Recovering Damages For a Minor Who was Injured By a Negligent Person

Unfortunately, children are not immune from injury caused by a negligent or careless actor. If a negligent person injures your minor child, contact a lawyer specializing in personal injury claims right away. A professional is necessary when recovering damages for a minor because of the procedural and substantive intricacies at play.

When a person negligently injures a minor, two separate causes of action arise; the minor child has a cause of action for injuries suffered by it, and the parent or parents of the minor child have a cause of action for loss of services and for medical expenses incurred by the parent for the treatment of the minor’s injuries. The parent’s claim does not have to be joined in a single action with the minor’s claim for personal injuries; although that is commonly the case, there may be tactical reasons for separating the claims. An experienced personal injury attorney will advise you on whether your claims should be joined in one action or separated into two or more actions.

The minor child may recover damages for his or her injuries, pain and suffering, lost future wages, post-age of majority medical expenses, and permanent disability. Importantly, the statute of limitations is not a bar to a claim until three years after the child obtains the age of majority. The age of majority in Maryland is 18.

Conversely, medical expenses for minors, during their minority, are recoverable only by the parents who pay such expenses.[1] Parents are charged by Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law § 5-203 with the legal obligation to provide necessary medical care to their minor children. Consequently, when their minor child is negligently injured, Maryland courts have recognized that the right to recover for the attendant medical expenses is vested in the parents. By failing to file an action within three years of the incident giving rise to injury, the parents’ claim for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident prior to emancipation of the minor is barred by the statute of limitations. Contact an attorney immediately to avoid your claim being barred by limitations.

Furthermore, a parent is entitled to recover for the loss of services of a child resulting from the negligent injuring of the latter by another if such loss can be proven. Under Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law § 5-205, the parent is entitled to the services and earnings of a minor child.

Thus, a parent can bring a separate action to recover loss of services of the child or for a child’s loss of earnings or medical expenses.

[1] Medical expenses for minors incurred during their minority may also be recovered under the doctrine of necessaries by the minor who shows that the parents are unable or unwilling to pay such expenses. Garay v. Overholtzer, 332 Md. 339, 371 (1993).

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