Graison Foster: What are some of the important legal considerations that a parent has to consider if their child has been injured due to someone else’s negligence?
Chris Davis: Well, legally speaking, because the child is a minor, the minor cannot bring the case on their own so a guardian has to be appointed by the court. Frequently that is the parent but not in every case. For instance, a common argument that we get from insurance companies is that the parent had something to do with the child’s injury and that can create a conflict, so sometimes the parent cannot act as a guardian. So, as a lawyer, I have to go to court and actually have someone be appointed. Second of all, when it comes to settlement process, any claim involving a child actually has to be approved by the court, by a judge. To accomplish that, the judge will appoint a person to investigate the child’s claim; the person is called a Settlement Guardian Ad Litum. [TR1] All that means is that a person, usually a lawyer with experience in personal injury law, investigates the child’s claim, makes sure the settlement is fair and reasonable, that the settlement funds are being appropriately allocated and invested if necessary. Those are probably the two biggest differences when you’re dealing with child injury claims versus adult claims.