Many parents are terrified by the idea of their child suffering injuries in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 183,000 children under 15 were hurt in a car accident in 2019. The risk increases once they’re old enough to get behind the wheel. That same year, about 205,000 drivers injured in car accidents were between 15 and 20.
Injuries from car accidents can have life-changing consequences and require expensive medical treatment. While many parents want their child to receive as much compensation for an accident as possible, filing a lawsuit on behalf of your child is less straightforward than filing for yourself.
Learn what’s involved in seeking compensation for a minor child and how The Vance Law Firm can assist you with your child’s case.
If another driver’s recklessness has seriously injured your child, you can help your child seek compensation to cover the cost of their medical bills. However, minors cannot file in court on their own; they must have a parent or guardian file for them in a pro ami lawsuit.
While most states set the age of majority at 18, Alabama’s age of majority is 19 under the Alabama code § 26-1-1. This means that even if your child is 18, you still have to file on their behalf.
For most personal injury or negligence suits, you must file the case within the statute of limitations. In Alabama, this is two years. For minors, however, the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 19. You may file for your minor child any time after the accident until they come of age, or your child may file after turning 19.
If your child is injured in a car accident, reach out to a Montgomery car accident lawyer with The Vance Law Firm as soon as possible. We can help you explore legal options to take on behalf of your child and understand what to expect when filing for a minor.
Since minors are considered unable to represent themselves in court, they must be represented by a legal guardian. Typically, the parents serve as the guardian and are the ones to file the case and handle the court costs.
However, you have limited rights when it comes to the settlement itself. Alabama law requires that any insurance settlements worth $5,000 or more must be reviewed and approved by a judge. The court wants to ensure that your child receives fair compensation, so the case must be heard in court.
Additionally, you might not represent your child in the lawsuit. Instead, the court will appoint an attorney as their guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem’s role is to serve as a neutral representative for the child and accept a settlement in their best interests.
If your minor child wins a settlement for their injuries, the court will hold the fund until your child turns 19. In most cases, the court uses part of the settlement to pay your child’s medical bills, then places the remaining funds in a protected account, like a trust or conservatorship.
Unless the court appoints you as a legal conservator for your child, you cannot access your child’s settlement funds. Placing the money into a trust or conservatorship ensures that nobody else can withdraw and spend the child’s settlement earnings before they reach adulthood.
However, you may work with your lawyer from The Vance Law Firm to petition the court to use the money to pay for school or transportation expenses until your child comes of age. For instance, the court may approve purchases such as tuition for your child’s education or a vehicle so they can get to work.
Work with a car accident lawyer you can trust when your child has been hurt in a car crash. The Vance Law Firm has won millions on behalf of personal injury clients and will work to represent your child’s best interests regarding their accident case.
Our legal team will review the facts of your and your child’s accident, answer any questions you have, and make every effort to help your child get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.