In California, any child under age 18 is considered a minor. The personal injury claims process is different for a minor because a child cannot negotiate a claim or enter into a contract. A minor’s claim must, therefore, be negotiated by a parent or guardian. If your child is injured in or causes an accident, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process.
A compromise of a minor’s claim is an out-of-court settlement of a personal injury claim. Under California law, a guardian ad litem is appointed to protect a child’s interests. Any settlement proceeds received are placed into a trust. That means any payment for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost earning capacity, or compensatory damages from injuries sustained at a public school, are held in an account until the child turns 18.
What Happens When Your Child Is Injured in an Accident?
In general, a child can be compensated for permanent injury, disability, and pain and suffering. Settling a children’s personal injury claim might require a judge’s approval. Oftentimes the process requires filling out a form and submitting it to the court. A parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem can file a form MC-350 or MC-350EX for a court to approve a settlement on behalf of a minor.
A petition or a claim must be filed in the county where the minor lives. And once a claim is filed, the petition must be filed in the same court as the lawsuit. Petitions must include:
- The child’s name, age, sex, and date of birth
- The relationship of the petitioner to the child
- A description of the claim and its nature
- A detailed description of the incident and injuries
- Details breaking down the amount of the settlement
- Disclosure of medical expenses, attorney’s fees, and court costs
- A statement on the total amount of the agreement
The money from a settlement is split into two parts. The first belongs to the parents or legal guardians of the minor to cover, for example, medical expenses. The second includes damages personal to the child, which are allocated to them at age 18.
However, if a child becomes disabled, a special needs trust can be established. It will protect their assets should they be unable to work as an adult.
What If Your Child Causes an Accident?
A parent is liable if a minor teenager causes a car accident and is not named on their insurance policy. Anyone injured in that crash can collect from the parent’s insurance company, but if the minor is named in the insurance plan, they’re covered by their parent’s policy. Nonetheless, minors are expected to carry the same duty of care as adults.
The law considers how children comprehend risks. While a child younger than seven is not usually liable for accidental injuries, parents or legal guardians can be liable for not controlling or disciplining a child. An older child can be held responsible if they know right from wrong. For example, they cause a car accident via negligent driving or by throwing a rock at one.
Contact Your Local Accident Attorney Today
If your child was injured in an accident, The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani can help get you compensation as we’re the top personal injury attorney for those injured by someone else’s negligence. Our car accident attorney has won multi-million-dollar settlements in many cases. We don’t charge fees until your case wins. For a free consultation, call 888-952-2952 or reach out to us online today.