It is difficult enough when adults are injured due to someone else’s negligence. But, when a child is injured, the result can be even more heartbreaking, and there generally are different laws applied to minors when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
First, it is important to understand that children and adults are not held to the same standard in the eyes of the law. Although laws vary from state to state, mostly, states adhere to the “Reasonable Child Standard of Care.”
That simply means that a minor person is not expected to be held to the same standard of “reasonableness” as an adult. Rather, a child is compared with other children of the same age; his or her behavior, intelligence, and experience is measured against similar behavior of children of the same age to determine “reasonableness.”
There are situations in some states where if a child is engaged in a typically adult activity, he or she may be held to the adult standard of care. But, by and large, children are treated differently, under the law.
Second, unlike strict statute of limitations applied in personal injury claims brought by adults, in New York, the statute of limitations clock for filing a personal injury lawsuit does not begin until he or she turns 18 years old. Generally, that would give the injured minor until age 21.
The flip side of that, of course, is that if a child sues for damages, he or she may not
receive a monetary award until age 18. Courts may make exceptions for medical bills, however. In that instance, reimbursement for medical expenses may be paid to the parents or guardians of the injured child.
It is always prudent to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney who
can answer all of your questions, and advise you of the best path to take to recover well deserved compensation for your injured child.