Long Island Child Injury Lawyer
When a child under 18 years is involved in a negligence lawsuit, there are several important differences from a case involving an adult. These special rules are designed to protect minors and make sure they are being treated fairly and with their best interests in mind.
A child is not able to sue on their own behalf. However, they can have a parent or guardian represent them. A child is also given the option of waiting until they are 18 to file the case. In a typical case involving an adult, there is a statute of limitations that gives a strict time period in which a person can take legal action after an injury. When a child is in an accident, this same statute of limitations is put on hold and begins when the child turns 18. There are some exceptions to this involving medical malpractice lawsuits and cases against municipalities. It’s important to consult with a Long Island child injury attorney who can advise you about your specific case.
Reaching a Settlement
If the two parties involved agree to settle the case, there are also strict rules that were created to ensure all decisions are made with the child’s best interests in mind. Unlike cases involving adults, if a settlement is reached out of court, the terms of that settlement must be approved by the judge. An individual or their Long Island child injury lawyer cannot finalize the settlement without the judge’s approval. This is to protect minors and make sure they are being treated fairly and with their best interests in mind.
What will happen is once you have received a settlement offer that is acceptable to you, your child injury attorney will prepare a series of papers, called the infant’s compromise order, which details for the judge what the settlement proposal is, why it’s appropriate, and why it is in the best interest of the child. Each document in the order must be signed off by the parent or guardian.
After presenting the order to the judge, the attorney and client are required to appear in person in the judge’s chambers for a brief discussion. The judge will ask the parent a number of questions, including whether he or she believes this is an appropriate settlement.
If the court approves the proposed settlement, the case is over, but if the court rejects the proposal then all sides need to either renegotiate or prepare to go to trial.
What Happens to the Child’s Verdict or Settlement Award?
In response to abuses that occurred years ago, New York requires any monetary award a child receives to be put into an account until they are 18. There are very limited exceptions, including medical and educational expenses, when this money may be used before that time.
How a Long Island Child Injury Attorney Can Help
There are many factors and decisions to make in lawsuits involving children. If you have any questions or want to discuss an accident or injury involving your child, please contact us to ask any questions you have. Our compassionate and dedicated Long Island child injury lawyers are experienced working with families and will sit down with you to discuss the specifics of your case and work with you to determine the best course of action.