to the minor
- A description of the claim, including details of the accident and the minor’s injuries
It is a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney prior to filing a claim for a minor. A knowledgeable attorney can assist in the filing process, and is essential to gathering the evidence needed to build a strong case so that the minor collects the full extent of the damages they are due.
What Types of Damages Are Due?
Minors typically do not bear the burden of financial damages related to a personal injury, but they still have the right to pursue financial compensation for these losses. In addition, minors can seek awards for the physical and emotional damages caused by an injury. Common damages in a personal injury lawsuit involving a minor includes:
- Medical expenses
- The cost of any hospitalization or surgery
- Prescription medication costs
- Rehabilitation and/or physical therapy costs
- Loss of wage earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
What Happens to a Minor’s Personal Injury Awards?
When a personal injury settlement is reached, or when the court awards financial compensation to a minor, the amount of the settlement is typically split up into two parts. Any money that is awarded for medical and rehabilitation costs will be issued to the parent or guardian who is responsible for those expenses. The rest of the money is set aside for the injured minor. That portion of money should be placed in a trust, which will be made available to the child once they turn 18 years old.
Contact Our Practice
If your child has been injured in an accident caused by another person or party, you can act on their behalf to seek financial compensation for resulting damages. To learn more about your legal options, contact our practice online at your earliest convenience, or call our Daytona Beach office at (386) 258-7313 to schedule a consultation.