Determining Who Can Sue for Injury Damages
When a person is injured certain legal rights may arise for money damages against the person who caused the injury. While it quite clear that the injured person can sue for damages, it is more difficult to determine who else might be permitted to sue the tortfeasor for damages. Under California law, the following are permissible plaintiffs: 1) Competent Adult (Spouse); 2) Incompetent Person (Guardian or Conservator); 3) Injured Minor (Guardian or Parent); 4) Injured Person’s Estate; 5) Injured person’s Employer
Competent Adult (Spouse) Right to Sue
Usually, the lead and the only plaintiff in damage recovery for injury lawsuits is the competent adult who personally suffered the bodily injury. However, in cases where the injured person does not choose to sue, his/her spouse may seek to recover her own damages. In such cases, the spouse becomes the plaintiff.
- Medical Expense of treatment: regardless whether or not the injured person paid or had to pay for these expenses, he/she is entitled to recover them. If it was the spouse that paid or had to pay, it is advised that he/she claim and recover damages for medical expenses.
- Earnings: there are two ways to recover for such damages. First and the most common way, the injured person may claim and recover damages for his/her loss of earnings and capacity. Second, he/she can waive such right and authorize his/her spouse to recover the damages as loss of the spouse’s services.
- Services to Injured Person: when services to the injured person is provided by a spouse or a hired individual, both the injured person and his/her spouse may recover damages for such costs.
Incompetent Person (Guardian or Conservator) Right to Sue
A lawsuit for an injured insane or incompetent person can be filed in two ways. First, it could be brought in his/her name by the guardian or conservator. Second, by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court. Detriment damages suffered by the incompetent person must be distinguished from detriment damages suffered by his/her guardian, conservator or estate. Therefore, the damages that may be recovered for this type is the former one.
In the case where damages were recovered, awarded compensation is often set in a blocked account that is paid out to the incompetent person only on court order.
Injured Minor (Guardian or Parent) Right to Sue
Similar to actions made on behalf of an incompetent person, any action for purposes of damages recovery must be sustained by a guardian or an estate ad litem. Parents may also recover damages for some detriment types.
- Parental Injury: damages may be recovered by a minor for injury that occurred whether or not the minor was born (in his/her mother/s womb or was being born).
- Medical Expense: Regardless of whether or not the parent(s) or guardian(s) paid for these expenses, when there is evidence that they waived their damages recovery cause of action, a minor through his/her parents or guardians or ad litem may recover their reasonable value. Unless the expenses were paid from the minor’s fund, parents or guardians can recover for his/her medical treatment.
- Earnings; Services to Parents: Both parents or guardians and the minor may recover these damages. If the minor seeks to recover, given his/her age, earnings and earning capacity in this case are divided into minority and majority periods. During minority, a minor can recover for lost earnings. He/she can also recover for impairment of earning capacity during both minority and majority. If the parents or guardians take action, they can recover for loss of minor’s services and their monetary loss resulting from his lost monetary contributions.
- Services to Injured Minor: As an alternative to suit by child, damages for out-of-pocket expenses, value of services provided by the parents may be recovered under a cause pursued by parents of an injured minor.
Injured Person’s Estate Right to Sue
These usually include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and punitive damages. Unrecoverable damages include pain and suffering.
Injured Person’s Employer Right to Sue
Although there are some exceptions, it is generally knows that a corporate employer may not recover damages for injuries to an employee, profits or the business as a whole.
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Retain An Injury Firm To Fight For Your Right to Damages
Whether you are the injured party or a person with the right to sue for damages under California law, The Napolin Law Firm knows how to get you the money compensation you need. Standing in wrongful death lawsuit actions, it is often the widow or widower, or dependent children who need money to carry on. Not only are our attorneys ready to fight in the courtroom, we are willing to take on your burden by understanding your needs and giving ourselves to the fight on your behalf.
Speaking with a compassionate attorney to learn your legal rights is the first step towards moving on. A lawsuit is not just about money. A personal injury damages claim is about obtaining closure and getting as much as possible to put things back together after a horrible accident caused by a negligent person or company.
Get the help you need now. Speak to a trial attorney now. We are here for you.