Can a Friend or Relative File a Car Injury Claim on My Behalf?

June 21, 2024
Leaser Law Firm

What would happen if you were incapacitated in an accident and unable to file a claim against the at-fault party? Could a friend or relative hire a personal injury lawyer and sue that party on your behalf?

It depends. Below, an accident lawyer explains who can file a personal injury claim on your behalf.

Who Can File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf

In Florida, only certain parties are legally allowed to make a claim on your behalf. These parties include parents, guardians, friends, and people with power of attorney (POA).

Your Parent or Guardian

If you’re under 18, your parent or guardian can file a claim on your behalf without needing permission from the court. Another option is to wait until you turn 18 when you can legally file your claim.

The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Florida is generally two years. However, minors have longer to make a claim. Per Florida law, minors have seven years from the date of an accident to file an injury lawsuit.

The Next Friend or Guardian ad Litem

If you don’t have a parent or guardian to file a claim, a “next friend” can do so. The next friend is a person who acts in your legal interests. Anyone can serve as the next friend if their interests do not contradict yours.

Next friends and/or Guardian ad Litem may represent minor children or people who are mentally incapacitated and thus unable to file their claims.

An Individual With Power of Attorney

If you have granted someone power of attorney, they can file a claim on your behalf. A person with a POA can consult a personal injury lawyer and make legal decisions for you. This person can also make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you’ve permitted them to do so.

Of course, you can’t grant someone POA if you’re incapacitated, so it’s wise to choose someone for this role before an accident happens. Because those with POA have so much power, it’s important to choose this person very carefully. Consider:

  • Does the person fully understand your wishes? If not, they could make decisions that you’re not happy with.
  • Do their interests conflict with your own? If your interests don’t align, choose someone else.
  • Is the person capable of handling high-stress situations? Serving as a POA can be pretty stressful, as the person may need to make decisions that could affect the outcome of your lawsuit.

A Court-Appointed Guardian

If you’re incapacitated and no one is available to file a claim on your behalf, the court may appoint a guardian for you. This person is your legal representative and can decide for you during court proceedings.

What About Wrongful Death Claims?

If you perish in an untimely accident, who can file a claim on your behalf? In many states, spouses, parents, adult children, and other family members can file. In Florida, however, only the representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. This can vary depending on the type of negligence that has occurred. 

The representative is typically the executor of the deceased’s will. If the deceased didn’t have a will and didn’t name a representative, the court will choose one.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney From Leaser Law Firm

Can a friend or relative file a claim on your behalf? In some cases, yes. If you’re underage or incapacitated, your parent, guardian, or POA can claim you.

For a free consultation with a Florida car accident lawyer to learn more about your options, call Leaser Law Firm at (954) 233-3515.