Determining liability and awards in any personal injury case is never fun or easy. That is particularly difficult when the injured party is a minor. Do the rules differ, though, if the injured party is a minor? The following is how Utah and a personal injury lawyer handle injuries to minors due to the negligence of another party.
Liability is Liability
Regardless of how the child was injured, the rules of liability are the same. If the minor is injured because of negligence, they are eligible for a monetary award to cover those injuries and any future impact of those injuries.
Degrees of Fault
Part of that picture gets muddled by “comparative fault.” Comparative fault assigns a percentage of causation to an injury to all parties involved. That percentage is then subtracted from any award.
For example, a court might find that the defendant was responsible for 60% of the injury and the injured party was responsible for 40. An award would then be reduced by 40%.
Comparative fault applies to minors. If a minor is found to be responsible for contributing to their injury, say they were not in a child safety seat, a percentage of liability could be assigned to their claim, and that percentage could reduce any damages.
Minor Settlement Approval Process
When damages awarded affect a minor, a judge will review any settlement and confirm that the award is “reasonable and adequate” if the award exceeds $10,000.
The child’s attorney will file a petition demonstrating what the child’s injuries are, how the injury affects the child, how it will affect the child moving forward, how the monetary settlement will cover both and any maximum policy limits that apply.
Understanding child liability laws can help your attorney develop a successful legal strategy. If you are a minor or are the guardian of a minor injured by negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer at Robert J. DeBry & Associates for a free consultation.