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

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

It can be overwhelming to deal with the aftermath of an accident, especially when you’re injured. Between medical treatment, juggling expenses, and potentially missing work, your focus should be on recovery. But what about pursuing the compensation you deserve? The legal process can seem difficult, leaving you wondering if a friend or family member can handle it on your behalf. The short answer is, sometimes.

Who Can File on Your Behalf

In certain situations, someone else may be able to file a personal injury claim for you. Here’s a breakdown of the circumstances:

  1. Minors

In Oklahoma, parents or legal guardians are the designated persons to file claims on behalf of minor children (under 18). The Oklahoma statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years, but it may be extended for minors in certain situations. Consulting a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City is vital to understand the specific deadlines for your case.

  1. Incapacitated Adults

If an adult becomes physically or mentally unable to handle legal matters after an accident, the Oklahoma court may appoint a guardian or conservator.   Oklahoma has strict guidelines for establishing guardianship or conservatorship.  The appointed individual would then have the authority to file a personal injury claim on behalf of the incapacitated person.

  1. Power of Attorney

Under Oklahoma law, a power of attorney lets you designate someone to make decisions for you. For the appointed person to have the power to file lawsuits, ensure you have a “durable power of attorney” that specifically grants legal and financial decision-making authority. A “durable power of attorney for healthcare” won’t be sufficient.

  1. “Next Friend” Lawsuits

Oklahoma courts recognize the concept of a “next friend” for incapacitated persons. If no guardian or power of attorney is in place, a relative or close friend can petition to act as a “next friend” and file a claim on their behalf.  The court will carefully examine the situation before granting such permission to protect the rights of the injured person.

Important Considerations

While situations exist where a friend or family member can assist in filing an injury claim, there are several crucial factors to consider before proceeding. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Seeking Legal Counsel

Even if it seems a friend or relative has the clear right to file on your behalf, having an Oklahoma City accident attorney’s guidance is essential. They’ll ensure all legal procedures are followed, paperwork is accurate, and your rights are maximized during the process.

  1. Complexity of the Case and Court Proceedings

The severity of the injuries, the clarity of who was at fault, and the potential amount of compensation all impact the case’s complexity. Guardianship/conservatorship petitions or “next friend” requests involve formal court proceedings. These can be time-consuming and require legal knowledge to navigate successfully.

  1. Contested Claims

If the insurance company disputes who was at fault or the value of the injuries, the matter might go to trial. Having a skilled personal injury lawyer representing your interests from start to finish is critical in these situations.

Why You Need A Lawyer

Personal injury cases are complex, and insurance companies actively work to minimize payouts.  Having legal representation significantly levels the playing field. Here’s why consulting an experienced lawyer is always a good idea:

  • Accident lawyers carefully evaluate your case to establish the correct value of your claim. They consider medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • A successful claim rests on proving negligence— that another person’s actions or inaction caused your injuries. This involves gathering evidence, witness statements, and navigating complex legal standards.
  • Insurance companies are notorious for making lowball settlement offers. Oklahoma City injury attorneys are skilled negotiators and know how to maximize compensation.
  • Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, a timeframe within which you must file. Lawyers won’t let you miss crucial deadlines.

Injured? Let our Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer Handle Your Claim

While a trusted friend or family member may be able to assist with your claim under certain conditions, an experienced personal injury lawyer is your most reliable advocate. Having legal representation significantly improves your chances of obtaining the full compensation you’re entitled to. The burden of navigating a complex legal system shouldn’t rest on you while you focus on healing.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Oklahoma City, the dedicated team at Burton Law Group is ready to fight for you.  Schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation.  Let us handle the complexities while you prioritize your recovery.