Every state has set a deadline for how long an accident victim has to take legal action against another party. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. While most accident victims in Montana are subject to a three-year time limit if they wish to sue for personal injuries, the timeframe does vary for those who are under the age of 18 at the time of their accident.1
If a minor is injured in a motor vehicle accident, in a slip and fall accident, or while being treated by a medical professional in Montana, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until they reach the age of 18. For example, let’s say a child was involved in a car crash when they were nine years old. Instead of only having three years to get their lawsuit filed, the statute of limitations wouldn’t actually begin until they reach the age of 18. But, if the child was 17 at the time of the collision, then they would only have one year before the statute of limitations clock starts running.
Although this might seem convenient for parents as it doesn’t require them to rush into getting their claim started, it isn’t a wise decision for them to wait too long as this could result in useful evidence disappearing.
What happens when the statute of limitations expires?
Once the statute of limitations expires, there is a good chance the case will be thrown out. This means the child wouldn’t be able to recover any compensation to make up for how the accident has impacted their life.
What damages might a minor be entitled to collect after engaging in an accident?
If a minor was injured in a motor vehicle accident or by a negligent individual such as a daycare worker and their parent files their lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations, they may be entitled to recover the following damages:
- Pain and suffering. The more serious the child’s injuries are, the more they likely can request for pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish. If the child’s injuries have caused them to develop anxiety or suffer from depression, they could potentially recover money to make up for this.
- Medical expenses. If the child needed to have surgery or receive on-going medical treatment, their parent could request compensation to cover all of their child’s past and future medical costs.
Important: If a minor’s parents decide to take legal action before their child’s 18th birthday, they would need to file the lawsuit on behalf of their child. If the child waits until they are 18, then they may be able to file suit on their own as they would have reached the age of majority.
When should the parents of a child who was injured in an accident contact a lawyer?
The best thing a parent can do after their child has been involved in an accident in Montana is contact a lawyer immediately after. Although the statute of limitations is much laxer for minors, a Montana accident attorney is going to help the child’s parents understand what their legal rights are and help them decide when would be the best time for them to take legal action.
If a parent is looking to discuss the accident their child was in with a Montana accident attorney, USAttorneys.com can help them get connected with one.