If you’ve ever been injured by the negligence of another, you likely know firsthand how long and stressful the road to recovery can be. Those hardships can even be magnified if your child has been harmed in an accident as well. When it comes to securing compensation for a minor child, the road to recovery may seem confusing or overwhelming to navigate. However, this section of the website is dedicated to assisting individual seek compensation for their minor children in North Carolina after a car accident.
In North Carolina, the law states that a minor child lacks the capacity or ability to sue or be sued. As such, a minor child can sue for their injuries by means of a legal guardian, also known as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). When a person is injured by the negligence of another, North Carolina law entitles that person to recovery for their injuries, and the same is true when the injured person is a minor child.
When a child is injured in an North Carolina car accident due to someone else’s negligence, two separate claims arise under North Carolina law. The first claim, which may be brought by the parents or guardian of the child, is for recovery of medical expenses related to treatment of the minor’s injuries. If necessary, these expenses can be recovered through a lawsuit filed in the parent’s own name.
The second claim, which belongs to the child, may be brought in court through the child’s Guardian ad Litem. The Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the court for the purpose of protecting the interests of the child and ensuring fairness of any settlement for the child. The Guardian ad Litem is required to be a disinterested third party approved by the court, however, the Guardian ad Litem is most commonly an attorney or family member.
Because minor children are not considered by the law to be capable of making their own decisions, no minor settlement is final unless it has been approved by a judge.
Because minor children are not considered by the law to be capable of making their own decisions, no minor settlement is final unless it has been approved by a judge. It is worth noting that it is common for insurance companies to settle a personal injury claim involving a minor by simply giving the settlement check to the parents and avoiding judicial approval altogether. However, if the parties to a minor settlement fail to seek judicial approval of a settlement, the minor may not be bound by the terms of the unapproved settlement upon reaching the majority age of 18 years old.
Regardless, most insurance companies will usually push for, and require, judicial approval of any minor settlement if the injury that the minor child sustained is significant. This means that most insurance companies will require a minor settlement if the amount is over three thousand or four thousand dollars.
While settling a minor’s claim is a fairly straightforward process, there are a lot of distinct issues that need to be addressed, especially in cases of serious or debilitating bodily injury. However, so long as you are diligent and attentive to the details of the claim, it is possible to undertake the process with limited attorney interaction, should you so desire.