There is nothing that could leave you feeling so confused and scared than when your child is involved in a car accident, especially if the accident has happened at the hands of a reckless party. Many parties immediately wonder if they should seek the help of an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney after their child has been injured, as children are not permitted to bring a claim on their own. There are some aspects that you should know more about before you choose the route of a personal injury claim.
Your Child’s Personal Injury Claim and What You Need to Know
Different Statute of Limitations: You have probably heard about the statute of limitations as they apply to other personal injury claims in West Virginia. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file before you are officially barred from bringing a claim. However, when it comes to a claim involving a child, you might be happy to find that the statute of limitations is actually extended. If a child has a claim to bring, then the statute of limitations will extend until the child’s 20th birthday.
Help from Next Friends: Anyone under the age of 18 is not permitted to bring a claim on their own, which is why the court only allows them to file a claim through what is known as a “next friend.” This might make you think of actual friends, but this is not the case. If a child has a personal injury claim, one or both of the child’s parents will be able to bring a claim on their behalf. If a parent is not available for the child, then another adult in that type of position can bring a lawsuit as a “next friend.”
The Parent’s Role: Because the courts see the parents of a child as those in charge of their medical bills, they are the parties who will compensate in the event of a claim. This means, if a parent wants to compensate for medical bills, they will have to file their own claim and not claim them through their child’s suit. Parents will typically find themselves in a situation where they have to file a separate lawsuit from their child so that they can gain the compensation they deserve. This means two separate verdicts, which can be confusing. This is why it is essential to have legal help on your side.
Not Held to Same Standards: When a typical personal injury claim is brought, you must be able to show that another party acted negligently. However, negligence acts differently in a claim brought by a child’s parents on their behalf. A child under 14 is actually incapable of being negligent, which means that the other party might be automatically liable based on the circumstances of your case.
When a Child Receives Funds: If the court approves it, the child will not receive funds until they are 18. The money might be put into a savings account. The child might obtain a structured settlement, which can pay out higher interest rates.
If Your Child Has Been Injured in a West Virginia Car Accident
Injuries are a difficult reality to face, especially if it has happened to your child and you believe that another party is negligent. This is why, after a West Virginia car accident, it is imperative to have a personal injury attorney on your side every step of the way. Our attorneys at Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner understand what you have been through and will offer support to your family when your child has suffered due to another party’s negligence. Please reach out to us at (304) 713-2014 for more information today.