The law allows victims of negligence to take legal action against the at-fault parties in order to recover compensation for their injuries. For example, if someone is injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, they have the right to file a personal injury claim against the reckless driver to recover compensation for their injuries.
But sometimes, the victims of negligence are unwilling or unable to take legal action on their own. In this type of situation, family members or friends may want to step in and help their loved one take legal action and hold the at-fault party financially responsible. But, is it possible to file a personal injury case on behalf of a family member or friend?
Typically, the person who has been injured as a result of the defendant’s negligence is the only party that is allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit. After all, they are the only ones who are entitled to compensation for their injuries. However, there are several important exceptions to this rule. Here’s what you need to know:
Personal Injury Cases Involving Incapacitated Adults
Sometimes, the victim cannot take legal action on their own because they are disabled or incapacitated. In these situations, the court may appoint a friend or family member to act as the conservator of the victim. Once the conservatorship has been established, the legal guardian can file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of their ward.
Becoming a conservator is not easy. First, the friend or family member must file a petition to appoint a conservator with the court. Then, the court will schedule a hearing in the near future to discuss the matter. During the hearing, it is the friend or family member’s job to convince the court that a conservatorship is necessary. The requesting party must show that establishing a conservatorship is in the best interests of the incapacitated or disabled adult. If the court grants the request to establish a conservatorship, the conservator can work with an attorney to initiate the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The conservator has the authority to file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the victim, however they must ask the court for approval first. In fact, the court must approve all actions related to the lawsuit. This allows the judge to ensure that the decisions being made by the conservator are in the best interests of the victim. For example, the judge will review the personal injury attorney’s fee agreements to make sure that the attorney is not trying to take an unfair share of the personal injury settlement.
Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors
Children under the age of 18 are minors, which means they cannot file a lawsuit on their own. Minor children have the option of waiting until their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, a parent or legal guardian can file a lawsuit on behalf of the injured child before their 18th birthday. The parent or legal guardian would file the lawsuit as a “Next Friend,” which is a legal term used to describe someone who is involved in the legal process, but not a party to the lawsuit. If the parent or legal guardian of the child files the lawsuit, they are not entitled to the compensation awarded to the injured child.
If the child is seriously injured, the family will most likely need to establish a conservatorship to proceed with the personal injury lawsuit. This is because the law in Iowa requires the establishment of a conservatorship in personal injury cases involving minors if the minor is expected to receive more than $10,000 for their injuries. If an attorney believes your child’s case is worth more than $10,000, it’s important to initiate the process of establishing a conservatorship as soon as possible to avoid delays. A number of individuals, including the parents, legal guardians, attorney, or other independent parties could be appointed as the conservator.
Finding An Attorney For Your Loved One’s Personal Injury Case
Personal injury cases are complex—especially those involving an incapacitated or minor victim. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney to help with your case instead of attempting to handle it on your own.
Be sure to find a personal injury attorney who has experience representing clients who are filing personal injury claims on behalf of someone else. There are certain procedures and legal matters that are unique to these cases, so you will need an attorney who knows exactly what to expect. The attorney you choose should have a history of successfully recovering compensation for their clients. This way, you know they are capable of winning a difficult personal injury case.
Start looking for a personal injury attorney as soon as you realize you need to take legal action on behalf of your loved one. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to new clients, so it’s best to schedule these meetings with several attorneys in your area. This gives you an opportunity to meet a few different attorneys and ask each of them questions about their experience and their practice. After the meetings are over, you should have all of the information you need to determine who is the right attorney for your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent acts of another person, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Let our experienced personal injury attorneys explain all of the legal options available to you and your loved one. If you choose to take legal action, we will fight tirelessly to recover compensation on behalf of your injured loved one.