In most cases, a victim injured in a car accident caused by another driver has the option to file a personal injury claim. This lawsuit can give them the chance to recover compensation that could pay off their medical bills, rehabilitation and lost wages.
However, if the accident is serious enough or if the victim is a minor, they might not have the ability to file their own claim.
Victims who are minors
In New York, legal adults are at least 18 years of age. Anyone younger cannot file their own personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is typically three years from the date of the injury, so a 15-year-old minor could wait to file until they become a legal adult. However, waiting too long to file could decrease the strength of their claim.
Victims with traumatic brain injuries
If the accident is serious enough, it could lead to a traumatic brain injury that incapacitates the victim. Parents or legal guardians can file on behalf of an incapacitated individual, but they must prove that they are legally related to the victim. People can apply for guardianship of someone who has a permanent disability.
Victims who are mentally disabled
New York law may consider someone “incompetent” if they have a mental illness that makes them unfit to represent themselves in a case. Psychotic disorders and intellectual disabilities often fall under this category. In these cases, parents, legal guardians or court-ordered guardians could file for them.
Victims who cannot file their own personal injury lawsuit must have a legal guardian help them get the compensation they deserve.