Can a Parent Sue on Behalf of an Injured Child?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Can a Parent Sue on Behalf of an Injured Child?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

After your child is injured, you may wonder what laws are in place to protect them. After all, if someone else caused the injury, then you want them to be held responsible. Because your child is a minor, he or she cannot legally file a lawsuit for any injuries on his or her own; however, that does not mean that you and your child are without legal recourse, once an injury has occurred.

When Injuries to a Child Occur

Children still have the right to compensation – including pain and suffering – when an injury happens, due to someone else’s negligence. The child also has the right to collect similar compensation as an adult, and a parent has the separate right to be compensated for medical costs and lost wages associated with the child’s injury.

Obviously, your injured child cannot negotiate a settlement for his claim. Therefore, parents or legal guardians are allowed, under Illinois law, to negotiate on behalf of the child. In order for the case to be settled, you may need a judge’s approval for the settlement amount prior to the case being finalized. Typically, this involves nothing more than your attorney filing a form and presenting it to the court for authorization.

When Injuries Are Caused by Other Children

Legal liability is critical in establishing a personal injury claim. If your child’s injuries were caused by another child, the carelessness and negligence notions are similar to that of an adult causing the injury. However, the standards of care used to establish negligence are not the same – since a child’s expectation of responsibility is not the same as an adult’s.

The law will apply different standards, based on the age group of the child who caused the injury. For example, a teenager would be held to a higher standard of care than a first-grade child. Very young children are rarely held responsible for injuries that they cause to another – especially if they are seven years old or younger – because the child is too young to understand their actions, or even their responsibilities, in such situations.

A child will not have much money on their own; therefore, the liable child’s parents are typically named in the suit for compensation. Sometimes, the minor’s actions are also covered under insurance – such as a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Determining if a parent is legally responsible for the actions of a minor is complex. For example, if a teenager is involved in a devastating auto accident, but the vehicle is not registered to the teen, the law allows for the plaintiff to seek damages from the teen’s parents.

Was Your Child Injured? Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

The laws surrounding personal injuries amongst children are complex. If your child was seriously injured by the negligence of an adult or another child, you may be entitled to compensation. To assess your child’s injury claim, contact the expert team at Malman Law for a free case evaluation. Schedule your appointment now; fill out our online contact form with your questions.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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