In Pennsylvania, when a person is injured as a result of someone’s negligence, they are entitled to recover, among other items of damages, their past and future medical expenses.  If, however, the injured party is a minor, the situation is very different. Minors cannot directly recover any expenses for medical bills which are incurred or projected to be incurred prior to their 18th birthday. Instead, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the minor will have a claim for those medical expenses.

A problem often arises in this context because the statute of limitations for a minor’s claim begins to run on the 18th birthday of the minor. On the other hand, the statute of limitation for the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the minor begins to run on the date of the injury, and cannot be brought any later than two years after the date of injury.

Although the parents of injured minors often feel comfortable waiting years to bring a claim on behalf of their child, they may unwittingly find that if they have waited more than two years from the date of injury their claim for the medical expenses during the time of their child’s minority will not be recoverable. Obviously, cases that involve catastrophic injuries where the injured party may have no insurance coverage or insurance coverage that for some reason does not cover all of the medical expenses, may find themselves with no method of paying the bills.

If you are the parent or guardian of a minor who is injured by an act of negligence, you should immediately consult a lawyer so that your right to collect medical expenses for your child is protected.