Filing an Injury Claim for Your Child After a Collision
Personal injury cases related to car accidents usually involve adults. Yet what happens if a child gets injured in an accident?
Personal injury law operates under the assumption that children don’t possess the same judgment as adults. So, there are special rules for compensation and liability for auto accidents involving kids.
Injuries to Children Resulting from Auto Accidents
The procedure for getting compensation for minors may vary from state to state. However, a child can still demand compensation for any damage sustained in the car accident. The damages you may seek for a child include pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent injury, and disability. Parents also have a separate right to be compensated for medical bills paid on behalf of their children. Since a child can’t negotiate the settlement of a personal injury claim, the parent will be allowed to negotiate on their behalf. Parents can also opt to hire a personal injury lawyer to negotiate for them.
Potential Recoverable Damages and Compensation After Your Child was Injured in a Car Accident
If the child gets injured during a car crash due to the negligence of other drivers, they will be entitled to compensation to cover their:
- Current medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Continued medical care
- Therapy services
- Loss of ability to earn income in the future
- Loss of enjoyment if they have a job
In some cases, a parent/ legal guardian may receive compensation for their financial losses, such as the ongoing medical expenses for their child.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case and your specific situation, crash victims can also get punitive damages. These damages are reserved for severe cases in which an attorney found a defendant’s behavior to be utterly willful, reckless, or negligent. Punitive damages are used to punish defendants and keep other people from acting the same way.
How Car Accident Claims Are Different For Children
- Requires Court Approval
One of the biggest differences between an auto accident claim for a child and an adult is that even if the parties reach a settlement, the judge can reject the settlement or even the verdict in a child’s case. The courts will always prioritize the child’s best interest and to ensure that the parents/ guardians act accordingly, the court will usually appoint a representative to analyze the case files and report on whether the parents/ guardians did uphold the child’s interests. If it’s found that they didn’t, then the court may dismiss the case entirely.
- Extended Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations describes how long you may file an injury claim after a car accident. It can vary from state to state but generally, the statute of limitations is 2 years after the accident. However, a personal injury lawsuit involving a child has 2 extensions.
- The first one extends to 2 years after their 18th birthday. This gives the child time to file their own claim once they become a legal adult instead of having their parents file for them.
- The second extension is 2 years after an injury was discovered. In children, some injuries may not be discovered until muscles, joints, bones, or even their brains have time to develop. This allows parents to file the claim for an accident settlement 2 years after a doctor diagnosed the injury resulting from the car crash.
Children Aren’t Allowed To File a Personal Injury Claim – The Parents Must File a Claim for Them
A child below the age of 18 can’t file an accident claim on their own. Although, they can have their parents/ guardians file the claim on their behalf. But if the child is close to turning 18, they could work with a personal injury lawyer themselves and file a statute of limitations extension to avoid the complications of filing the personal injury claim with a parent/ guardian.
If you need help maximizing your child’s compensation after a car accident, our team is standing by to answer your questions and assist you in doing the best for your child. You pay nothing upfront, and only pay if we win money for your child’s case. Call Today: 304.594.1800
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.