What happens when a minor is injured?

 

Minors are treated specially by the law in Michigan.  Because a minor does not have the capacity to sue, a person must be appointed by the court to represent the minor.  This person is called the Next Friend.  The Next Friend makes the important client decisions in the case for the minor.  A Next Friend is usually a parent or another relative but can be anyone the court approves for this position.  Your lawyer will request the judge appoint the person of your choosing to act as Next Friend.

 

If the parents or guardian of a minor have spent money for the minor’s care because of the injury they are entitled to be reimbursed for the amount spent.  Any other funds that are received for a minor belong to the minor and are kept in trust for the minor’s benefit.  The law mandates that the funds be protected.   An attractive option for the minor is the structured settlement.  This is where funds are placed into an annuity and payable after the child reaches adulthood.  There are cost and tax advantages to the structured settlement.  Your lawyer should be able to advise you of the ways to maximize the recovery for the minor child.

 

Minors generally have a longer time than adults within which to bring a legal claim.   For most claims, a child has until he or she reaches their 19th birthday.   An exception is for medical malpractice.  An attorney should be contacted as soon as malpractice is suspected to make sure the child’s right to bring suit is protected.

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