Can Parents Pursue a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child?

young child darting in road after ballInjured children under the age of 18 years cannot bring a personal injury claim for themselves. So what can parents do if someone else's reckless behavior causes their child to suffer an injury and they are left with mounting medical costs?

While there are legal options for recovering damages for minor children, how these claims are handled in Tennessee is a little different than for an adult.

Greg Coleman Law discusses how personal injury claims for children are unique, including the types of compensation available and how potential settlements may be distributed.

Contact our firm anytime, day or night, for answers to your legal questions and to schedule a completely FREE consultation. We welcome the opportunity to assess whether you may have a valid claim at no cost to you.

Recovering Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim of a Minor Child

The types of compensation that an injured minor child may be eligible to receive are the same as for an adult, and the same burden of proof also applies. This means that parents bringing a lawsuit on behalf of their injured child will also have to prove that negligence caused the accident.

Our Knoxville personal injury lawyers understand that to build a robust claim, you will need the supporting evidence of accident reports, medical records, eyewitness testimonies and more. With over 200 years of combined legal experience, our firm is well-versed in the complicated laws of child injury claims in the state.

Our experienced lawyers are prepared to fight for maximum compensation for your child’s injury, which could include:

Damages for Injured Minor Child:

  • All related medical care not covered by private health insurance or TennCare
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional counseling
  • Lost wages if the child was working prior to the accident

Compensation Parents May Recover:

  • Lost wages if they stayed home to care for their child
  • Medical bills for their child
  • Other related expenses as deemed appropriate by the court

Statute of Limitations For a Child Claim

The statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor child is typically one year from the date of the accident. However, that timeframe may be significantly shorter if you are pursuing a claim against a government agency, such as if your child was injured in a school bus accident.

Additionally, a minor child may bring a claim against the at-fault party within one year of turning 18 years.

As with any personal injury case, if you miss your filing deadline, your claim would likely be barred from the court, leaving you unable to pursue compensation for any of the damages.

How is My Child’s Settlement Approved and Distributed?

Before a settlement can be distributed, there must be an agreed upon offer. Typically, the injured victim and his or her attorney would work to negotiate an appropriate offer with the other party’s insurers. However, with a child injury claim, the court must also review the offer and approve the agreement:

  • If the offer is for less than $10,000, your attorney will file an affidavit with the court
  • With offers involving $10,000 or more, the parents, along with their child, must meet with the judge in his or her chambers

Once the offer is approved by the judge, the settlement can be distributed, but how that happens for the personal injury claim of a minor child is also different than for adults. Under Tennessee Law, a judge has two options for the distribution of a settlement awarded to a minor child:

  • Award the settlement to the minor child’s parents or legal guardians
  • Place the settlement in a trust, to be held until the child reaches the age of 18

Encroachment Requests

If the settlement funds of a minor child are held in a trust, parents may submit a petition, called an encroachment, to utilize some of the funds for expenses that are considered to be atypical medical or educational expenses. A parent is not likely to receive approval to use these funds for living expenses or for costs that are considered normal for the care of a child.

Get Legal Help After a Personal Injury Involving Your Child

If your child was injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you do not want to leave any room for guesswork. It is important to make sure your legal rights, and those of your child, are well-protected.

At Greg Coleman Law, we have been representing injured victims in Tennessee for decades and recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients. Since we take cases on contingency, you pay us nothing for our services unless we first obtain compensation through a settlement or verdict.

Get your FREE legal consultation: (865) 247-0080