Can You File an Injury Claim on Behalf of Someone Else?
Filing an injury claim on behalf of another person is a process that, understandably, tends to be more complex than filing your own case. It is possible, but the court will usually want to see documentation proving your right to handle legal matters for the victim. Let's look at how this may work.
Parent of a Dependent Minor
The simplest version of this sort of case involves the child of two genetic parents who are currently married. With both genetic parents married, there is little risk that two parties might file separate claims and create a dispute over who has the right to file.
Generally, one of the two parents will take the lead and act as the claimant by exercising their right to make legal decisions for their kid. An insurer or a judge may ask for proof of parentage before letting a claim or suit move ahead.
Hypothetically, it should not be more complicated in a case where a couple has split up and one has primary custody. Ideally, this has been established in family court. In that scenario, the custodial parent would proceed like normal. The big difference would be the court would want to see proof of custody.
This can get messy if there isn't a formal agreement in place. However, that's a family court issue and not a matter for a personal injury lawyer. Injury attorneys don't handle that side of the matter, and prospective claimants should resolve those disputes before filing.
Minors' Rights Upon Entering Adulthood
Notably, minors may be able to take control of their cases once they become adults. Also, they may be able to cancel some of the agreements their parents previously entered into. This can become an issue if, for example, a parent signed an injury liability waiver with a school sports program.
Insurers and judges set a much higher bar for anyone filing injury claims on behalf of adult dependents. Ideally, a court should have already established a guardianship before you file a claim. Understandably, you will be asked to document this fact if you file a claim or lawsuit.
In the absence of existing legal recognition of decision-making power, the court will assess the victim's ability to make choices. For example, a judge may want to speak with an injured spouse to determine if they can understand what's going on. If that person can't, such as due to brain trauma, the judge would likely allow their partner to pursue a claim.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer to find out if you can file a case.