When a child is injured, a parent’s first concern is the child’s wellbeing and health. However, if the child was injured because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, the child may have a personal injury claim. California child injury lawsuits are different from other types of personal injury lawsuits. In this blog, our California personal injury attorney discusses three important things parents need to know about child injury lawsuits in California.
1. Children Cannot File a Lawsuit on Their Behalf
A child does not have the legal standing to file a personal injury lawsuit until the child reaches 18 years of age. A parent or legal guardian must file the personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the child.
2. The Deadline for Filing Child Injury Lawsuits May Be Different from Other Personal Injury Lawsuit Deadlines
In most personal injury cases, the victim has two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most medical malpractice cases, the victim has one year from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If the case involves a government entity, a claim must be filed within six months to protect the victim’s right to file a lawsuit.
If the victim is a minor, the deadline to file a lawsuit for most personal injury claims is tolled or paused until the child reaches 18 years of age. The tolling of the statute of limitations is meant to give the child time to file a lawsuit once the child is an adult, if the child’s parents did not file a lawsuit on behalf of the child when he or she was a minor.
However, medical malpractice claims and some other personal injury claims have different rules for tolling the statute of limitations. Parents should consult a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss child injury lawsuits to avoid losing the right to file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice or other injuries to a child.
3. Settlements for Child Injury Cases Are Handled Differently from Settlements in Other Cases
If a child injury claim is settled, the court must approve the settlement. A Minors Compromise action is filed with the court to gain court approval to ensure that the settlement is in the best interest of the minor. If the settlement is approved, the court typically orders that the money is held in trust until the child reaches 18 years of age. The court usually allows parents or legal guardians to manage the funds if a settlement is approved for $5,000 or less, thereby avoiding a Minors Compromise action.
Contact a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information
If your child has been injured, we strongly recommend that you contact our office to discuss child injury lawsuits with an attorney. Different rules apply to cases involving minors. A mistake could result in your child losing his or her right to recover compensation for injuries and damages caused by another party.
Call The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our California child injury attorneys.