Cadott, WI asked in Personal Injury for Iowa

Q: Can a step-parent along with a custodial parent file a personal injury claim on behalf of the minor children?

The child's other parent is aware of the claim. They have 50-50 custody and 50-50 physical placement. The accident happened while he was with the family that is filing. The filing step-parent holds the insurance for the minor child and they have paid 100% of the bills. Only the filing family has missed time at work for the incident and appointments. What should the other parent's involvement be if anything?

I should add I am the step-parent. My son broke his foot at the hands of an employee at a exhibit. Mostly wondering if it was necessary or even legal for me to file on behalf of the child (as his insurance holder) and if bio mom's name needs to be on the paperwork if she does not hold his insurance, had no monetary involvement and was not responsible for the child at the time of the injury, etc. She wanted to keep her name off of it if possible. After consulting a lawyer we ended up just filing under my husband's name solely.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
  • West Des Moines, IA
  • Licensed in Iowa

A: Your question is really two-fold. 1. Does a divorced parent have standing to sue on behalf of an injured child? And, 2. what damages are they entitled to be compensated? The answer to the first is yes, we call it a Rule 8 Claim. The answer to number two is not easily answered without knowing more about the damages sustained by the child and the step-parent and parent. I am working on a similar case and am picking up a bit of hostility in your tone about the step-parent. I could be wrong in my assessment, and if so then ignore this part of my answer. But if you do feel hostile, ask yourself why and is it helpful to getting the people compensated who are injured and damaged? Probably not.

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