Can a child injured in an accident case sue for damages?
The answer is yes, a minor child injured as the result of the negligence of another maintains their own cause of action to sue for their injury, medical expenses and other out of pocket losses. However, since the child is a “minor” and cannot sign any type of legal papers to either (a) hire a lawyer by signing a fee agreement contract (b) authorizations for medical records and bills (c) authorization to file a lawsuit (d) any legal papers or pleadings as part of the lawsuit or (e) any settlement release, the case must be pursued by the parent and/or natural guardian for the minor child, and if a lawsuit becomes necessary, the court will appoint a Guardian ad litem to advocate for the best interest of the child as part of the lawsuit.
Further, if the settlement is more than $5,000, court approval is required for the settlement, and there are some attorneys and judges who take the view that a settlement in any amount should be court approved; (I specifically discussed this issue at a previous blog).
There is also a different statute of limitations to when a lawsuit must be commenced for a minor child, unlike the ordinary 3 year rule under sec. 893.54 that governs all other accident cases for adults. For a minor child under sec. 893.16 (1) a lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the 18th birthday. The statute reads as follow; “If a person entitled to bring an action is, at the time the cause of action accrues, either under the age of 18 years, except for actions against health care providers: or mentally ill, the action may be commenced within 2 years after the disability ceases, except that where the disability is due to mental illness, the period of limitation prescribed in this chapter may not be extended for more than 5 years.”
Under this statute, a minor child has 2 years to commence an action after attaining the age of 18.
Was your child injured in a car crash? If you have questions on pursuing an injury case in behalf of your child, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. with over 34 years of experience in handling thousands of injury cases.
For more information on this article, contact Karp & Iancu.