Under Wisconsin law, if a child suffers an injury due to another’s negligence, his or her parent or legal guardian can file a personal injury claim on his or her behalf. Since cases involving minor children are different than those that involve adults, Wisconsin has some special rules that apply only to children’s personal injury claims.
First, an adult normally has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in the state of Wisconsin. This means that after this three year period has expired, the individual no longer has the right to file a personal injury claim. For minor children, however, the statute of limitations is different. A child who is injured in an accident has two years from the time that he or she reaches 18 years of age to file a personal injury claim. As a result, if a child’s parents fail to file a personal injury claim, the child will have two years after becoming a legal adult to bring a personal injury claim on his or her own behalf.
Second, children injured in accidents are not held to the same legal standard as adults injured in accidents. In a personal injury case, the question is whether the parties acted reasonably in light of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. When a child suffers an injury in an accident, he or she is not held to the reasonable standard for an adult, but only to the reasonable standard for a child if he or she is over the age of seven. If the child is under the age of seven, he or she cannot be found to be negligent in any way. Therefore, a court will compare a child’s actions in a particular situation to those of another child of similar age in the same situation.
Third, the courts provide protection for any damages awards that a child receives in a personal injury lawsuit. In other words, the child’s parent or guardian does not automatically receive the monetary award that belongs to the child. Instead, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to oversee the award, which can be used only for the child’s expenses related to the accident until the child reaches 18 years of age. After the child turns 18, the money can be released to him or her without restrictions.
At Boller & Vaughan, we know that whether you, your child, or another loved one suffers serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident or another type of accident can be a stressful, emotional, physically painful, and financially draining event. Allow us to take some of the burden of this situation from you and your family by handling your personal injury claim, which will allow us to work toward getting you the compensation that you need and deserve. As skilled Madison personal injury lawyers, we are here to help you through this ordeal from a legal perspective, while you concentrate on healing from your injuries and recovering from the financial impact of the accident.