Lawsuits Involving Injured Children in Florida
A four car pileup on I-95 has injured four people, including a nine-year-old girl. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the accident occurred just before 12:15 pm on December 22, 2018 when a Chevy struck the rear of a Volkswagen, setting off a chain reaction. The three adults were taken to the Halifax Health Medical Center, while emergency personnel airlifted the child to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando.
Because the child was injured, she might have legal rights to compensation stemming from the crash. However, lawsuits involving children have different wrinkles than cases involving injured adults. Read on for more information.
What Compensation Can a Child Receive?
Typically, a child can receive many of the same damages that an adult can. For example, a child can receive compensation for:
- Medical care
- Lost earning potential, if the injury will limit her ability to work as an adult
- Pain and suffering
Some of these damages are harder to calculate. For example, pain and suffering is a nebulous concept that is not easily translated into dollars and cents. Also, the amount of lost earnings potential might need an expert to calculate. By meeting with an attorney, you can come up with a solid estimate of the amount of compensation your child is looking at.
Can a Parent File a Lawsuit on Behalf of Her Child?
Yes. A parent or guardian can usually file.
Can a Mature Minor File a Lawsuit?
No. Only someone 18 or older can file a lawsuit on his or her behalf. It doesn’t matter if your child is 17 and very mature. They must be 18.
Can a Parent Agree on the Settlement Amount?
You might need court approval. It all depends on the amount of the settlement, along with other factors. If the amount is under $15,000, then parents can generally accept the settlement amount on their own. However, if the settlement is more than $15,000, they will need a court’s approval. The court might also appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests.
How Much Time Do We Have to Sue?
Florida has a statute of limitations, which provides a limited amount of time to sue for compensation for injuries. For most cases, adults have 4 years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations works differently with children, though. Typically, it doesn’t start running until they reach a certain age.
Can Children be Negligent?
Yes. Florida law recognizes that victims sometimes contribute to their own injuries through their own negligence. Because of this, they share fault for their injuries, and the amount of compensation they receive can be reduced by their percentage of fault.
A child under 6 cannot be negligent, but older children can. A jury will analyze their actions based on how a typical child would have acted in the circumstances. In other words, the law does not expect children to be as careful as adults.
Has Your Child Been Injured? Contact Us
Cases involving children are some of the more complex we have handled. Not only is the law slightly different, but children need a higher level of caring legal guidance.
For more information, please contact Bundza & Rodriguez. Our Volusia County personal injury lawyers are prepared to meet with you and answer any questions you have. Please call us at 386-252-5170 as soon as possible.