In California, children under 18 years old are not permitted to file lawsuits. If your child was injured due to an individual’s or business owner’s negligence, you would need to file a personal injury claim on their behalf. One of the most important laws you need to understand to protect your child’s legal rights is the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to file your child’s complaint.
Child Injury Lawsuits Have Different Deadlines
The same statute of limitations rule applies in most types of personal injury cases in our state. This means that you will have the identical time period to sue if your child suffered injuries in a car, truck, bike, pedestrian, slip and fall, dog bite, daycare, or other personal injury accident. For adults, the deadline to file a complaint is two years from the date of the accident for personal injuries and two years from the date of death if a loved one was killed.
However, the statute of limitations to sue is different if the victim is under 18 years old. Here is how the rule works:
- The deadline is tolled or stopped until your child turns 18 years old.
- Your child would have two years from their 18th birthday to file their personal injury lawsuit.
Although you may have plenty of time before the time period to sue expires, it is best to retain an experienced child injury attorney as soon as possible after your child’s accident to file their claim with the insurance company and initiate a lawsuit if necessary. You build a much stronger case against the negligent party by taking these steps quickly since evidence becomes harder to locate as time passes.
If You Miss the Deadline, Your Case Will Be Dismissed
If you file a lawsuit after the time period to sue has expired, the negligent party will almost certainly file a motion to dismiss your case, which the judge will grant. If this happens, your child would lose their right to seek compensation for their injuries.
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Do you need to file a personal injury claim on behalf of your child? In addition to meeting the deadline to file their lawsuit, you will also need to follow special procedures to get the settlement approved by the court whether you settle the case with or without litigation. To learn how I will fight for your child’s rights, call my San Diego office to schedule your free consultation today.