When an accident happens, walking out on your own two feet with only a few scrapes and bruises is considered to be quite fortunate. But sadly, in some accidents, like car accidents, injuries sustained may leave you disabled and cause you to lose the chance at a normal life forever.
The hurt and injuries, caused by someone else’s negligent actions, may not only impact the injured person but also their families and loved ones.
Usually, the injured party will seek justice for the damages of their property and any bodily harm they’ve sustained in their accident. Still, car accidents and other types of personal injures may lead to a lifetime of impairment, physical or psychological, as well as death.
In a case where an injured party is not able to seek justice for themselves, whether because of the gravity of their medical condition or because they have passed away, the Law permits the members of their family to file the lawsuit on their behalf.
The intricate design of the law, as always, requires certain standards to be met in order for a person to file a lawsuit on a loved one’s behalf. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney could be an irreplaceable asset. They would explain the legal process, gather all documentation and make the lawsuit a much less stressful situation.
Requirements for Filing a Lawsuit on Behalf of Another
In order for a family member to be allowed to file a lawsuit on a behalf of their loved one, the following conditions must be fulfilled:
The Injured Is Impaired
The law recognizes both physical and mental impairment. Physical impairment implies that the plaintiff (the person injured by negligent actions of another) is not able to file a lawsuit themselves because of their medical condition.
Car accidents are known to put people in a coma for days on end or cause total paralysis that would enable them to leave their bed, let alone file a personal injury claim. Mental impairment means that the person injured no longer has the ability to make sound decisions on their own, thus they would need someone who has the mental capacity to understand the legal process to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
Cases like this usually involve a fatal car accident and when a person dies in a crash, their family members may file a lawsuit. However, in wrongful death cases, only immediate family members like a spouse, a parent, or a child may file a lawsuit.
The Injured Is a Minor
Minors cannot file a personal injury lawsuit and they have to wait until they are 18 years old to be able to pursue their claim. However, if the minor was disabled as a cause of their accident, their parents or legal guardian may have the right to hire a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit on their child’s behalf.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Following their accident, your loved one may require constant care. This can make filing a lawsuit on your own a very stressful task. A good personal injury attorney can gather all the necessary documentation and support you in the lawsuit on behalf of your family member.
They will help you pursue a settlement befitting the level of impairment of the injured loved one and the details of the accident.
Filing a lawsuit for your family member who was injured or was disabled as a cause of an accident should not be done right away. A top Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Megeredchian Law recommends waiting a certain amount of time which will help determine the gravity and level of your loved ones injuries as well as something that is called MMI. MMI is short for ‘Maximum Medical Improvement.
When an injured person reaches the stage where they are as healthy as they ever will be following their accident, then you should consider pursuing a personal injury claim or filing a lawsuit. You can always consult with a personal injury lawyer and pursue a claim on behalf of a loved one earlier, even before they reach MMI, but an MMI evaluation will offer both you and your attorney a better understanding of all injuries or damages you are ultimately seeking compensation for.
If your family member was injured in a car accident, you may contact an experienced car accident attorney specialized in these types of cases. In any other case, you may reach out to any other type of personal injury lawyer.
Advising with a personal injury lawyer will also help you honor all state law deadlines set for filing a lawsuit. The deadline is called a statute of limitations and can vary from state to state.
In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim is 2 years from the day the injury or death occurred.
Within this timeframe, the plaintiff (the injured party) is permitted to file a personal injury claim, or if the criteria are met, have a family member file a lawsuit on their behalf. If the lawsuit or claim is not filed on time, the plaintiff would lose all rights to recover their damages.