If you are injured in a car accident in New York, then you have the standing to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or settle with their insurer. A child under the age of 18 is not in the same legal position. They rely on a parent or guardian to protect their rights and see to it that they get an offer or settlement that meets their needs given the severity of their injuries.
New York courts also assume responsibility for ensuring that any settlement offer is in the best interests of the child. Firstly, the attorney for your son or daughter files for what is known as an infant’s compromise order. During the resulting hearing, the judge will review all information relevant to the case and interview you and/or your child. If the court concludes that the offer is in the best interests of the child, then they will approve it and issue the order. The money will usually be held in escrow in an interest-earning bank account until your child reaches the age of majority, at which point they can access it.
Are parents or guardians entitled to any of the settlement?
It is possible for a parent or guardian to receive a portion of the money if they were included in the settlement. In other words, the settlement may designate a certain amount of money to reimburse parents or guardians for the amount they spent on medical expenses. All other funds are held in trust for the child until they reach the age of majority.
Statute of limitations in New York
Minors are regarded as being under a “legal disability” due to their age, so the statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury lawsuit does not begin in the state until they turn 18. Then, if you did not already sue the other party on their behalf, then they have three years to bring a claim themselves. When medical malpractice is involved, the time extension cannot be longer than 10 years, so if your child was injured at the age of three, you must commence a legal action before they turn 13.
Children are important members of society, but they are also vulnerable. These additional legal safeguards are intended to ensure that they are both protected and given the opportunity to get the compensation they need when injured.
If your child is injured due to someone else’s negligent conduct, then it is devastating to you too. A New York personal injury attorney will work with you to safeguard the child’s interests and secure an award or settlement that covers their medical expenses, addresses pain and suffering, and compensates them for what they went through at such an early stage of their lives. A personal injury attorney can help recover money needed for medical bills and past and future pain and suffering after an accident involving a minor. Let Jayson Lutzky, P.C. assist you if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person initial consultation. Visit mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/accidents to learn more.