Rights of Family Members & Dependants in a Personal Injury Case
Disabled or incapacitated victims
The court may approve a lawsuit filed by a family member or friend of a personal injury victim who is incapacitated or disabled. This person will act as the conservator of the victim. This simply means that he/she will be established as a legal guardian of the victim. Legal guardians can file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim.
There are processes that must be followed in order to be appointed as the legal guardian of the victim. For instance, the victim will be required to file a petition to appoint a friend or family member as the conservator. This matter will be discussed at a hearing in court where the family member is required to convince the court that a legal guardian is required because of the circumstances of the case.
Ideally, the court is looking to determine if establishing a conservator will be in the best interests of the victim who is incapacitated or disabled. Even after the court approves the legal guardian, he/she must submit all actions such as the intention to file a lawsuit, to the court for approval. The judge will then act in the best interest of the victim. For instance, the judge may want to review the legal fees and ensure that the lawyers will not take an unfair share of the compensation should the personal injury claim be successful.
If the personal injury case involves a minor, that’s any person below age 18, a parent or legal guardian can file the lawsuit on their behalf. In this case, the person filing the lawsuit on behalf of the minor is legally referred to as the “next friend”. Keep in mind that a parent or guardian who files a lawsuit on behalf of their child is not entitled to the compensation that will be awarded to the victim.
In cases where the lawyer believes that the compensation may be worth more than $10,000, you may be advised to establish a conservatorship as soon as possible. The conservator could be the parent, legal guardian, a lawyer or any other independent party who is not directly involved in the case.
Get legal help immediately
Personal injury claims can be extremely complex especially if you are filing a claim on behalf of someone else. You need to identify a personal injury lawyer who will provide all the information you need and gather all the necessary evidence to build a strong case. Reach out today and let our experienced lawyers at Grillo explain all the available options to you.