Can I Bring a Lawsuit to Recover Compensation for My Child

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on September 10, 2020 and updated on March 7, 2022.

putting a bandage on a handAccidents and injuries involving children can be very difficult for parents, especially when it is serious. If these injuries were caused by the negligence of another, parents may have the right to take legal action to pursue just and fair compensation for their child’s medical treatment, pain and suffering and more.

While it is possible to seek a financial recovery on behalf of your child, it is important to know that personal injury cases for adults work differently than those for children. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers further discuss the unique issues that come with child injury cases.

An initial consultation is completely free and confidential without obligation to retain our legal services.

How Maryland Defines Minor Children

In Maryland, a minor child is considered anyone under the age of 18 who cannot bring a lawsuit for themselves. It is someone who has not yet become an adult. In the eyes of the law, the day a person turns 18 is the age of majority in which he or she is considered an adult and no longer a minor child.

Taking Legal Action on Your Child’s Behalf

Under Maryland Rule 2-202, you have the right to sue on behalf of your child to recover the compensation he or she needs to recover from his or her injuries. In legal terms, this is known as suing as the “next friend” of the injury victim. The state does allow “next friend” lawsuits in certain situations.

If you have sole custody of your child, you would have exclusive right to sue on your child’s behalf, generally within one year from the date of the accident.

If a lawsuit is not filed, anyone with interest in your child would be able to sue on his or her behalf. This could include the non-custodial parent as long as you are first notified of his or her intentions.

If both parents have custody of the minor child, either parent can sue on their child’s behalf.

Accepting a Settlement Offer

When you file a lawsuit on a child’s behalf, settlement offers can be accepted under the following terms:

  • If you are the only living parent, you could accept the settlement offer on your own
  • If you are not the only living parent, the settlement must get approved by each living parent of the child or after you have made a reasonable effort to notify each living parent, by the court
  • If the child has no surviving parents, any settlement offer must be approved by the court

How is My Child’s Settlement Distributed?

Once a case is won, the settlement can be distributed, but how that happens will depend on how much the child receives.

For instance, should your child receive less than $5000 from a settlement or verdict, these funds could be distributed into the parent or legal guardian’s account to be used for the child’s benefits.

On the other hand, if your child receives more than $5000 from a settlement or verdict, then these funds must go into a trust fund and the child would need to be named beneficiary. These funds are held until the minor child turns 18 years old. At 18, he or she would have exclusive access to these funds.

Get the Legal Help You Need Today

Has your child been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence? If so, it is important that you understand your rights and legal options as well as those of your child.

At the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we have represented many injury victims in Maryland for more than three decades and recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients.

Our firm also works on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs unless we help you obtain compensation for your child. We are available anytime, day or night, to take your call or chat online.

Get your free case review today. Ph: 410-244-7005.