Car accidents are always traumatic, but they can be even more overwhelming if your child is involved. Like when an adult is hurt, your child can get compensation for medical costs and other losses after a crash. However, there are some differences between how car accident claims are handled with minor children vs. adults.
4 Steps to Take if Your Child Is Injured in a Car Accident
If your child is injured in a car accident, there are specific steps you should take to ensure they are safe. Although filing an insurance claim will not be on your mind immediately, these actions can also help support your compensation claim.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
You should take your child to get medical treatment right away. Your best option for treatment includes local Children’s Hospitals or Emergency Rooms. Allow EMTs to remove your child from the car. Do not try to move them; only assist if the first responders ask you.
Do I Need to Replace the Car Seat After a Crash?
Yes, you should always replace a car seat that was involved in any type of car accident. Manufacturers suggest replacing car seats even if there is no visible damage. The plastic, foam, and other materials can become weak or develop stress fractures. The insurance company should reimburse you for a new car seat.
Document and Report the Accident
Call 911 to report the accident and get an officer to respond to the scene. A police officer can create an accident report to help determine what happened in the crash. You should also take pictures and video of the accident scene and injuries sustained by your child and yourself. Keep this documentation and give it to your lawyer.
Seek Help from a Car Accident Lawyer
Call an attorney as soon as possible after your child is injured in a collision. Your lawyer can collect evidence to support an insurance claim and obtain compensation to cover your child’s medical bills and other losses. Your Detroit car accident attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement in your favor.
How Are Car Crash Claims Different for Minor Children?
Car crash claims involving minor children differ slightly from those involving adults. Children under 18 cannot file a car accident lawsuit on their own. Instead, their parent or legal guardian would file a claim on their behalf.
How Does Michigan’s No-Fault System Apply to Injured Children?
No-fault insurance benefits apply to children in a similar way that they do covered adults. If your child was involved in a crash, then they are eligible through your auto insurance policy. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will cover their medical bills and up to 85% of lost wages if they work.
If a minor child’s parents do not have no-fault insurance, then the child may be eligible for no-fault benefits through Michigan’s Assigned Claim Plain (MACP). This is a state-managed insurance system to relieve financial stress after a crash that involves a child.
Extended Statute of Limitations for Minors
While most personal injury claims in Michigan must be filed within three years of the date of injury, minors get extra time. The deadline, or statute of limitations, for minors is up to one year after the minor child’s 18th birthday. However, waiting an extended period can negatively impact your case because critical evidence could be lost.
Settlements and Jury Verdicts Must be Approved
A judge must approve any insurance settlement or jury verdict in a child car crash lawsuit. This ensures the child’s best interests are protected.
Once the court approves a settlement, other steps must be taken to protect the money. For example, parents may use the funds to cover the costs of education, medical bills, and housing needs. However, all other money must be reserved for the child until they turn 18. Settlements may also be restricted to a structured insurance policy payout when the child is older.
Compensation Available for Child Injuries
A child is eligible to obtain the same compensation that an adult would be able to get. They can get financial recovery for:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages (if applicable)
- Loss of earning potential
- Attendant care costs
- Replacement services
- Nursing care
- Modifications to the home
- Pain and suffering
In addition, if the at-fault driver’s actions were egregiously wrongful, your child may be able to get punitive damages. These are most common in drunk driving accidents and similar crashes where the driver was reckless or intentional. Punitive damages do not compensate you for losses. Instead, they punish the wrongdoer.
Call Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, If Your Child Was Injured in Detroit
You shouldn’t try to console your child after an accident and simultaneously manage a personal injury claim. You can focus on helping your child heal physically, mentally, and emotionally while Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC handles the legal issues.