Can I Bring a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child in Dallas, TX?

Was your child injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, or some other type of accident in Dallas, TX? If they were, you may wish to pursue a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.

Thus, you may be wondering if you are able to bring a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf. Fortunately, you can bring a case on behalf of your minor child in most cases.

These cases have special procedures that are unique from other types of personal injury cases. It’s important to consult a knowledgeable Dallas personal injury attorney with experience filing cases on behalf of children.

Our experienced Dallas child injury lawyer is here to help. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today. 

Who Has the Right To File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child In Texas?

Who Has the Right To File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child In Texas?

In Texas, minors cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. However, a “next friend” can file such a case on their behalf. You qualify as a child’s “next friend” if you are their parent or guardian.

Other people who may qualify as a child’s next friend include:

  • Sibling
  • Aunt or uncle
  • Grandparent 
  • Close family friend
  • Cousin

Generally, it is the parents who will bring a “next friend” or “friendly” case.

How Do I Recover Compensation on Behalf of a Minor Child?

To recover compensation on behalf of your minor child in Texas, you must generally prove that the at-fault party was negligent. 

To do this, you must establish the following four elements:

  • The defendant owed the minor a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • The minor suffered injuries (called damages)
  • The defendant caused those damages

You must prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence.

What Damages Are Available After a Child is Injured?

When a child is injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the “next friend,” on behalf of the child, can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are the financial consequences of the accident or injury. They may also be called tangible damages or special damages, and include: 

Non-economic damages are the other consequences of an accident or injury. They may also be called intangible damages or general damages, and include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of quality of life

Additionally, under Texas law, if the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence, you may also be able to recover punitive damages (or exemplary damages) on behalf of the minor child. 

How Much Is My Child’s Personal Injury Case Worth?

There’s no simple formula for calculating the value of a personal injury claim. There are many factors that can influence the ultimate value of your child’s case. These include:

  • The extent of your child’s injuries
  • The nature of the accident
  • Whether your child was partly at fault in the accident, if they were old enough to be considered partly at fault
  • The extent of any other damages your child suffered
  • The insurance policy limits

Your attorney will explain how these factors, and any other relevant considerations, influence the value of your child’s case.

How Are Damages Paid Out on Behalf of a Child?

In many personal injury cases on behalf of a child, court approval of a settlement will be required to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests.  The court will appoint a guardian ad litem to evaluate the case and the proposed settlement and inform the court whether it is in the child’s best interests.

Once a settlement is reached or a jury verdict is issued, the court will usually not pay that money directly to the parent or other “next friend.” Generally, there are two ways a court may pay out the money instead:

  • Purchasing an annuity that will pay out over a period of years or decades
  • Placing funds in an account that the child can access when they turn 18 years old

As the child’s parent, you will be able to give the court your opinion regarding these two options, but the decision will ultimately be made by the court. 

How Long Do I Have To Bring a Personal Injury Case on Behalf of a Child?

In Texas, you generally have two years after an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If the case is not filed on time, you won’t be able to bring the lawsuit on behalf of the child.

A statute of limitations can be tolled until the child turns 18, allowing them to bring the case on their own behalf. But depending on the age of the child, this can result in the evidence being lost, medical and other bills mounting, and it otherwise being difficult to pursue a claim for damages. 

That’s why a parent or other close relative can bring a case on behalf of a child as a next friend. You can timely pursue compensation on the child’s behalf so their rights are protected. 

An experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer will calculate the deadline in your child’s case and ensure that it is filed on time.  

Contact Our Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Bringing a Claim on Behalf of a Child Today

If your minor child was injured in an accident in Dallas, TX, due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation on their behalf for injuries and losses they’ve suffered.

Don’t become overwhelmed by the legal process. Contact Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your case. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, contact us online today or call (214) 855-1420.