What to Know About Court Cases Involving Minor Children

Individuals who are under the age of 18 generally cannot represent themselves in a court case. Instead, their parents will need to represent their interests in a trial or during settlement talks. Depending on the circumstances in the case, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem. This is a neutral party who helps to determine if a settlement is in the minor victim’s best interest.

The Same Elements Must Be Shown to Win a Personal Injury Case

To win a personal injury case, it must be shown that a victim was harmed by the negligence of another person or entity. For instance, those who are suing a driver after a car accident must show that injuries resulting in damages were caused by the accident in question. This is true whether or not the victim is a minor or an adult. Negligence does not mean that a defendant intended for an accident to occur. Instead, it means that he or she took an action that a typical person knew or should have known would possibly cause harm.

When Is a Guardian Ad Litem Needed?

A guardian ad litem is generally only used in cases involving a potentially large settlement. This person will review the facts of the case and the structure of the settlement to determine if it is appropriate to accept. A written report may be created and given to the judge in the case prior to approving a settlement.

When to Consult Legal Counsel

A parent may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as his or her child suffers an injury. Even if there is no immediate intent to file a lawsuit or seek compensation, it can help a parent learn more about protecting the rights of the child. Nonprofit organizations or online sources may also provide insight into personal injury cases involving minors.