Can a child file a lawsuit on his or her own?

Can a child file a lawsuit on his or her own?

Minor children in California generally cannot file a lawsuit on their own.  Instead, the court appoints someone called a Guardian Ad Litem to act as a representative for the minor’s interest in a case.  The presumption is that a minor is too young to appreciate the details of litigation and its implications. The Guardian Ad Litem will often be a parent of the child, or in the case of no parents, an adult who is very close to the child.  The person selected promises to place the interests of the child ahead of his own. 

It is not always required to have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed, as there are times when a child chooses to wait until he reaches the age of eighteen years, at which point he is considered an adult in California.  Many do not choose to wait this long because the evidence, memories, and witnesses tend to fade with time, and this makes a successful case much more difficult.  People will therefore usually have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed in order to proceed with the case while it is fresh. 

In court, there will be a review of the settlement with the guardian and the other party to determine that a fair agreement has been reached that is appropriate for the harms and losses that the child has suffered.  Watch the video to learn more. 

If you have questions about filing a lawsuit in California or would like to discuss another legal matter, I want you to call me at 559-436-0850.  I welcome your call.  Or, visit our website at http://www.NunesLaw.com to reference our educational library.

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