If your child has suffered an injury, you may wonder, “can I sue?”
If you have reason to believe your child was injured because of someone else’s fault or negligence, then yes, you can. But because a child cannot represent themselves in court, Louisiana law has to first recognize you as the proper tutor.
In Louisiana, the tutor is the adult who can legally take action on behalf of a child. Family can look very different for many children, so there are laws in place to make sure there is someone to advocate for them. It’s also important to note that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Louisiana is one year. If tutorship doesn’t seem clear, you may want to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible so your suit is ready to file in time.
Whatever your case may be, consulting with our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer can help ensure your injured child has the best chance at getting every bit of compensation they deserve. You can find more information on what representation can look like for a child in this blog.
When parents can sue in Louisiana
The most common scenario is tutorship by nature, which means the parents are the ones responsible for representing their child.
But the exact configuration can vary depending on the circumstances:
- If a child is born to a married couple, the court of Louisiana recognizes both parents as natural co-tutors of the child.
- If the parents divorce, the parent with main custody of the child can sue.
- If they have joint custody, they are considered co-tutors and can file a suit together.
- If either parent dies, the other is the natural tutor of the child.
- If the child is born to unmarried parents, and the father doesn’t recognize the child, the mother can settle the claim by herself.
- If the child is born to an unmarried couple but the court has awarded them joint custody, they are co-tutors and can sue together.
Who can sue if parents are deceased?
If you are the caretaker of a child who was injured, you can file a suit on their behalf if you fall under these definitions:
- Tutorship by will
- If the parents created a will naming who would take care of their child in case of their untimely death, then that person will have tutorship by will if they accept that responsibility.
- Tutorship by the effect of the law
- If the parents had no will, then the court of Louisiana will choose a guardian for the child. Usually, this means a close relative like a grandparent that is willing to take on the responsibility and is deemed a good fit for the child
Who can sue if a child has no surviving adult relatives?
Louisiana law has guidelines in place to ensure a child has someone to take care of them when there are no surviving relatives. This is known as dative tutorship.
→ The court may consider close friends and other qualified people to become the child’s dative tutor and choose who it judges to be best.
Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy may strike, so knowing who can represent your child in court can bring a sense of relief.
Contact our experienced attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer
At Kiefer & Kiefer, our clients are more than just a number to us. We’ve been representing our New Orleans neighbors for three generations, and we’re committed to making sure that they don’t have to go through their recovery without the proper help. You can count on that quality of representation for you and your child. Contact us today to get started.