Minor/Child

Luckily kids’ bodies are very resilient so often times collisions, falls, and the like won’t injure them as much as an adult.  When they are injured, though, resolving their cases can be a bit more complicated than an adult.

Resolving a minor’s case:

People under the age of 18 cannot be held to the terms of a contract.  So for example, if a child signs a liability waiver when they take ski lessons it wouldn’t hold up in court if they were injured.  It also becomes an issue when resolving a minor’s case.  The only way for a child to agree to a settlement is to have the court approve the settlement.

To settle a minor’s case a lawsuit has to be filed in court asking a judge to review the proposed settlement thereby binding the minor.  Generally, the court will appoint an attorney to review the medical records, talk with the parents, and then provide a report to the judge opining on whether the settlement is fair.

If this process is not followed then the minor can still file a lawsuit once he/she turns 18.  Most insurance companies will require that a minor go through the court approval process to avoid the risk of a minor filing a lawsuit many years later.

Time limit for filing a lawsuit for a minor:

The statute of limitations (amount of time after an accident you have to settle a case or file a lawsuit) is three years for adults.  For minors, that three year period doesn’t start ticking away until the minor turns 18 years old.

It is usually still in the best interest of the minor to get a case settled timely and not plan to wait until he or she turns 18.  If a child waits until becoming an adult to bring a claim it may be difficult to find medical records, witnesses, the at-fault party, among a host of other problems that could make it difficult to prove the case.

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