Filing a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a MinorIf you’re a parent, part of your job is to protect your child from getting injured. However, this isn’t always possible when faced with someone else’s negligence. If your child was injured by negligence, the effects can be heartbreaking and difficult. Your child will have medical bills and pain and suffering, and has the right to file a lawsuit to recover those damages.

Filing a Lawsuit

A child who is injured by someone’s negligence has the right to file a personal injury claim. However, children under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to enter into a contract. Therefore, any lawsuit must be filed by a parent or legal guardian on the child’s behalf.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that sets out the amount of time in which a claim can be brought. In New York, negligence claims must typically be brought within three years of the injury. Medical malpractice claims must be brought within 2 ½ years of the incident, except in the case of medical misdiagnosis.
For children, the rules are a little different. Under New York law, a child has three years after they turn 18 to file a personal injury suit. This length of time is capped at 10 years, so if a smaller child is injured, they would definitely need a parent to file a lawsuit on their behalf. Because witnesses disappear and memories fade, it is often advisable that a parent file a claim on behalf of their child as soon as possible rather than waiting until the child is of age.

What Happens to any Damages Recovered?

Special rules apply to settlements and damages recovered on behalf of a minor. In New York, a judge must approve any settlement agreement reached in a case brought on behalf of a child. The court will determine the reasonableness of the settlement before approving it. If the settlement amount is more than $10,000, a court may order that the money be deposited in an account with a bank or trust company to be held until the minor turns 18 or into a structured settlement where the minor receives periodic payments. In some cases, money may be withdrawn to care for the child if the parents don’t have the financial means to do so.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If your child has been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by negligence. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.