When your child is involved in a slip & fall incident or even a car accident, does the law change for them?
In 2010, Canadians aged 10 to 19 experienced injuries that led to a cost of over 2.3 billion.
In most situations, a personal injury claim in adults and minors (anyone under the age of 18) is similar, however, there are some key differences that you should be aware of.
When figuring out how much compensation an injured person should receive, courts will consider how much that injured person’s own actions led to their injury. The more actions the court finds that put the person partly at fault for their own injuries, the less compensation the injured person will receive.
When an injury victim is an adult, the court uses a fairly general standard. What behaviour could be expected of a reasonable person in the same situation?
However, such a general standard usually can’t be applied to children. This is why the court will use a test or a standard that is specific to that stage of development of that child. What behaviour could be expected of a child of the same or similar age (example: a 5-year-old), with the same or similar level of intelligence and experience, and in this same situation?
When an injured minor receives compensation, the settlement money is often held in trust until the child reaches the age of majority (in Alberta, this is at age 18). This usually happens if the settlement amount is greater than $25,000. For amounts under $25,000, the child’s parent or guardian is usually in charge of the funds.
What this means is that the child will not have access to the awarded money until he or she is old enough. Keeping the money from being paid out to a minor is meant to protect that money from being misused, ensuring that the injured individual will have access to the full funds once they’ve reached the age of majority.
Of course, should the child need some funds to cover medical costs and therapies, there are processes in place to allow access to these funds. We suggest reaching out to a personal injury lawyer who can guide you through this process.
Since a minor can’t file a claim, a parent or guarding will be able to sue on the child’s behalf. This adult individual will be called the “litigation representative” on the Statement of Claim.
To settle the claim, courts in Alberta refer to the Minor’s Property Act.
Ensuring the Best Outcome
There are a lot of details to consider when filing a claim on behalf of a minor. For example, did you know there can be different limitation periods for minors than for adults? Children generally have two years after turning 18 to file a claim.
And as we already touched on, determining the amount of damages to award the child is a more complicated process than it already can be for adults.
We want to help you. At McGuiness Law, we have years of experience. We understand the legal terms, limitation periods, and how the courts and insurance companies work. When you work with us, you work with someone who does not see you as just another number and who fights in your corner to ensure that you receive the full compensation you are owed.
If you are interested to learn more, we are happy to offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Connect with us via the contact form on our website or by calling our toll-free number at 1-833-585-4145.