If your child was injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, they may be entitled to compensation from the negligent property or business owner. However, their claim would be different than an adult’s claim. Here are four important differences you need to know about.
#1: The Time Period to Sue Is Extended
The statute of limitations, which is the deadline to file a lawsuit, is extended for a child. An adult has two years from the date of the premises liability accident to file their complaint.
The time period for a minor child to sue is put on hold until they turn 18 years old. They have two years from the date of their 18th birthdate to file a lawsuit.
#2: A Child Is Held to a Different Standard
Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law. If an adult victim in a premises liability accident were even one percent at fault in causing their injuries, they would not be entitled to any compensation from the negligent property or business owner.
However, children are held to a different standard of conduct. It would be much more difficult for the insurance company to raise the contributory negligence defense to deny their claim. The rules for minor children are:
- A child under seven years old is considered incapable of negligence.
- A child between seven and fourteen is presumed to be incapable of negligence. However, the presumption would be rebuttable, and the insurance company could introduce evidence that the child understood the risks of their actions.
#3: A Child’s Settlement May Require Court Approval
In most cases, a child’s settlement of a premises liability claim must be approved by a court. This is not true for adults, who can settle their claims with the insurance company without needing a court hearing. Before deciding whether to approve the settlement, a judge would most likely appoint a guardian ad litem for the child to ensure the settlement is fair and their rights are protected.
#4: A Child Would Not Receive Funds Until They Are 18 Years Old
Unlike an adult, a child would not have access to their settlement proceeds until they turn 18 years old. The court clerk could hold the funds in an interest-bearing account until their 18th birthday, when the proceeds would be released to them.
Was your child injured in a slip and fall or another premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? You need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney who will fight for the compensation they deserve for their injuries. To find out how we can help you and your child, call our office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.