Can You File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of Your Child?

As a parent, you would likely do anything possible to keep your child safe. While you can take every precaution necessary, it’s important to understand that life can be unpredictable. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and when they do, it’s your responsibility to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action to move forward.

For example, if your child gets hurt because they were roughhousing with a sibling, you can use it as a learning opportunity to teach them how to avoid the same outcome in the future. But what do you do if their damages are brought on by another person’s recklessness or negligent behavior?

In this case, attorneys would likely recommend filing a personal injury case. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to recover compensation from the liable party, so you can take care of associated medical bills and ensure your child has the resources needed to recover.

Filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor isn’t always straightforward, though. There are factors you need to consider before you begin the legal proceedings. To better understand where your situation falls on the legal spectrum and devise an effective plan forward, consult the guide below.

Filing a Claim on Behalf of Your Child 

Filing a Claim for a Child Under the Age of 18

In the United States (and Canada), the technical, legal age of adulthood is 18. Any person under this age is still seen as a minor in the eyes of the law. As such, they are considered under the care of their parents or legally appointed guardian

If your child sustained injuries in an accident and they are under the age of 18, you have the right to file a claim on your behalf. However, although you are legally allowed to bring about a claim on your child’s behalf, you’ll need to keep a few factors in mind. 

First, always remember that the child and their injuries should remain at the forefront of your case. Avoid drawing attention to your personal struggles or financial challenges; if you focus on this too heavily, it might appear as though you are trying to use your child’s accident for personal financial gain, which could lead to the other party or judge questioning the validity of your case. 

You’ll also want to consider how any settlement provided will be handled. If your child is awarded a settlement, you likely won’t have access to these earnings. Instead, any funds collected will be held in a private bank account taken out in their name. They will only be able to personally access this money once they turn 18. In the interim, you will be able to access those funds, but only to pay for any bills associated with your child’s injuries. 

Filing for a Child Over the Age of 18

If your child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, you will not be allowed to file a personal injury claim on their behalf. This is true even if you are still technically their caretaker. Furthermore, if they do decide to file a claim, you likely won’t be able to access any of those funds, even if you are using them to pay for their medical treatment.

Instead, your child will have immediate access to the settlement. It will be up to them to determine how those funds are allocated and spent.

In either case, whether your child chooses to file for themselves, or you need to bring about a claim on their behalf, the best course of action is to work with a personal injury attorney. They will provide the insight and guidance needed to find success. 

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