Never Attempt a Personal Injury Case with a Minor Victim Without an Attorney
Personal injury cases are often complex, and it is best to have a trusted attorney by your side in any case. However, there are some major differences between minor victims and adult victims in personal injury cases. One of these is that a court appearance is always required.
Hagelgans & Veronis has recovered more than $300 million for both adult and minor victims. We can help you navigate this process and take some of the burden while you focus on your child. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Meanwhile, here are the key differences between personal injury cases with minors versus adults.
What are the Differences in a Personal Injury Case with a Minor Victim?
The main differences in a personal injury case with a minor are:
- The amount of time you have to file
- Who can file
- How funds are disbursed
- A court appearance is always required
The actual filing of a personal injury case for a minor is very similar to filing a case for an adult. However, the courts have more involvement even if a settlement is reached. This is done to protect the interests of the minor victim.
Now, let’s look at each of these differences in detail.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Case for a Minor?
Section 2039 of the Pennsylvania state code lays out how personal injury cases with minors work. This rule states that the time for the minor to reach the age of majority does not count in the two-year time limit to file a personal injury case. This allows for the minor victim to file a personal injury claim if their parent or guardian does not do so while they are still a minor.
This rule gives parents more time to file their claims, which can be important. When your child is first injured, your primary focus is on your child’s health. This is as it should be, but it is still important to file your claim as quickly as possible. Ultimately, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases with a minor is two years past their eighteenth birthday.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim for a Minor in Pennsylvania?
According to Title 42 of the Pennsylvania state code, a minor cannot enter into contracts or agreements before the age of 18, and this includes settlements. However, they can file on their own behalf after their 18th birthday if a lawsuit was not previously filed for the injury.
A personal injury case filed while the victim is a minor can only be filed by the victim’s legal parent or guardian. This is clearly laid out in Rule 2039. A minor without a parent or guardian will need to wait until they are 18 to file their case.
How are Settlements Paid in a Personal Injury Case with a Minor?
In the state of Pennsylvania, settlements and awards up to $25,000 may be paid to the parent or guardian who filed the personal injury claim for the minor. Sometimes this amount may be structured as scheduled payments for the maintenance of the minor child. At other times, this amount may be paid out in one lump sum to cover excessive medical and care expenses.
Any amount over $25,000 is placed in a savings account in the minor’s name. No withdrawals can be made from this savings account until the minor reaches the age of 18. Some county courts in Pennsylvania have a policy of increasing this age limit to 22, but Lancaster and York counties are not among them.
What to Expect from the Courts in Personal Injury Cases for Minors
The courts are much more involved in personal injury cases for minors. This is to protect the interests of the child. Any settlement offer must be approved by the courts. In addition, it is up to the courts to determine how the settlement will be paid out, and at what age the minor child will be able to obtain the remaining funds from savings, if any.
You should not go through this process without an attorney. There are certain filings and statements that must be made in these cases. Our firm has years of experience with personal injury cases with minors.
Let Hagelgans & Veronis Ease Your Burden
You want to focus on healing your child, and that is the most important thing in this catastrophe. However, medical bills and care expenses must be paid. You may have lost income due to your child’s injury, and you may need additional care for them while they recover. For all of these reasons, you shouldn’t wait to file your personal injury claim.
Hagelgans & Veronis can ease your burden and allow you to focus on your child’s health. Contact us today at (717) 295-7009 for more information or to schedule a free consultation.