Sometimes the victims of negligence and criminal activities cannot speak for themselves. These individuals might have diminished cognitive functioning, age-related issues that affect their memory or speech abilities, or they may be in a coma. Victims of accidents, fraud, theft, and other forms of maltreatment can also be minor children, physically incapacitated, or recently deceased.
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If someone you love has been neglected, abused, or taken advantage of, you may be interested in pursuing a lawsuit for them. However, in the interest of protecting the rights of victims, there are certain restrictions on when people can sue on behalf of others.
Legal Requirements for Suing on Behalf of Someone Else
In general, the only time it is permissible for someone to pursue a legal case on behalf of another party is when the other party is physically, legally, or mentally unable to take legal action for themselves. For instance, you can take legal action on behalf of:
- Your own minor child
- A family member who's suffered a wrongful death
- A family member who's been the victim of medical maltreatment and is incapacitated as a result
- Someone who has given you the power of attorney
Even in these events, there can still be limitations on who is able to make legal decisions or pursue legal actions on behalf of the individual in question. For instance, in certain states, only spouses, children, and parents of a deceased person may file a suit on their behalf.
If you have an elderly parent who is being mistreated in a nursing home, the contract between the nursing home and your parent could prevent you from taking legal action unless you've been given power of attorney.
Power of Attorney
When you've been given a durable power of attorney to act on behalf of a loved one whose mental or physical condition has declined or is declining, you can definitely sue another party in an effort to protect their interests.
With power of attorney, it is actually your duty to take action when you believe that the principal or person you're assigned to make legal decisions for is being legally or financially taken advantage of, abused while in the care of others, or otherwise defrauded or mistreated.
Acting parents of minor children always have the legal ability to sue on their behalf. However, there are certain instances in which a person may be acting as a long-term guardian for a minor child and wishes to pursue a lawsuit in the same way that a biological parent might.
More often than not, unless the acting guardian has established legal guardianship, all legal actions must be taken by the minor's parents. In special circumstances such as these, consulting with an attorney is always the best bet.
It is also important to note that in cases in which parents or guardians sue on behalf of minor children, the money will be held until a probate court has approved the minor’s rights to access or claim the funds. You can visit this site to learn more about personal injury case results.
One reason family members may choose to file a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one is to help cover expenses. After a serious or fatal accident, families are often left struggling to cover a range of costs, from the cost of rehabilitation to the cost of a funeral and burial.
Suing on behalf of a loved one is often less about seeking financial compensation than it is about seeking justice. When the actions or negligence of another party have led to debilitating injuries or death, winning a substantial settlement can seem like a very minor consolation. Despite this, you may still feel that you have a moral obligation to do so, and it is your right to see that justice is served.