There are thousands of personal injury actions settled or taken to trial every year. A tragic accident does not skip over any specific class of individuals. These cases involve men, women, and children without bias. However, several aspects of a personal injury case differ when a minor child is the injured party. Special rules are put in place to provide greater protection to minor parties. If you or your loved one has suffered from injuries associated with an accident or incident, contact Colombo Law today for a no- risk initial consultation regarding your claim.
Main Differences in Personal Injury Actions Involving a Minor Children
The statute of limitations time period varies. The statute of limitations is created to place restrictions on when individuals can use a court of law as a remedy to resolve disputes and seek damages for injuries. Ordinarily the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years. This two-year statute of limitations begins from the date the accident or incident occurs. If an individual fails to meet the required statute of limitations, he or she has missed the opportunity to pursue legal recourse for his or her personal injury. Courts create limited exceptions for which it allows individuals to bring a cause of action outside of this time frame.
One exception to the rule occurs in instances in which a minor party is the injured victim. Generally, in personal injury actions where a minor child is the injured party, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the minor child turns 18. Once the individual turns 18, that individual has two years to file a cause of action. This rule, however does not apply to cases involving medical malpractice.
Children cannot file suit on their own behalf. In most civil actions, the real party in interest must file a claim against the wrongdoer to recover for any damages or monies due. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, as well. Certain instances preclude individuals from filing claims on their own behalf. One instance is where the victim is a minor, unless the minor has been emancipated. In most instances, the minor child’s parent(s) files the action on the child’s behalf. Other instances include where there is death or incapacity which makes the victim incapable of testifying.
Negligence standard of care. The state of West Virginia is a comparative fault state. This means that an individual cannot collect any amount of damages equal to the percentage in which the individual caused their injury. In cases in which minors are the injured parties, there are special rules with regard to comparative negligence. They are as follows:
- Minors under the age of 7 are incapable of negligence. Regardless of whether the child actively participated in causing their injuries, they cannot be considered negligent.
- Minors between the ages of 7 and 14 are presumed incapable of negligence. However, the Defendant can present evidence to refute the presumption.
- Minors between the age of fourteen or older are older are presumed to be capable of negligence.
There are many differences in personal injury actions where the minor child is a party. Although unique, your minor child’s personal injury case is important to recover for the costs expended and ensuring financial stability for your loved one’s future. Our attorneys are experienced personal injury lawyers who are equipped to handle your minor child’s unique case. For a risk-free initial consultation, contact Colombo Law today.