Every parent knows that occasional accidents and injuries are an unavoidable part of childhood. However, the reality is that some accidents are more serious than others, and there are some which may, unfortunately, have lifelong consequences for the minor involved. Some common examples include injuries from animal bites, road accidents, slips and falls. Should such an incident occur, California parents and guardians should be aware of the unique complexities involved in a personal injury case with a minor plaintiff.
Consideration #1: Minors cannot file a claim on their own
In order in order to file a personal injury lawsuit for an injured minor, parents will need to take the lead. While this makes sense from a legal and liability standpoint, this can also make it difficult for minors to understand what is expected of them in a lawsuit, and cooperation may not always be a given. Additionally, there is also more communication needed throughout the process when more people are involved, which can lead to more potential miscommunication or missteps. Discussing these possible pitfalls at the start is a good idea.
Consideration #2: Minors may have strong emotions about the outcome of their case
Anyone can feel resentful and powerless in the face of a serious injury. Minors may feel this even more strongly. This is due to their age and maturity, as well as the difficulty of feeling that the process is out of their hands. They may also be more inclined to stretch the truth or leave things out due to their feelings about the matter. Again, clear and early communication is a must to overcome this possible issue.
Consideration #3: Parental negligence could be considered in determining liability
One of the most important steps in a personal injury case is the determination of liability. When a minor is injured, the parent’s responsibility to protect the child will be weighed alongside other factors. This can be difficult in cases where a child makes a mistake leading to an injury, because their misstep might be seen as parental neglect.
Overall, it is important to have a legal strategy that takes the above factors into consideration. Personal injury claims can be deeply emotional and the results can massively impact one’s life, especially in the case of a young person with a lot ahead of them. It can be very helpful to retain a California lawyer to provide support for these claims, whether they are against an insurance company or another defendant.