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Can a Minor File a Personal Injury Claim In NY?

There are many ways that a child can become injured in New York as a result of someone else’s negligence. However, minors are not permitted to enter into a contractual relationship with an attorney or a settlement contract with the at-fault party’s insurer on their own. Instead, they must either wait until they are old enough to file the claim or have a parent or legal guardian hire an attorney and pursue a claim on their behalf.

If your child has been injured in NY, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you determine the best course of action in order to help them receive compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury. A personal injury claim may help you recover the expenses you have incurred due to their injury and also provide a settlement for them to use once they turn 18.

What to Know About Minors Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Because children under 18 are not permitted to enter into contracts, they can neither hire an attorney nor accept a settlement. In New York, the statute of limitations on most personal injury claims is three years from the date on which the accident occurred. However, the state extends this deadline for child injury claims so that the clock doesn’t begin ticking on the claim until the child turns 18. At that point, they have until their 21st birthday to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injury.

The benefit of having time to file once they reach the age of majority is that they are able to hire their own attorney and make decisions on the claim on their own. However, there is a risk of waiting to file the claim as well, especially if many years have passed between the accident that caused the injury and the point where they’re able to pursue the matter. The point of a statute of limitations is to prevent the degradation of evidence, which is contrary to a minor filing a claim for an incident that occurred perhaps even a decade or more earlier.

Can a Parent or Guardian File on Behalf of the Minor?

If a parent or legal guardian chooses to file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor child, the claim will be held to the three-year statute of limitations in most cases, with the exception of medical malpractice claims, in which they have 10 years to file, as well as claims against governmental agencies, which involve a time frame of one year and 90 days for claims involving minors. 

While parents can seek compensation for some expenses they have incurred as a result of their child’s injury, the bulk of the consideration for compensation involves what the child needs now and in the future to handle medical expenses incurred as a result of their injury, as well as any lost wages the parents may have dealt with due to caring for their child after the accident.

The benefit of having a parent or legal guardian file a lawsuit on behalf of the minor is that the claim will be considered by the at-fault party’s insurer and even the court relatively soon after the injury was incurred in most cases, meaning that evidence and witness testimony will likely be fresher. However, it is important for parents to understand that if they accept a settlement on their child’s behalf, the settlement will likely be placed in a special account for the child that cannot be accessed until they turn 18.

Was Your Child Injured by Someone’s Negligence in New York? Contact Dalli & Marino, LLP Today

Having a child become injured as a result of someone else’s careless or reckless actions is one of the most helpless feelings in the world. The legal team at Dalli & Marino, LLP is dedicated to providing you with an understanding of your legal options and the information you need to proceed with the injury claims process. With over 25 years of experience, our team has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients and has garnered a reputation for providing quality legal services. We also speak Spanish.

Regardless of how your child’s injury occurred, we’re here to provide answers to the questions you have about your claim. For a free case evaluation with a child injury lawyer from Dalli & Marino, LLP, contact us online or by calling (888) 465-8790.


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