When we buy toys, strollers, or car seats for our children, we do so to bring joy, comfort, and safety to the most important people in our lives. Unfortunately, experienced Dallas product liability lawyers can attest that some of these products may be dangerous. Was your child injured by a defective product? If so, even if the product was not intended for children, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Different Types of Product Defects that can Endanger Your Child
Here in Texas, there are four types of product defects for which you may file a lawsuit:
- A mistake in manufacturing that creates a danger to children even when used properly
- Product designs that are inherently unsafe.
- Failure to provide proper warnings and instructions about the product. Warning labels and instructions must be clear to minimize the risk to children.
- The product did not function as the manufacturer claimed it would.
What is a “Next Friend?“
At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we strongly recommend that you hire an experienced Dallas product liability attorney to help investigate your case and advocate for you and your child. While a minor under the age of 18 does not have the legal right to file a lawsuit, you can file a claim on your child’s behalf. You become what is known in Texas as your child’s Next Friend. The Next Friend is a person, typically a parent, relative, or legal guardian of the child, who has been selected to pursue the claim on the child’s behalf.
What Can I Expect in Our Legal Proceedings as the Next Friend?
Many legal proceedings will remain relatively the same as they would for an adult. The biggest difference is that the Next Friend, rather than the child, is the one who decides how to pursue the claim along with the personal injury lawyer. If necessary, the Next Friend may testify in depositions, hearings, or trials. If the court believes that the minor possesses the mental capacity to fully understand the oath that all witnesses must take and abide by– then the child may testify as well.
Another difference comes into play toward the end of the legal proceedings. In adult personal injury lawsuits, if the two sides reach an out-of-court settlement, that is the end of the process. However, in cases where a Next Friend is filing a lawsuit on behalf of a child, there is one more step. If a settlement is reached between the two parties, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to act as an attorney representing the child’s best interests. They will attempt to determine whether or not the settlement is, in fact– in the child’s best interests. To do this, they will communicate with the Next Friend’s attorney, the Next Friend, and the child if necessary.
They will also evaluate the case and help decide what to do with the financial compensation attained in the settlement. Once the Guardian Ad Litem reaches a point where they believe the settlement is best for the child, they will coordinate a minor settlement hearing to seek the court’s approval.
Call Now for a Free Consultation
With more than 65 years of combined experience, our Dallas product liability lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP have a thorough knowledge of defective product law– we have earned tens of millions of dollars in settlements on behalf of our clients. If your child has been injured by a defective product here in Texas, call us today to schedule a free consultation. You will not be charged anything unless your case prevails.