Family Law

Can a Parent Waive Their Child’s Right to Sue?

Most people are aware of the fact that they may not be able to sue for a personal injury if they sign away their rights on a waiver. This often occurs if an adult is getting a tattoo or taking part in an inherently risky activity such as skydiving. The law becomes grayer in this area when it comes to minors. Minors cannot enter a legally binding contract in most instances, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a parent can sign a contractual waiver on behalf of their children. The law is extremely complicated in this instance, so it is all the more important that parents understand exactly how these laws affect them and their children. 

Can a Parent Waive Their Child’s Right to Sue?

The answer as to whether or not a parent can waive their child’s right to sue is a resounding ‘no’ in some instances and a reluctant ‘yes’ in others. Our injury lawyer New York firm indicates that most states uphold a minor’s right to seek damages in personal injury situations and will not consider waivers signed by parents as a relinquishment of these rights.

There was a recent case in New Jersey where a twelve-year-old boy’s parents signed a waiver releasing a skate park from liability if the boy was injured. The minor was subsequently injured and had to undergo two surgeries, but the courts found that the boy could still file suit since his parents didn’t have legal grounding to sign away his rights. This does not mean, however, that a parent never has legal grounding to sign away this right.

Several courts throughout the country have recognized certain exceptions in relation to the signing of waivers. These exceptions usually relate to schools, community based organizations and non-profit organizations. These community programs often have minimal resources and would likely not be able to continue functioning if they frequently faced personal injury lawsuits. Since these programs are deemed necessary for a community’s enrichment, they are a common exemption to rules regarding waivers and minors. Parents also have the right to sign waivers when it comes to their child’s medical care for the same reason.

What Happens If a Parent Waives Their Child’s Rights?

In instances where parents can legally sign away their child’s rights, such as within community organizations, the child or parent will have no recourse for legal compensation. A Florida appeals court, for instance, found that a mother who had signed a waiver had no grounds to sue her son’s school after he was injured participating in a school sponsored fire rescue program. The court concluded that this school activity fell under a common exception which allows parents to sign away their child’s right to litigation.

When a parent signs a waiver that isn’t related to one of the aforementioned community organizations, the waiver is virtually void when it comes to a minor’s litigation rights. Several companies, however, have recently smartened up and included an ‘arbitration clause’ within their waivers. These arbitration clauses mean that even if the parent cannot legally sign away their child’s rights to recovery, a company can require that the matter be handled through methods other than court litigation if specified in their waiver. The New Jersey court that heard the aforementioned skate park dispute found that an arbitration clause did not violate the minor’s right to file a claim; it simply provided an alternative forum.

Whether or not a parent has legal standing to sign away a minor’s right to seek damages for a personal injury is one of the most complex areas of contractual law. It becomes obvious that there are certain situations, such as in a school setting, where these releases are necessary to allow an educational institution to create a hands-on learning environment without facing legal recourse. In most cases, however, parents don’t have the legal right to sign away their child’s right to recompense, so many waivers signed by parents have minimal effect in the real world.

Author Georgina Clatworthy is a former legal blog editor and contributes this post for The Perecman Firm, an injury lawyer New York group which provides experienced legal counsel for those dealing with personal injuries.  They understand the pain and distress injury cases involving children can bring and work with their clients to ensure their rights are protected.

Domestic Violence

What To Do About Domestic Violence Before Its Too Late

Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States, and it is unfortunately found in virtually every community. While many people think of domestic violence as only physical violence, the fact is that domestic violence can involve verbal abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse.

How Does Domestic Violence Begin?

In many cases, domestic violence starts off small. A husband may become angry with his wife for not cooking dinner that night, leading to an argument and threats of physical harm. Over time, as explained by one Indianapolis personal injury attorney, this kind of behavior can escalate, ultimately leading to physical violence and more. As the abuser continues to test and surpass boundaries, he or she may then begin to increase the level of domestic violence, and this can even lead to murder.

The Signs of Domestic Violence

As mentioned, domestic violence can take many forms, so outward signs may not always be apparent. While obvious signs, such as blackened eyes or split lips, may signify that a person is being abused, other signs, such as the inability to leave the house, should not be ignored. Many times, abusers will treat their victims as property, meaning that the victim can not have friends or talk with family members. In addition, emotional changes in mood or changes in behavior may also signify that someone is being abused.

