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Texas law requires individuals to be at the age of majority, 18, before contracting to hire an attorney. However, just because a minor can’t hire an attorney themselves doesn’t mean that their legal rights are diminished in any way from that of an adult.
In fact, anytime a minor is injured and the injury results in medical bills there are at least two separate claims. The first claimant would be the guardians (usually parents) of the minor for the medical bills only. The reason behind this is guardian of any minor is most often responsible for the medical costs the minor has incurred up until they reach age 18.
The second claimant would be parents/guardians (what the court refers to as Next Friend) on the minor’s behalf. This part of the claim is what personal injury lawyers refer to as the “non-economic damage” (i.e. pain, suffering, anguish, disfigurement, impairment) portion of the claim.
In essence, the parents/guardian could hire an attorney for: a) themselves in order to be reimbursed for medical bills; and b) themselves, as Next Friend of the minor for the non-economic damages portion of the claim. Oftentimes, if you are able to obtain a settlement as a Next Friend of the minor, Texas Courts will be required to look over the terms and conditions of the settlement in order to make certain it’s in the best interests of the minor.
If you have any further questions about potential claims involving minors, please feel free to schedule an absolutely free consultation with a personal injury attorney at Zinda Law Group.