Can You File A Personal Injury Suit After Your Child Is Injured In A Car Accident?

Law Blog

If your child has been injured in a car accident that was the fault of another driver, then you have a right to file a personal injury case against that driver. Your child cannot file the suit themselves because they are a minor and the law requires that individuals be 18 or older to bring cases before the court. However, you can work with a personal injury attorney to file a case on their behalf and hopefully collect the damages they deserve. Here's a closer look at how personal injury cases work when the person injured is a minor.

What damages can you sue for?

Children who are injured in car accidents won't usually have lost wages due to their injuries, unless they are older teens who have begun working. If this is the case, lost wages can certainly be included in their personal injury claim. However, the majority of the damages you request will likely be to cover their medical bills and the pain and suffering they've incurred due to the accident.

If the accident caused an injury that will continue to affect your child's quality of life or ability to work throughout their life, then you can sue compensation for these woes. Your personal injury lawyer will help you decide what a fair amount to request for pain and suffering, and then add this to your child's medical costs and lost wages to yield the full amount of the claim.

When must you file the case?

When you file a personal injury case as an adult, you must do so within two or three years of the accident, depending on the state. However, in most states, this statute of limitations does not apply when you file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor child. Instead, most states require that the case be within three years of your child's 18th birthday. However, this does not mean you should put off filing your case. The sooner you contact a lawyer and start building a case against the other driver, the fresher the details of the collision and injuries will be in your mind and your child's mind.

Can the court rule that your child is at-fault for the accident?

Generally, if you file a personal injury case and the judge or jury decides that you yourself are at fault for the accident, you will not be awarded the damages you requested. This works a bit differently when the person who was injured is a child. A child cannot be found negligent under most states' laws -- so they can't really be held at fault for the accident. However, the court can find that the other driver was not negligent, either -- essentially determining that the accident was a no-fault situation and that your child is not due the damages you're requesting. 

This is why it's so very important to hire a good personal injury attorney to represent you and your child. They can ensure the evidence clearly shows that the other driver was at fault for the collision, increasing the chances that you will win the case.

When will your child receive the funds?

Generally, your child will not be allowed to access any damages he or she is awarded until they reach the age of 18. The money may be put into a trust in your child's name until then. Many children who are awarded settlements of this time use the money for college tuition. Others opt to receive their settlements in the form of small payments over time once they turn 18. Known as structured settlement, this form of payment often results in a higher overall payout to your child since the money will be earning interest between payments.

For more information, contact companies like Walsh Fewkes Sterba.


18 July 2017

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.