What Can You Do?

If you have found yourself in an abusive relationship, it may seem hard to leave. You may love your significant other, and you may truly believe that they will amend their ways. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking typically only leads to increased violence and even death. In order to leave your abusive relationship, you may want to work with a shelter in your area. Shelters often have resources for individuals who are attempting to leave abusive relationships, and they can also offer temporary housing while you reorganize your life. You need to also consider relying on friends and family members for help, as these individuals can form a support net for you.

Is a Loved One Being Abused?

If a loved one is being abused, you may be feeling powerless to do anything about it right now. While you have given your advice and support to the victim, he or she continues to stay in the same situation. One way, however, that you can help the situation is by speaking with a law enforcement officer about your concerns. A police officer or sheriff’s deputy will be able to asses the situation and give you options for putting an end to the abuse. Although you may be worried that speaking to law enforcement may make things worse, doing nothing is actually the worst thing that you can do.

Legal Considerations

If you’ve been abused, you may also want to speak with a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for any injuries you’ve sustained. While domestic violence is a criminal issue and should be pursued through law enforcement, you may also be entitled to financial compensation in a civil personal injury case. Your attorney will be able to offer you options that pertain to your specific experiences, and in many cases, an attorney can also help you to put more space in between yourself and your abuser.

As mentioned, domestic violence can occur in any community and to anyone. Men, women and children can all be the victims of domestic violence, and far too often, these victims suffer in silence. For more information on how you can give a voice to the voiceless, contact your local women’s shelter or speak with your local Social Services office. These entities often have volunteer opportunities that will allow you to help out victims of domestic violence and more.

This article was written by Georgina Clatworthy, a legal writer and former editor of a respected law blog. She is now a contributing writer for the Indianapolis personal injury attorney firm, Sevenish Law. As a law firm with many years experience of handling personal injury cases they are able to deal with damages claims from domestic violence victims, sensitively and with understanding.

Domestic Violence

Victim Compensation in Domestic Violence Claims

(US law and generally) If you were injured as the result of domestic violence, you know that it can take years to put all the pieces of your life back together. You might think that after a successful criminal hearing you have done everything possible to exercise all of your legal rights. However, many victims fail to realize that they are also entitled to compensation for their injuries and can pursue compensation by filing a civil complaint against their abuser. Find out how you can fight for the compensation you deserve legally so that you can recover from the violence without struggling financially.

What Type of Compensation Are You Entitled To As the Victim of Domestic Violence?

Victims of domestic violence can sustain a number of different types of physical and emotional injuries. While the most commonly recognized injuries are typically physical where abuse is concerned, emotional abuse is also very common when someone is injured at the hands of someone they love. While criminal laws are very well known and are enforced in each state, civil laws also exist to provide recourse for victims who want to pursue compensation for their injuries.

You have the right to pursue your abuser civilly even after you have pursued them in the criminal court. When you are pursuing your abuser civilly, you are taking the assailant to court to hold them liable for the costs of your injuries so that you are not stuck paying for your medical care and the care you will need for recovery. Our attorney, from law firm Tenn and Tenn explains that if the court orders that the defendant is responsible for your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation in the form of awarded damages. These damages can range in severity and depend on state laws. If you are not familiar with the laws concerning damages in your state, speak with a personal injury law firm and find out everything you need to know.

How Can the Criminal Case Help You When Filing a Civil Case?

As you might know, having evidence whenever you are going to court will help you when you are trying to prove your complaint is accurate and true. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should always call the local authorities before doing anything else and have the abuser arrested. Once you file a restraining order and you are in a safe environment, you can use the police report and the evidence from the criminal proceeding to help you win your civil case. Our lawyer further advises that documents such as the incident report, statements from law enforcement officers, photos of injuries, and medical treatment bills can all be used to support your claim.

Everyone deserves to have a loving relationship where they feel safe. If you are the victim of domestic violence rebuilding your life can be a long and arduous road. Remember though you are entitled to compensation for the physical and psychological injuries you suffered, to help make that road to recovery a little easier.

About the Author

This article was written by Georgina Clatworthy an experienced legal writer and editor. She is currently a contributing writer for the New Hampshire personal injury specialists at Tenn and Tenn, whose approach to claims from victims of domestic violence is with diligence and empathy, ensuring every client receives the compensation they deserve.