A child’s parent or legal guardian generally has the right to file a personal injury claim on behalf of a child. However, the facts and circumstances of the case could affect whether a child’s parents have the legal standing to file a claim or lawsuit for their child. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about seeking compensation for your child’s injuries.
Table of Contents
Who Can File an Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child in Florida?
Under Florida law, a child under the age of 18 years does not have the standing to file a claim or lawsuit when they sustain injuries.
According to Florida Statute §744.301, a child’s natural guardians may file an action to recover damages for an injury. “Natural guardians” refer to a child’s parents.
However, the court may appoint someone to bring the claim instead of the parents in some circumstances. For example, the court may find it is not in the child’s best interest to allow the parents to act on their behalf.
Common Injuries Sustained by Children That Result in a Personal Injury Claim
Children may be injured in a variety of situations, including motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, playground accidents, and medical malpractice. The injuries they sustain can be devastating. A childhood injury can even impact the child’s future.
Common childhood accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Internal organ damage
- Severe burns
- Scarring and disfigurement
If your child is involved in an accident, you should help them seek immediate medical attention. Your child’s medical records will be a crucial piece of evidence in an injury case. The medical records can also help prove that the accident was the cause of the injuries.
When Can I Settle a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child?
Parents may act on behalf of their child regarding an injury claim if the settlement amount does not exceed $15,000. In most cases, the parents are granted the right to manage the settlement funds and use these funds for the best interest of the child.
However, if the settlement amount exceeds $15,000, the parents must seek the court’s approval of the settlement. Court approval is also required if a lawsuit has been filed.
Furthermore, a formal guardianship is required for injury claim amounts exceeding $15,000. The funds are held in a restricted bank account or an annuity.
Withdrawals from the account must be for the benefit of the child and be reasonable and necessary. A judge decides whether the withdrawal request meets these requirements.
How Do I Know if My Child Has a Personal Injury Claim?
The best way to determine if your child has a legal claim against another party is to speak with one of our Miami personal injury lawyers. Recovering damages for an injury claim requires that you prove the other party negligently caused your child’s injury.
The legal elements of a negligence case are:
- The other party owed a duty of care to your child
- The other party breached the duty of care owed to your child by acting negligently
- The other party’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your child’s injury
- Your child sustained damages because of the breach of conduct
- Accident reports and police reports
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video footage of the incident
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Opinions and evaluations by expert witnesses
- Medical records
- Photographs of your child’s injuries
- Statements from medical and mental health experts
Building a strong case with solid evidence can encourage the other party to settle the claim before a lawsuit is filed. However, if the other party refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement, we use the evidence to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages Can You Recover on Behalf of Your Child in a Personal Injury Claim?
An injured child is entitled to compensation for their economic damages and non-economic damages. A child’s injury could have long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional delays and impairments. Therefore, it is crucial to recover maximum compensation for all damages.
Damages in a child injury case include, but are not limited to:
- Past and future medical bills and expenses
- Long-term personal and medical care
- Rehabilitation, including occupational, physical, and other therapies
- Special education programs
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of a normal childhood
- Scarring, disfigurement, and disability
The value of damages depends on numerous factors. A child who sustains permanent impairments may be entitled to substantial future damages. Our legal team may work with a number of medical experts and financial experts to calculate the value of future damages.
How Long Does Your Child Have to Pursue an Injury Claim in Florida?
When your child suffers an injury, your priority is your child’s well-being and health. Our Miami personal injury attorneys understand that filing a claim for damages may not be a top priority.
However, your child has the legal right to pursue compensation for damages. As with other personal injury cases, the time to file a lawsuit is limited by the Florida statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the injury date. However, depending on your child’s age, you could have longer to file a lawsuit.
Note that the Florida statute of limitations used to be four years, but the law was changed on March 24, 2023. Therefore, if your child’s accident occurred after that date, you’ll likely be subject to the two-year deadline.
To preserve your child’s rights, it is best to request a free case review with a Miami personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The steps that you take now can significantly impact the outcome of your child’s personal injury case. Having experienced legal counsel as you begin the claims process can help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your child’s injury claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Miami Child Injury Lawyer
If your child was injured in an accident or sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligent conduct, your child could recover damages under Florida’s personal injury laws.
Contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Miami, FL. Learn more about how you can file a personal injury claim on behalf of your child. Our legal team is here to help you as you seek justice for your child.