How A Child's Car Accident Claim Differs From Yours
One of the most horrifying experiences is to have a car accident with your child in the vehicle with you. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that car accidents are the second leading cause of death for children between 5 and 14 years of age. If your child suffered any injuries or losses as a result of a car accident, learn how your child's car accident claim differs from yours as an adult, and how to ensure you receive the justice and compensation your child deserves. Contact an experienced car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 for a free consultation today.
Children and Car Accident Claims
Children under the age of 18 are legally unable to file a personal injury claim on their own behalf. Therefore, if a child suffers any kind of injuries or losses as a result of a negligent driver, they will need to have their parent or legal guardian file a claim on their behalf to receive the compensation they deserve. There are several differences in how car accident claims are handled for minor children, which are discussed below.
Minor Children and Statute of Limitations
While it is possible to wait until a child turns 18 to file a personal injury claim, this is typically not recommended as critical evidence can be lost and the statute of limitations (deadline to file a claim in a court of law) may pass and they lose the right to receive compensation for their injuries and losses permanently.
It is important to note that some statute of limitations will have extensions if the accident involved a minor child. This extension can allow a parent to examine the child over a longer period of time in order to determine whether or not certain bones or internal damage presents itself at a later time. Visiting with an experienced car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm can help you better understand what your options are regarding filing a claim on your child's behalf after a car accident due to someone else's negligence.
Car Accidents and The Best Interest of the Child Standard
A court will always look to any decision regarding a minor child with the “best interest of the child” standard. This standard indicates that the court will render judgments that impact a child only to the extent that they are truly in the best interest of the child. This means that even if both parties agree and settle on a specific monetary amount, the court can actually reject this settlement offer if the court does not believe that it is truly in the best interest of the child. In these cases, a court will appoint a guardian ad litem, which is a representative that acts on behalf of the child, in order to ensure that the child's best interests are upheld regarding hte child's car accident claim.
Compensation Amounts for Child Car Accident Claims
The compensation amounts for minor children involved in car accidents can differ from that of adults. While every car accident will have different facts and circumstances, the following are some examples of the types of compensation you may have the right to receive on behalf of your minor child following a car accident.
You have the right to file a claim for all medical costs, including future expected medical costs, related to your child's injuries related to the car accident. This may include hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, cost of transportation to medical appointments, prescription medications, medical devices and more.
Pain and Suffering
Serious car accidents can result in either temporary or permanent pain and suffering for a minor child. Some children may be so small they simply do not even understand the pain they are in, or why it is happening to them. While no amount of money will truly compensate a child for the pain they are in, this allows some form of restitution for what they must endure as a result of someone else's negligence.
The trauma of a car accident can cause a minor child serious psychological distress, and could even induce post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be a life-long disability. Many children experience serious depression, anxiety and fear as a result of a catastrophic car accident.
Loss of Income to Parent
In many cases, a parent will have to take a considerable amount of time off of work in order to care for their child after a car accident. Their claim should include this amount of lost compensation, including wages, expected bonuses, missed employee contributions, and pension benefits.
Loss of Future Income to Child
A child's car accident claim also differs from an adult's as it can impact the entirety of their future and ability to work. If a child suffers serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or any other injury that includes any kind of permanent disability, this may affect their future ability to work or seek any kind of gainful employment. The claim should include this amount of compensation as well.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney To Help Your Family Today
If your child suffered injuries in a car accident, you likely feel overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps. We would welcome the opportunity to help you during this difficult time, and ensure that your rights and the rights of your child remain protected. Contact an experienced car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm for a free consultation today at (615) 338-9500 and let us answer all of your questions and help you understand all of your legal options.