In a typical personal injury case, when an adult is injured by another party’s negligent or reckless acts, they can negotiate or sue them for compensation. These cases typically include auto collisions, slip and fall injuries, and pedestrian or boating accidents.
However, if the injured party is your minor child, the claims process becomes more complex. Minors cannot legally represent themselves in Alabama, meaning you may have to file on their behalf.
An Alabama personal injury lawyer from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you navigate a minor-involved claim’s special rules and procedures. We will help you understand your rights as the injured party’s parents and protect your family’s best interests.
Individuals are not considered legal adults in Alabama until age 19 (Alabama Code 26-1-1). If a personal injury case involves a victim aged 18 or under, the law considers that victim a minor.
According to the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, minors may not represent themselves or sue another party directly. However, that does not mean they can’t pursue compensation from the at-fault party. State law permits a minor’s legal representatives to sue the at-fault party on their behalf.
In most personal injury cases involving a minor, the victim’s parents are the primary legal guardians. State law (6-5-390) provides equal representation rights to both parents if they are married and living together.
The situation is slightly more complex if the minor’s parents are unmarried, living separately, or a court has determined legal custody. Generally, whichever parent the child lives with can represent them if injured, provided this parent has legal custody.
If the minor’s parents are unable or unwilling to file a claim for their injured child, a third-party legal guardian can initiate the claims process instead. Two types of legal guardians can represent an injured child’s interests: parent-designated and court-appointed.
If your child was injured in an accident, you can work with an attorney to file a claim on their behalf. Consider their needs and long-term well-being when seeking compensation from the at-fault party. Take the following steps to strengthen your child’s personal injury claim:
In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is usually two years from the day of the accident (6-2-38). However, if the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations starts from the day they turn 19.
At The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, we understand better than anyone the pain and anguish of knowing a reckless or negligent individual injured your child. Our team of experienced and compassionate Alabama personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of the claims process.
Contact us today for a complimentary case review.