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Texas personal injury attorneyAs a parent, you probably worry about your child’s safety on a near-constant basis. Unfortunately, unexpected accidents happen every day, and sometimes, the victims of those accidents are the most vulnerable among us. If your child was injured in a car crash, amusement park or carnival accident, slip and fall accident, or another incident caused by negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on your child’s behalf. Personal injury claims involving children are notoriously complicated, so working with an experienced lawyer is crucial.

Understanding Personal Injury Claims Involving Children

Personal injury claims are often based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a party has a “duty of care” and fails to uphold the duty. For example, the owner/operator of a carnival has a duty to ensure that the rides are safe, well-maintained, and do not present a risk of injury to riders. Drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and drive responsibly. Tire manufacturers have a duty to ensure that the tires are manufactured correctly and do not contain defects that could lead to blowouts. When a party’s negligence causes someone to be hurt or killed, the injured person may be entitled to damages. In most personal injury cases, the case is resolved through a settlement before the case moves to trial. However, the settlement process is different when the injured person is a child.

Settling a Personal Injury Claim Involving a Minor

Typically, when an adult is injured in an accident, he or she hires a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or other liable party. Children are not legally permitted to file a lawsuit. Instead, a representative, typically a parent, stands in for the child. This stand-in is called “next friend” in Texas. If the claim is resolved through a settlement, the parties are usually required to attend a hearing that takes place in front of a judge. A “guardian ad litem” is usually appointed to represent the injured child’s best interests.

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