Legal Ease: When child is injured in car accident, special rules apply

It can be terrifying when your child has been injured in a car accident.

It can be terrifying when your child has been injured in a car accident.  You are concerned about his or her well-being and may be unsure of how to deal with ICBC because, as you may suspect, special rules apply to anyone under the age of 19 (a “minor”).

Although ICBC must be notified of the accident promptly, there is no obligation for your child to have a face-to-face meeting with ICBC. There is a duty to provide ICBC with a brief written statement, but that can be prepared and sent to them, assuming the child is old enough to provide one.

The usual two-year time limit for starting a lawsuit does not begin until the child’s 19th birthday. However, not all limitation periods are postponed because of age, so it is important to obtain legal advice soon after the collision to determine what applies in your child’s particular situation. Sometimes you have as little as 30 days to take the first legal step.

In order to start a lawsuit on behalf of a minor, an adult must be appointed as litigation guardian. This adult is responsible for instructing the lawyer and making decision on behalf of the child.

The litigation guardian is often a parent, but cannot be someone named as a defendant in the lawsuit. For example, if the child’s parent was driving and is being blamed for the accident, that parent would be named as a defendant in the lawsuit, and therefore unable to act as the litigation guardian. In that case, another family member or friend would need to be appointed to the role.

As you can see, there are special considerations when it comes to minors. A personal injury lawyer will be able to advise of your (and your child’s) rights and responsibilities.

Kim Briscoe is a personal injury lawyer with the law firm of Waterstone Law Group LLP.  She can be reached by email at kim@waterstonelaw.com

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