My Child Was Injured by Someone Else’s Negligence, what can be done?
Is He or She Entitled to Seek Compensation for Her Injury and What Is the Process For Doing So?
Your daughter is riding her scooter down the street when a motorist driving down the road and not even paying attention but, instead looking at his phone, has a low-speed impact on your daughter, knocking her off her scooter and to the ground. She suffers an injury (a broken bone) in the process and has to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The entire time, your daughter, who has never been to a hospital in her life and is scared of needles, is petrified and staring at you with huge eyes, shaking and clearly both in considerable pain as well as scared out of her mind.
If you have children or other dependents, then your biggest fear, like most parents, maybe something happening to your kids. Florida law protects the ability of minors, just like any adult, to pursue a personal injury claim. However, the procedure for a child to pursue a personal injury case is different than if an adult is injured. Whereas it is simple for an adult to retain an attorney and pursue first an insurance claim and, if necessary, a lawsuit against whoever injured him or her, it is not as simple if a child is injured by someone else’s negligence. For a child that is injured by someone else’s negligence, then a parent or natural guardian has to file suit on behalf of the child. The good news is that, although it does require jumping through a few more hoops, you can still pursue compensation for your daughter based on the mental and physical injuries she sustained as a result of this one careless driver’s negligence.
Florida Law Regarding The Pursuit of Personal Injury Claims by Children
Children in Florida are permitted to bring personal injury claims just like anyone else, but the process is a bit different when they do so as compared with how an adult would bring a personal injury lawsuit. A child under the age of 18 is not permitted to bring a lawsuit on his or her own behalf. Before the child turns 18, a parent or natural guardian would need to actually bring the lawsuit on behalf of the minor. In the above situation, you would file suit against the motorist that was not paying attention and hit your daughter on behalf of your daughter and the suit would proceed like normal, except you would make the decisions as to the case because you would be acting on behalf of the minor child that was injured.
Finally, given that most personal injury cases result in settlements, cases involving minors are also slightly different from “regular” personal injury cases brought by adults. A parent or natural guardian can enter into a settlement of any personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a minor where the amount of the settlement is $15,000 or less without approval by the Court. If the settlement is over $15,000, then court approval is required under Florida law. The Court may determine that a court-appointed guardian ad litem, typically another attorney familiar with personal injury cases, should be appointed and this attorney will review and approve the settlement and submit a report concluding it is in the child’s best interest. The rationale for this is that the Court wants to ensure that the settlement is in the best interests of the child, since that claim, as well as any money from the settlement, will ultimately be placed in guardianship for the benefit of that child.
What Damages Would My Child Be Entitled to If I Filed a Personal Injury Action on His or Her Behalf?
If you file suit on behalf of your child, he or she would be able to seek the “normal” damages anyone would be able to pursue in a personal injury case in Florida, such as the costs of any past medical treatment he or she received or will need to receive in the future as a result of his or her injuries, his or her pain and suffering as a result of those injuries, as well as lost wages or loss of future earning capacity your child may suffer as a result of his or her injuries. The last element of damages may be harder to prove in a case brought on behalf of a child because you would have no way of knowing what your child could or would earn or what career path he or she would follow given he or she is just a child, but vocational expert witnesses can work together with experienced economists to project what the value of your child’s claim would be.
Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley
If you are a parent and your child has been involved in a motor vehicle accident or other types of incident in Florida in which your child was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney who has represented parents in pursuing compensation for their children who were injured by someone else’s negligence before. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. have achieved great success during our attorneys’ 200 combined years practicing law. We have represented hundreds of parents and their children who were injured by someone else’s negligence in seeking compensation for their children’s injuries. Contact us today at (877) 694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation regarding your situation.