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Washington State Minor Child Personal Injury Claims

Attorney for Washington State Minor Child Personal Injury Claims

Was your child injured in a motor vehicle accident or as a result of someone’s negligence? Clark Law and Associates, LLC handles cases for minor children injured as a result of someone’s negligence. Our location in Portland, Oregon is convenient for children living in Oregon who were injured in Washington State or for Vancouver Washington or Clark County residents. We handle the following types of minor child personal injury cases:

Who hires a lawyer for a child in a personal injury claim?
Unless the minor is emancipated, a parent or legal guardian signs a fee agreement on behalf of a minor child for a personal injury case.

Who is the Plaintiff in a child’s personal injury claim?
In order to file a lawsuit, the child must be appointed a settlement guardian ad litem approved by the court. This is usually one of the child’s parents or guardians who preferably has a clean criminal record and no recent bankruptcy filing.

When there is a settlement or award in the child’s case, how is the money distributed?
The money is distributed as follows:

  • Attorney’s fees and expenses. If someone other than the attorney advanced litigation costs, then these are usually reimbursed to the person who advanced the litigation costs.
  • Governmental or insurance liens for medical bills paid in relation to the case.
  • Unpaid case-related medical bills are paid. Or, if someone other than a governmental agency or insurance company paid the child’s medical bills in relation the to the case, such as the parent, then this person is reimbursed out of settlement.
  • The minor child gets what is left after all of the above are paid as compensation for his/her non-economic damages, which includes pain, suffering and inconvenience.

Who receives the child’s money? The child should receive money for his/her non-economic damages. Clark Law & Associates, LLC follows all legal requirements for distribution of a minor’s funds under Oregon law or Washington law. The applicable statue for for Washington State Minor Child Cases is SPR 98.16. The purpose of the statutes is to require that the funds be protected until the minor child’s 18th birthday. In Washington State a judge must approve a minor child settlement for all children living in Washington and approve of where the funds will be deposited until the child turns 18.

What is the statute of limitations for a Washington child personal injury claim?
Under RCW 4.16.080 the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. If a parent has paid out of pocket for their child’s medical expenses in relation to a personal injury claim, it is advisable to settle or file the case within three years to be on the safe side. Under RCW 4.16.190 the statue of limitations is tolled until a child turns 18, with the exception of certain types of claims under RCW 4.16.350 such as medical malpractice claims. In 1995, the Washington Supreme Court held in a medical malpractice case called Gilbert v. Sacred Heart Medical Center that the statute of limitations was tolled until the minor turned 18, at which point the minor is held to possess the same knowledge of the injuries as the parents or custodial guardian. Given that statutes and case law in relation to statutes can change, it is best to get representation sooner rather than later. Despite the extended statute of limitations for minors, it is advisable to file a lawsuit sooner rather than later, as evidence can be lost and defendants can be difficult to find after a long period of time. Additionally, any settlement or award funds can be in the bank collecting interest while the child is waiting to turn 18.

How soon do I need to contact an attorney for my child’s personal injury claim? It is important to seek legal help as early as possible for your child’s injury claim. Not only do you want to make sure that your child’s incident related bills are paid, you want your child’s financial future to be secured with any non-economic damages that the child deserves. If a doctor states that your child will have future incident-related medical bills your child will need compensation to cover them. Prior to filing a lawsuit, medical records and bills and other evidence must be gathered. Advance notice to the at-fault party should also be given. Many cases can be settled without the need for a lawsuit, so long as the case is settled before the statute of limitations. However, you may need the assistant of an attorney to obtain court approval for a Washington State minor child settlement.Call (503) 238-1010 for a free initial phone consultation.

Disclaimer: Legal information on this site may not be timely updated. Any information on this site is not a substitute for legal representation.