When a youngster gets behind the wheel, the damage from a serious car crash could sometimes be severe. You may be worried that you will not be able to seek compensation because the at-fault party is a minor. Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side could be very helpful so that your rights to seek compensation are protected.
If you or someone you love was involved in a collision with a minor, we recommend contacting a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer (by appointment only) from Frankl & Kominsky today. We know how to apply local and state laws and refer to past verdicts, to hold negligent parties liable for damages, including cases involving minors. We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations when deciding who to hire for legal representation.
Read on to learn more about your legal rights if your car accident injury was caused by a minor, and how our lawyers may be able to help you pursue compensation for your recovery. If your claim is valid, you could be eligible for compensation to help pay for your medical expenses, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering, property damage, and other costs related to the crash.
Can a Minor Be Held Liable?
When an accident is caused by a minor, the law has different standards for different age groups of children when determining liability. Young children seven years and under are considered too young to understand carelessness, which means they are generally not held liable. However, the parents or legal guardians could potentially be held liable for their negligence if it is proven that they failed to reasonably supervise the child.
When a child is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, he or she could be held accountable for injuries if it is proven that his or her actions were intentional. For example, a child could intentionally injure another child or intentionally throw an object at a moving vehicle that causes a crash. In these examples, both the child and the parents can possibly be held responsible for the damages.
Older kids are usually held liable for negligence if it is determined that they were not taking reasonable measures to be as careful as other children of the same age would be. When children reach the middle teenage years, they are generally held to the same standard as adults. When a minor drives a vehicle and causes an accident, he or she is held responsible for the same requirements as an adult.
Who Covers the Damages?
Although most children do not have the financial means to pay for damages caused in an accident, if they are determined to be the at-fault party, there are several ways the injured victim can still pursue compensation. Damages created by minors are often covered by insurance. If a minor was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash, either his or her own car insurance or the vehicle owner’s coverage may pay for the damages. Your lawyer can speak with the at-fault party’s insurance company to try to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Sometimes, damages in an accident can become so costly that you may need to find alternative forms of compensation. If the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance to cover the difference. We recommend speaking to one of our qualified attorneys if you are dealing with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
If the child is uninsured and you cannot recover the fair amount of compensation you legally deserve, you may need to file a lawsuit against the minor. The minor may then be held liable to cover the damages upon reaching adulthood, once he or she is 18 years of age, and earning a living (in the state of Florida).
What is a Guardian Ad Litem?
When a child is involved in an accident which exceeds $15,000, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, who is an independent person appointed by the court to represent the minor’s best interests. If the gross amount of the settlement is below $15,000, the parents or legal guardian can settle the claim without court intervention. According to Florida Statute 744.3025, if the gross amount is $50,000 or more, the court must appoint a guardian ad litem.
The guardian ad litem is not a parent or legal guardian of the minor. Instead, it is usually someone who has nothing to gain from the outcome of the case. He or she should act as a friend of the child and is responsible for reviewing the facts about the case and ensuring the best interests of the child are protected.
The guardian ad litem can make requests from the court on behalf of the child. He or she is tasked with filing a written report with recommendations and wishes from the child.
Learn More From a Legal Professional
Injury victims generally have a right to pursue legal action after a car crash, including accidents caused by minors. It is important to understand your legal options and consult with a legal professional before you settle your case. Injury victims who hire legal representation usually garner adequate settlement amounts as opposed to those who go at it alone.
Let the accomplished attorneys at Frankl & Kominsky hear the details of your claim during a free initial consultation. Our firm has helped our clients obtain over $100,000,000 in successful verdicts and settlements, combined. We also have more than 40 years of combined legal experience with over 6,000 clients represented. Our goal is to protect the rights of accident victims throughout Florida, including the West Palm Beach area (by appointment only).
There is no financial risk because our initial consultations to discuss what happened are complimentary. Your information is also always kept confidential. If you were injured in a crash caused by a minor, you may be able to recover for funds to cover medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Our phone lines are open 24/7. Call Frankl & Kominsky today at (855) 800-8000.