Can Minors Seek Compensation for a Personal Injury on Their Own?

girl holding broken armSerious accidents can happen to people of any age, but when they cause harm to children, the injuries are often much more severe than injuries to adults. Their bodies are not yet fully developed and are often more vulnerable.

Despite the fact they are not legal adults, children have the same right to seek compensation for their damages from at-fault parties. However, they cannot seek compensation on their own. Their parents, legal guardians, or their legal tutor can pursue compensation on their behalf.

Below, we discuss seeking compensation on behalf of a minor and why you should strongly consider seeking experienced legal help. This is a complex situation and an experienced attorney from our firm knows how to seek full compensation for damages.

Filing a Legal Claim on Behalf of a Minor Child

Our courts and our laws consider children as lacking the capacity to fully understand the complexities of the legal system. However, they are still owed a duty of care in various situations, just like adults. If a duty of care owed to a child is breached and it results in an injury, the child may be eligible for compensation for any damages he or she suffered.

Below, we discuss some of the Louisiana laws on claims for minor children and some of the other aspects of these types of cases. However, these are complex cases, which is why it is vital to discuss the situation with a licensed attorney.

Who Can File a Case on Behalf of a Child?

Louisiana law allows a tutor to take legal action on behalf of a child. Louisiana law defines four kinds of tutorships.

Tutorship by Nature

Generally, the person filing a complaint on behalf of a minor child has tutorship by nature.

A child’s parents are both considered natural cotutors. In other words, they have tutorship by nature. If a child’s parents are divorced, the parent who is the primary caretaker of the child has tutorship by nature.

If the parents have joint custody of the child, they both have co-tutorship. Louisiana’s Civil Code explains how tutorship is assigned if a parent dies. For example, if the last parent to pass away appointed several tutors, the first person mentioned will be charged with tutorship.

Tutorship Granted by the Court

There are other types of tutorships besides tutorship by nature, such as tutorship by will, effect of law or appointment of the judge. No matter the type, all these tutors must be confirmed or appointed by the court. These tutors must qualify based on the criteria set by the law.

Filing the Case

Our Lafayette-based personal injury attorneys are prepared to help you seek full compensation for your child’s damages. We can evaluate your situation to determine who may be at fault and the damages your child may be eligible to recover, which may include:

  • Past and future medical care for your child’s injuries
  • Pain and suffering caused by your child’s injuries (children may be much more sensitive to emotional trauma than adults)
  • Loss of future earning capacity, if the injury has lifelong consequences that impair the child’s ability to work
  • Lost enjoyment of life if they cannot engage in activities they once enjoyed
  • Home modifications to accommodate a long-term disability
  • Punitive damages, which are only awarded in cases of extreme negligence
  • And more

If your case is successful and your child is awarded compensation, it can be paid to the legal guardian or to the child when the child reaches the age of majority.

What Happens if the Child Was Killed in the Accident?

Surviving parents, siblings or grandparents can file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for damages caused by the loss of the child, such as:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of future income and benefits
  • Lost inheritance
  • Loss of companionship
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more

It may also be possible to file a survival action to pursue compensation for damages suffered by the child between the time of injury and death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Common Types of Injury Claims Involving Children

Children can get injured in many of the same situations as adults, but they may be more at risk for sustaining a severe injury in certain situations. For instance, if they get attacked by a dog or get injured at a swimming pool. Children can also get injured in car crashes, bus accidents, slip and fall accidents, or by poisonous substances.

While children could potentially be held responsible for some injuries because of their own negligence, the law gives a lot of leeway to children. The law does not consider children to have the same ability as adults to discern when a situation is dangerous and determine when they should avoid risks. Even if a child was engaging in horseplay when an injury occurred, you may have the right to seek compensation. That is why it is important to discuss the situation with a qualified attorney.

Contact Galloway Jefcoat Today

Have questions about legal options if you or your child suffered a personal injury?

Give us a call today to discuss how we may be able to assist you, at no upfront cost. We guide our clients throughout the legal process, using our resources and legal knowledge to pursue full compensation.

Need legal assistance? Call Galloway Jefcoat: (337) 984-8020.