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Our children are priceless, and there’s no doubt about that. As parents and guardians, we move mountains to protect our kids and keep them out of harm’s way. But despite our very best efforts, accidents still happen to little ones sometimes. It’s a horrible reality. 

When negligence causes a child to get badly hurt, it brings up the question – can that child take legal action? Sure, accidents aren’t purposeful, but they can unleash devastating trauma, lifelong problems, and even death. And seeing a child suffer injury is uniquely heartbreaking, not just for them but for everyone who loves them. The impacts ripple out in waves for families and friends. It’s simply gut-wrenching.

So, if some reckless person caused harm to your child, you shouldn’t feel bad about taking them to court over it. As a parent, getting justice and maybe even some money to cover bills is totally fair game when your kid gets injured because of someone else’s negligence. But just be aware that cases involving minors don’t follow the same rules as an injury lawsuit for a grown-up. There’s a different process when a child is the victim. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from going after whoever was responsible for negatively impacting your child’s life, even temporarily. At the end of the day, getting your child properly taken care of is what really matters most.

The Legal Capacity of a Minor

In this country, anyone under 18 years old is considered a minor. And the harsh reality is a young person who gets injured isn’t able to initiate their own personal injury lawsuit. As a child, you don’t have that legal right to represent yourself in court for a case like that. 

But here’s the important part – just because a kid can’t directly file the claim themselves doesn’t mean the door is totally closed. There are provisions that allow a personal injury case to legally move forward for an injured child, just with an adult calling the shots and acting in their best interests. This necessitates the appointment of an adult, often a parent or other close relative, to represent the child in court. 

To get this process started, an adult who is sound of mind and judgment needs to represent the child’s interests in court formally. This litigation guardian must submit a sworn statement saying they understand they could be on the hook for legal costs awarded against them or the minor child. They also have to give explicit permission to advocate on the kid’s behalf and confirm they don’t have any conflicting interests that would undermine representing the child’s best interests. 

This requirement comes straight from Rule 7.02(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Basically, it’s about designating a fully capable grownup to properly guide and protect the child’s rights during litigation.

The Standards of Negligence 

The rules work a bit differently for kids when it comes to negligence cases. The courts don’t judge children by the same standards they use for grown adults. The way a judge or jury looks at how much compensation a young victim deserves factors in that they’re still minors who may not fully grasp the consequences. So, if a child’s actions in any way contributed to them getting hurt, it’s not viewed as harshly as if an adult did the same thing. Children get a bit more leeway there. 

The courts recognize that kids sometimes make boneheaded decisions without malice because, well, they’re still just kids learning how the world works. The system accounts for that immaturity when negligence allegations are divided and payouts are calculated. It’s all about being fair to their youthful mindset.

The criteria by which adults are often judged is objective. Independent of the one’s thoughts at the time, what would a reasonable person have done in the same circumstances?

In contrast, courts adopt subjective/objective criteria when dealing with minors. When making its decision, the court takes into account what a child with the same age, IQ, and experience might have done.

It’s crucial to remember, though, that when a child participates in an activity normally reserved for adults, such as riding a dirt bike or powerboat, courts usually use the higher adult standard of care.

The Statute of Limitations

Normally, if you get injured in an accident, you’ve got a two-year window to get that personal injury lawsuit filed. That’s just what the Limitations Act enforces here in Ontario – that two-year countdown starts ticking right after the accident happens. But when the victim is still just a kid under 18, those rules get put on pause. The clock doesn’t start on that two-year time limit until their 18th birthday actually rolls around. So, minors get some extra breathing room before the unforgiving two-year deadline looms over their case. It’s a concession because the courts know how traumatic and complicated these situations can be for kids and their families.

Assessing Settlement Offers and Reasonable Compensation

Many people think kids bounce back from injuries better than grown-ups. That may be partly true, but it doesn’t mean kids don’t face major physical and emotional changes as they grow. In Ontario, the courts really go the extra mile to put children’s interests first. Judges there can carefully review personal injury settlements for kids through formal court motions or applications. The goal is to make sure the outcome is truly in the child’s best interest.

Any settlement offer made in a case brought on behalf of a child is not regarded as legally binding until the court has approved it. The fairness and best interests of the kid must be verified by Ontario courts before the settlement may be approved. 

The Superior Court of Justice Accountant normally retains the settlement money after a case is concluded, and it is not given to the kid until the child reaches 18. Periodic payments out of court may be mandated in some situations, such as when a disabled kid needs money for continuous rehabilitation treatments or assistive devices. In situations when continuous financial support is necessary, a structured settlement can be established to offer a monthly, non-taxable revenue stream to meet the expenses of continued care and rehabilitation.


If it weren’t for incidents caused by other people, fewer kids would require hospital stays and ER visits. Injuries are a painful experience, and when children are involved, it’s even worse for them and their loved ones. Personal injury claims are meant to assist families and kids in getting over life-altering events and to provide them with the encouragement they need to go on as adults.

Filing a claim is not always simple, especially if you want to ensure that your kid receives the correct compensation. However, you can provide your child with the high-quality support they require by getting in touch with the personal injury lawyers at MacIsaac Gow LLP. Contact us today for a confidential consultation. Let us help you understand your rights, explore your legal options, and fight for justice on your behalf.