What Happens if an Injury Victim is Too Disabled to Meet with a Lawyer?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Oct 11, 2019 in Personal Injury
Sometimes, a personal injury is so severe the victim is mentally incapacitated. He or she may have a case for negligence against the party that caused his or her injury, but how is he or she supposed to pursue compensation?
Fortunately, there is a way to pursue compensation for the damages suffered by the victim. The experienced Silver Spring personal injury attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can discuss your family’s legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Appointing a Conservator of the Victim
In some personal injury cases, the victim does not have the capacity to take legal action. Sometimes, the court may appoint a relative or friend to act as the victim’s conservator. Once the conservatorship has been established, the appointed conservator can act on the victim’s behalf.
This process is not simple. The interested person who wishes to serve as a conservator will need to file a petition asking to be appointed the conservator. This petition will need to lay out the legal basis for this request. The court schedules a hearing during which the potential ward (injured person) and other family of the ward may object to this appointment. The person wishing to be named the conservator will need to prove that it is in the victim’s best interests to have a conservator appointed.
If the conservator is appointed, he or she can work with a personal injury lawyer to file a claim on the victim’s behalf.
Adult Guardianship Laws in Maryland
An adult guardianship is a formal appointment of a person over another person. The guardian acts on behalf of the ward who is unable to make decisions on his or her own. A medical provider may declare that a guardian is necessary. A guardian may be necessary when a person cannot manage his or her own medical care or financial affairs.
Maryland’s guardianship laws determine how a person is found to be in need of a guardianship and who should be appointed to the role of a guardian.
Determining If Someone Is Incapacitated
Maryland law has safeguards to help protect incapacitated persons from being taken advantage of. The person requesting to be named guardian must prove the following:
- The victim lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning himself, health care matters, basic needs or other important decisions due to mental disability or disease
- There is no less restrictive form available that could otherwise protect the victim
There will be a hearing where the desired guardian will present evidence and witnesses to meet this burden of proof.
Who Can Serve as Guardian?
After the court determines that a guardian is necessary, it must then consider who is the best person to serve as the guardian. The following is a priority order of who should be appointed as guardian:
- A guardian, conservator or fiduciary who has been appointed in another state or jurisdiction
- A person the incapacitated person designated before becoming incapacitated
- The incapacitated person’s spouse
- An adult child of the incapacitated person
- The heirs of the incapacitated person
- Someone with a particular interest in the incapacitated person, such as the director of a local social services department or office on aging
If multiple people of the same priority seek guardianship, the court selects the most qualified person. A court can only appoint someone of a lower priority over a person with a higher priority if there is good cause shown.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan for More Information
If your loved one is incapacitated and you would like more information on having a conservator or guardian appointed to bring a claim on their behalf, contact Goldberg Finnegan. Our experienced attorneys provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights and legal options. You are under no obligation to take legal action.
However, if you have a case and decide to move forward with us, you will be charged no upfront fees. Furthermore, we work on a contingency fee basis so you will owe us anything unless we recover compensation on your loved one’s behalf.