The California Legal Process for Injured Children
California makes it real simple for  children, and parent's of children, to navigate the courts when it comes time for a child's settlement.  First, if the settlement amount is above $5,000.00, then a parent should know two things:  1)  a California lawyer is needed, and California court approval of the settlement is required.  A parent cannot represent the child on his or her own, as this would be constituted the unauthorized practice of law in California. This area of the law is one of the narrow exceptions that disallows "pro per" (or not using a lawyer) representations. Check out my FAQ's Section on California Child Injuries & Accidents for more specific answers on specific situations facing an injured child and the legal process.

The Reason a Guardian is needed for an Injured Minor Child

A child must be represented by a guardian in court, or when a settlement for bodily injuries is being approved by the court.  California law makes it a requirement that a person must have “legal standing” and “legal capacity” to sue for injuries.  “Legal standing” simply means a person has a real interest with respect to the claim or issue for a court to grant a remedy, and “legal capacity” means a person has an ability or legal right to be in court in the first place.  Thus, all minors (all children under age 18 in California), except for narrow exceptions, all lack capacity to sue in their own names.  Instead, all legal actions must be conducted through a guardian, conservator of the estate, or guardian ad litem, per the California Civil Procedure Code Section 372(a).

Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to representing families of people injured in personal injury accidents including car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, product defects, and the like. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in an accident in San Diego, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in an California accident.