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Can a Child Sue in California?

Can a Child Sue without a Parent?

When a parent dies in a car accident leaving young children behind, do they have a right to sue? Under California law, a person isn’t an adult until they are 18 which means they can’t enter into a legally binding contract and do not have the same rights as adults.

When someone injures another person, that person can hire an attorney and sue the person who hurt them, and this requires several documents to be signed. A contract with an attorney, court pleadings and affidavits all need to be signed by an adult.

So, can an infant or other minor sue someone?

The Right to Sue

Technically, the right to sue someone doesn’t vest until the person is an adult which means the person can sue once they turn 18. California law allows for the statute of limitations to be put on hold until the minor turns 18.

However, this means than any compensation needed for treatment, rehabilitation, long-term care and other losses has to wait until then. To remedy this, California law allows for the appointment of an adult to sue on behalf of the child. In most cases this person is the guardian of the child, but when the guardian was the one that was killed, the law allows another person to be appointed.

Money Put in Trust

The compensation for the loss of a parent to a minor will be put in trust under court order and only be used for certain approved expenses for the child, and any funds left over will go to the child when he or she turns 18.

The funds in the trust can be used while the child is still a minor for certain needs for the child. Some of the most common are:

• Medical needs
• Rehabilitation
• Counseling/Therapy
• Education (when disability from crash is present)
• Transportation (related to injuries/therapy)

These are just a few, and ultimately the court can decide if there is a dispute over the disbursement of the funds.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer.

After any accident involving a serious injury in the Central Valley, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.


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