In a court of law, an injured child may be eligible to receive damages for his or her injury in much the same way as an adult. The primary differences between a personal injury case for a child and a personal injury case for an adult are found in the filing processes and in the methods of dividing the settlement. While adults can file injury cases for themselves, a minor child’s case must be filed on his or her behalf by a parent or legal guardian. An adult would be the only recipient of his or her settlement, but in a child’s case, that money may either go to the parents or go into a trust.
Unlike the statute of limitations in personal injury cases involving adults, which are set two years after the accident, the statute of limitations for a child’s case is two years after they have turned 18. Because of this, families have the option to wait until the child has grown before they seek damages.
A child is usually defined as anyone under 18 years old. While someone under 18 almost always cannot file for themselves, in most states an emancipated minor can file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf.
During the trial, the plaintiff will have to prove more likely than not, that: the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant did not comply with that duty, and the plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the defendant’s actions or inaction
How the Damages in a Child’s Personal Injury Case Are Distributed
One major difference between a child’s and an adult’s personal injury case is in the varied ways a judge can divide the settlement. In a child’s personal injury case, if the plaintiffs are awarded their settlement, a judge can decide whether to give it to the child’s parents or to place it in a trust to be held until the child reaches 18. Regardless, there are many ways the parent and the child can accrue the damages that make up the settlement.
Damages for the Injured Minor Child
In a child’s personal injury case, the plaintiff wishes to be compensated for all the money and pain the injury caused the child. Compensation for your child’s injuries could include:
- The cost of medical care not covered by insurance
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of emotional counsel
- Lost future wages
Compensation for Parents in a Child’s Personal Injury Case
In a child’s personal injury case much of the expenses in preparing the case and handling the child come directly from the parents. They can also seek compensation for lost wages from missing work to be with the child, the child’s medical bills, and other expenses decided by the court.
In many ways, a child’s personal injury case is like an adult’s. Both have the same burden of proof and the same prongs to prove. The primary difference is that a minor child cannot file on his or her own behalf, and a child’s settlement may go into a trust or to his or her parents.