What If a Personal Injury Case Involves a Minor?
The law treats minors differently than adults in many cases. Personal injury cases are no exception. For example, did you know that when a minor is injured in Colorado, the statute of limitations – which can be one, two, or three years from the time of the injury, depending on the case – does not start running until the child turns 18?
What if Your Child is Injured?
Few things can be as terrifying to a parent as a child who has been seriously injured. Whether it is receiving a call from the highway patrol about a car accident, watching your child fall from shoddy playground equipment, or hearing your toddler choke on an unsafe toy, it is enough to make a parent’s heart stop.
In Colorado, it is up to the parents to pursue a personal injury claim if their minor child is injured in an accident. While that might seem obvious, most parents do not realize that once it comes time to talk about settlements, they might have to receive approval from a probate court under Rule 16. This is to preserve any proceeds until the child reaches the age of majority and protect the child’s best interests overall. This is usually only required when the settlement figure is greater than $10,000 or when the defendant’s insurance company insists on it.
What if You are Injured by a Minor?
Like most states, Colorado has a parental responsibility law, which holds a parent (or legal guardian) responsible for damages their child inflicts upon someone else. This can apply to property damage, intentional injury, and even accidental injury.
The law holds a minor’s parents responsible “if the minor maliciously, or willfully, damages, or destroys, property (real or personal) belonging to another.” Colorado limits such recovery to the actual damage amount, with a cap of $3,500, in addition to attorney’s fees and court costs. Parents of the minor who injured you can also be liable for bodily injuries if their child inflicted those injuries intentionally. Recovery is similar to property damage, with parents held responsible for the injury costs.
Even if it does not involve your child, if you are in a car accident with a minor, you may be legally entitled to file a claim against that minor’s parents. Whatever the circumstances, the law is riddled with limits, exceptions, and revisions, which is why it is critically important to retain legal representation when pursuing a personal injury claim either on behalf of or against a minor.
If your child has been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, or you have been injured because of the actions of another child, you need to choose representation who understands the specifics of complicated personal injury claims involving a minor. Call us immediately to speak with a Colorado personal injury lawyer at 303-792-5595 or fill out a Free Case Evaluation form for more information right now!