Can A Child Sue For Wrongful Death?


When a parent passes away as a result of the negligence of another party, the minor children are entitled to wrongful death compensation. The adult who is responsible for the child is able to file a lawsuit on behalf of the child. Afterward, the settlement can be distributed to the guardian of the minor. However, because the settlement will play a large role in the well-being of the child, it's important that this process be carefully managed by an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Why Someone Must Sue On Behalf of a Minor

A minor is not allowed to file a lawsuit. However, the adult should still discuss the lawsuit with the child and get their opinion. For example, if it's not clear if your child will have a chance of winning the wrongful death lawsuit, you may want a wrongful death lawyer to explain their chances. 

Minors will often want to ignore emotionally difficult circumstances such as a wrongful death lawsuit so it falls upon adults to handle the case for them. Children will also sometimes not understand how difficult and lengthy a wrongful death case can be if it goes to trial and if the case is very complicated.

Natural Guardians Vs. Property Guardians

A natural guardian is the child's mother or father, whether biological or adopted. For example, if both of the child's parents have passed away and the child is adopted by relatives, the relatives would become natural guardians. 

A property guardian is a guardian who is included in the will of the deceased parent which names an individual who is responsible for watching after the property of the deceased parent until the child has become an adult and must use the property in a manner that is in the best interests of the child.

For example, if the child becomes ill, the property may be used to pay for medical expenses. In some cases, the individual who has custody of the child may also be in control of the child's property, but this is not always the case.

The Role of the Will

The property, including what is left of the wrongful death settlement, will be given to the child when they turn 18 unless there are other arrangements made in the will. The will is relevant because the settlement amount will often be made a part of the estate. However, a wrongful death attorney should be able to explain exactly how the settlement might be distributed.

Contact a local wrongful death attorney to learn more.


15 March 2021

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