How Do Accidents Involving Minors Differ From Those Involving Adults?

Accidents will involve a challenging and arduous process for just about anyone involved, whether it is an adult or a minor. However, the situation is often even more legally complicated when minors are involved. In California, specific laws and regulations apply to accidents involving minors from those involving adults, such as the legal capacity to make decisions, parental liability, and the requirement of a guardian ad litem for the litigation process.

Like adults, minors can also recover compensation if they have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Speak with a highly qualified personal injury lawyer for an assessment of your claim and legal guidance regarding your best path to obtaining a favorable outcome.

5 Key Differences of Accidents Involving Minors From Those Involving Adults

Accidents involving minors require unique legal requirements and obligations to protect their interests in personal injury claims. Consider the following five legal differences between accidents involving minors from those involving adults:

1. Legal Capacity

One of the most significant differences between accidents involving minors and adults is the legal capacity to make decisions. Minors are not legally capable of entering into contracts, including insurance contracts, without the consent of their legal guardian or parent. If a minor is involved in an accident, their parent or guardian must act on their behalf.

2. Negligence Laws

California follows a pure comparative negligence system, which means that each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to an accident. If a child is involved in an accident, they are held to the same standards as an adult. However, they may be evaluated differently, considering the minor’s age, experience, and other factors.

3. Parental Liability

In California, parents or legal guardians may be liable for the actions of their children. For example, if a minor causes an accident while driving, the minor’s parents may be responsible for damages incurred by the victim in the accident.

4. A Guardian Ad Litem Is Necessary

When a minor is involved in a personal injury claim, a guardian ad litem is required, which is a person who represents the minor throughout the legal process of litigation. Commonly, that person may be a parent or a legal guardian. If a parent is involved that may be partially or wholly liable for the accident, then one may be appointed by the court. A guardian ad litem is used to ensure that the best interests of the minor are protected.

5. Court Approval May Be Required

When adults are involved in an accident, the at-fault party and the victim may agree on a settlement without court involvement. In cases of minors, settlements must be presented in front of a judge by the minor’s guardian ad litem and the minor’s attorney for approval. The judge will then sign off if they agree the settlement is fair to the minor.

Contact the Highly Qualified Personal Injury Lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

To understand the California laws and regulations that may affect your accident claim if a minor is involved, speak with the highly qualified lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. We have over 30 years of experience navigating countless personal injury claims. We fight for the maximum compensation your child deserves and protect their best interests every step of the way.

Speak with a highly experienced child personal injury lawyer today by calling (916) 970-9100 or filling out our contact form.