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Aggressive Lawyers for the Seriously Injured

Handling Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

By Michael LoGiudice
Founding Attorney

Representing minors in personal injury cases presents unique challenges and considerations for attorneys in New York. Minors, defined as individuals under the age of 18, require special protection under the law due to their limited legal capacity and vulnerability. Navigating these cases with care and expertise is crucial to ensuring that the rights and best interests of minors are protected. Here are key legal considerations and strategies for handling personal injury cases involving minors in New York.

1. Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem

When representing a minor in a personal injury case, New York law requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem to protect the minor’s interests throughout the legal proceedings. A guardian ad litem is typically an attorney appointed by the court to represent the minor’s interests, advocate on their behalf, and make decisions regarding the case. It’s essential for attorneys to work closely with the guardian ad litem to ensure that the minor’s rights are upheld and their needs are addressed effectively.

2. Statute of Limitations

In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims involving minors is tolled, or paused, until the minor reaches the age of 18. This means that minors have a longer period to file a lawsuit for injuries sustained due to negligence. However, it’s crucial for attorneys to be mindful of the statute of limitations and take timely action to protect the minor’s rights and preserve their claims.

3. Structured Settlements

In cases involving minors, courts may require structured settlements to ensure that the minor’s financial interests are protected and funds are managed responsibly. Structured settlements provide periodic payments over time, rather than a lump sum, to cover the minor’s ongoing medical expenses, education, and other needs. Attorneys must work with financial experts and guardians ad litem to negotiate structured settlements that meet the minor’s long-term needs and best interests.

4. Court Approval

Before a settlement or judgment involving a minor can be finalized, it must be approved by the court to ensure that the terms are fair and in the minor’s best interests. Attorneys representing minors must submit the proposed settlement or judgment to the court for review and obtain court approval before disbursing funds or finalizing the case. The court will consider factors such as the nature and extent of the minor’s injuries, the proposed settlement amount, and the minor’s future needs in determining whether to approve the settlement.

5. Preservation of Evidence

In personal injury cases involving minors, it’s essential to preserve evidence promptly to support the minor’s claims and establish liability. This may include gathering witness statements, obtaining medical records, documenting the minor’s injuries and damages, and preserving physical evidence from the accident scene. By securing evidence early in the litigation process, attorneys can strengthen the minor’s case and maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.

Handling personal injury cases involving minors requires a thorough understanding of New York law, specialized expertise, and a compassionate approach to advocating for the minor’s rights and best interests.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Orange County

If your child has been injured due to the negligence of another party, don’t hesitate to reach out for personalized legal guidance and representation tailored to your family’s needs. Together, we can pursue justice and ensure that your child receives the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses. Trusted Orange County personal injury attorney Michael LoGiudice can help. Contact us today.

About the Author
Michael LoGiudice handles all personal injury and medical malpractice claims. He is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School (1997) and has many verdicts and settlements totaling in the tens of millions of dollars.
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