Mississippi Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors
In the U.S. in 2014, more than 121,000 children ages 12 years and younger were injured as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. If a child is injured in an accident, the minor may be able to assert a claim for damages against the person responsible.
Filing on Behalf of a Minor
Mississippi considers a “minor” as anyone under the age of 21. A claim can be filed on behalf of a minor by the child’s parents or custodial guardian. These parents or guardians are the ones who are responsible for the care, maintenance, and education of the child. Paying for medical costs are included in these responsibilities.
This claim can be filed seeking compensation for medical costs due to injuries sustained in the accident. These medical costs can include immediate medical attention as well as treatment required at a later date, such as physical therapy.
Special Procedures for Minors
For the most part, obtaining compensation for injuries and damages sustained by a minor is similar to those for an adult with the exception that the claim is brought on behalf of the minor rather than by the minor him or herself. The filing makes note that the parent or custodial guardian is filing on behalf of the minor, but the proceedings are the same, the trial is the same and the outcomes are similar.
The major difference when handling a claim on behalf of a minor instead of an adult is how the settlement proceedings are handled. Under Mississippi law, all settlements with minors must be approved by the chancery court. The chancery court is the court that handles all matters of equity, like adoption, guardianships, probate and matters pertaining to juveniles.
Chancery courts are very particular when it comes to settlement agreements made on behalf of a minor. This is to ensure that the outcome of any settlement agreement is made for the best interest of the child and not for the parents. It may be tempting for an unscrupulous parent to take a quick payout and sacrifice an injured child’s needs to meet his or her own. As such, many chancellors (judges in the chancery court) have the power to reject proposed settlements. Even after a settlement is reached, the court may dictate that the funds be held in restricted guardianship accounts for the child. Annual accountings may have to be done to account for the funds to ensure that the funds are being spent on the child’s needs and not the parents’ needs.
Consult with a Professional; Personal Injury Attorneys Serving the Greater Biloxi Area
If your child was injured in an auto collision, maritime incident or any other sort of accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The Biloxi attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy Guice have decades of experience handling personal injury claims and helping to ensure that their clients, including minor children, receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Do not risk your child’s future. Consult with our attorneys to determine what the best course of action may be.