Personal Injury Claims: You Cannot Sign Away Your Minor Child's Rights

My daughter’s sports team recently went away to an overnight camp. Some of the other parents shuttled them up. The driver of the van my daughter was driving in ran a stop sign and was involved in an accident. My daughter and some of the other girls had minor injuries. The other mom would not share her automobile insurance information with me. She said that she did not have to because I had signed a waiver excusing the school, the coach and drivers from liability. I do not have the money to pay the emergency bills and everything else that is going to come out of this. Her orthopedist says that she will need physical therapy. Maria, Virginia

Any decent lawyer would be able to poke large holes in that so-called liability waiver. They are so popular but really not worth much. What you could possibly be waiving is your right to recover for your child’s injury; really the only interest you have in your minor child’s personal injury claim is your financial responsibility as her parent to pay her medical bills. As far as your daughter’s right to pursue a claim for general damages: the pain and suffering portion of any personal injury claim, the waiver will not hold water. You cannot sign your daughter’s rights away. As a minor, she cannot sign her rights away either.

If you have automobile insurance yourself, go ahead and report the accident and your daughter’s to your company. They will do the job of obtaining the driver’s automobile insurance information for you. Then you may pursue a claim against her insurance company directly. If it turns out that the woman did not have automobile insurance, then your insurance company will extend uninsured motorist coverages to your daughter. (Please see our page on UM/UIM coverages for further explanation.)

This article was approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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