Taking Action on Behalf of a Loved One

By May 29, 2020August 17th, 2020Legal 101
Taking Action on Behalf of a Loved One

A grieving daughter vows to hold Johnson and Johnson accountable before talcum powder related cancer claims the life of another mother. A powerful single mom takes on big tobacco as her children suffer the terrifying complications of JUUL vapes flavored like gummy bears and cotton candy. A childhood friend cheerleads a survivor of workplace sex abuse as she begins to explore her legal options, sharing her #MeToo story for the first time.

We are often the biggest advocates for those family members and friends closest to us – encouraging and challenging them to stand up for themselves and, when they can’t, sometimes even standing up for them. 

If someone you love or care about has been hurt, but can’t pursue legal action on their own, you may be able to take action on their behalf in this situations:

If They Are a Minor

Legally, people under 18 years old can’t pursue legal action for themselves and will need their parents or a guardian to file on their behalf. One exception is if the minor is legally emancipated, though their legal rights may vary state to state. If a child has no legal guardian and is not emancipated, a court ordered guardian is usually assigned. Anyone taking action on a minor’s behalf must keep detailed records and hand over any settlements to the child once they turn 18.

If They Are Incapacitated

In some cases, a loved one is too unwell mentally or physically to take action. In this case, either someone they’ve designated with power of attorney (POA) status or a judge-approved conservator will pursue action on their behalf. 

If They Have Passed

In the very sad circumstance that your loved one has suffered a wrongful death, the executor named in their will has the right to take action on their behalf. If there is no executor, a court will appoint someone to serve as one. 

Things to Keep in Mind

The statute of limitations or deadline to file after you lose a loved one varies by state, but it’s usually no more than a couple years. Though it’s probably the last thing you want to think about while grieving, it is critically important that you begin looking into their legal options as soon as possible after your loved one passes – otherwise your family might be barred from taking action due to an expired statute.

We also often get questions about the format of the legal agreements in these arrangements. If you’re able to take action, you’ll most likely be asked to sign an agreement that includes some combination of your personal information and theirs. Because you’re entering the agreement on their behalf, the law firm will need your information for legal purposes and to distribute any resulting financial compensation. And they’ll need their information in order to build and file the case.

If You Can’t Take Action on Their Behalf 

If the above situations don’t apply to your friend or loved one, you can still advocate for them and encourage them to take a stand! The best way is to have them contact us directly – they can either submit a form on our website or call our main line, (866) 488-4786. After they get in touch, our advocates will do everything they can to look into your loved ones’ options, so that they can be empowered to to stand up.