Visitor Question

Who can rightfully sue in the interest of a minor child?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Chicago IL)

My daughter and I were in a car accident in which I was issued a failure to yield citation. The traffic case is not yet settled.

At present her father, who has not yet been recognized by the courts to have any parental rights beyond visitation (VAP – Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity – was signed, motion filed to establish child/parent relationship), has hired a lawyer for a personal injury suit against my car insurance, the other driver’s car insurance, the car seat manufacturer, and also against me personally for neglect.

First, can he do that as he is not her guardian or have any custody? Secondly, can he sue me personally? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

It’s important to understand that just about anyone, at just about any time can file a lawsuit against just about anybody else. Doing so does not by any measure indicate nor infer they will win. Your daughter’s injuries are certainly regrettable. Unfortunately as a result of your ticket for failure to yield, and in the absence of any mitigating circumstances it may be difficult for you to escape liability.

That being said, if you have been Court designated as the Guardian of your daughter (presumably along with her biological mother) it is improbable her biological father will be able to recover any monies, whether on your daughter’s behalf, or his. Whatever money paid, whether by settlement or court order, will be your daughter’s sole and exclusive money.

From the facts you present we can only presume your daughter is still a minor. The monies paid or to be paid will either be set in a trust for her to have access to when she becomes an adult, or put in trust with provisions her parents or guardian be able to access the funds to be used for her well-being as she grows into adulthood.

Well-being normally refers to her education, medical bills, or any other of your daughter’s reasonable and necessary expenses that the Guardian or her biological parents, do not or cannot pay.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 1, 2011

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