Can juveniles under the age of 18 years old bring about a personal injury claim against a party who has caused them injuries and damages? That is the question many families want to know here in the Hoosier state and all across the nation. Continue reading to learn the facts about injured minors and personal injury lawsuits, including who to talk to in Central Indiana for expert advice and legal counsel regarding your child’s recent accident.
Minors Do Not Have Legal Standing
As an example, imagine that 17-year-old Gregory gets a ride home from school with his friend’s dad. On the way home, his friend’s dad runs a red light and causes a serious car accident that injures Gregory severely. Can Gregory, as a minor, bring about a personal injury lawsuit against his friend’s dad for reckless driving? The answer is, under certain circumstances.
Although minors are just as susceptible to being wrongfully injured in an accident as adults are, they cannot bring about a personal injury claim on their own behalf because they do not have legal standing, even if they are being represented by a competent accident attorney. The exception to this rule would be emancipated minors.
Legal standing refers to intellectual and emotional capacity to sue. The law believes that children under the age of 18 years old do not have such capacity to bring about a lawsuit, regardless of maturity or intelligence. However, there are ways around this in a court of law.
Next Friend or Guardian ad Litem
Minors who are injured wrongfully by another person or entity may bring about a personal injury lawsuit if they successfully asked the court to appoint them a next friend or Guardian ad litem. The term used in civil court varies among jurisdictions, but they both refer to an adult who serves as an injured minor’s lawful representative in a personal injury lawsuit.
The process of requesting a next friend or Guardian ad litem is typically speedy and uncomplicated, only requiring a little bit of paperwork. Once a legal representative is appointed, they can begin the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the minor. The very first step in this process would be to hire a skilled Indianapolis personal injury lawyer.
If the personal injury lawsuit is successful, the compensation does not go directly to the minor. Instead, the legal representative of the minor is responsible for placing the proceeds into a safe investment until the minor turns 18 years old. The placement of the proceeds must also be approved by the court.
Parents of Injured Children
The process of requesting and being granted a next friend or Guardian ad litem is only applicable in cases in which children do not have legal guardians or parents caring after them already. If your child or teenager was recently injured in an accident that was not their fault, you have legal grounds to bring about a personal injury claim on their behalf. Consult with an Indiana personal injury law firm as soon as possible before the statute of limitations runs out on your claim and all evidence is lost to support your case.
Are you looking for a seasoned Indiana accident attorney to represent your child’s injury case? Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 to schedule a free initial case evaluation with a civil litigator who specializes in child personal injuries in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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