Was Your Child Injured in an Accident? Four Things to Know About the Personal Injury Claims Process in Washington
December 22, 2021 – Matt Albrecht
Was your child injured due to negligence of another party? Your family deserves justice and financial compensation. For parents, there are few things more difficult than seeing their child seriously injured in an accident—it is even worse when that accident should never have happened.
You can initiate a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of your child. Washington has some unique rules and regulations in place regarding child injury cases. In this article, our Spokane personal injury attorneys highlight four key things to know about child injury claims in Washington.
1. A Parent or Guardian May File a Personal Injury Claim On Behalf of a Child
A minor does not have legal standing to file a personal injury lawsuit on their own behalf. Instead, Washington law allows their parents or guardians to initiate the claim. Under RCW 4.24.010, a parent or guardian who has “regularly contributed to the support of his or her minor child” has legal authority to bring a personal injury lawsuit. You can represent your child in the claims process.
2. There is an Exception to the Washington Statute of Limitations for Minors
In Washington, most personal injury cases must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. However, there is an exception for minors. Generally, the personal injury statute of limitations does not start until a minor’s 18th birthday—meaning a child may have more time to bring a claim. That being said, you do not have to wait to take legal action.
3. Damages Can Be Difficult to Measure in Child Injury Cases
Child injury claims are challenging for many different reasons. The damages sustained by a child can sometimes be hard to measure. A parent has the right to seek compensation for actual out-of-pocket losses (medical bills), future damages (anticipated medical bills), and non-economic losses such as a child’s pain and suffering. As noted in the Washington Pattern Jury Instructions–Civil, a jury in a child injury case is tasked with figuring out “the amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate the plaintiff.”
4. A Washington Court Must Sign Off On Any Personal Injury Settlement for a Child
Most personal injury cases are resolved through settlement, not through a jury verdict. There is no exception for child injury claims. However, Washington does have a special regulation in place to protect the best interests of children. A Washington court must approve of any personal injury settlement agreed to on behalf of a child. In general, courts give significant deference to parents who are represented by a qualified Washington personal injury attorney.
Call Our Spokane, WA Personal Injury Attorney Today
At Albrecht Law PLLC, our Spokane personal injury lawyers are compassionate, justice-driven advocates for families. If your child was injured due to negligence, we are here to help you fight for accountability and compensation. Contact us now for a free review of your case. We handle child injury claims in communities all around Eastern Washington, including Spokane, Cheney, Reardan, Mead, Deer Park, Freeman, Pine City, Rockford, Spokane Valley, and Fairfield.
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