How Different are Auto Accident Cases if Children are Involved?
There is nothing more heart-wrenching to a parent than seeing their child in pain and suffering. You cringe seeing your child getting bruised after a fall.
So imagine how terrifying things will be if they get involved in an auto accident.
You know the dire consequences of the accident on your child’s life. There is the risk of your child suffering from temporary pain and discomfort, permanent disability, psychological disorders, and other chronic issues. You also have bills to pay and consider making a personal injury claim to compensate for the expenses.
However, you wonder if the same rule applies to children as to adults who get involved in auto accidents.
Yes, there are special rules for compensation and liability for auto accidents involving children. It’s because personal injury law assumes children cannot make well-informed judgments as adults.
Possible Compensation to Claim
The main thing to remember is that children have the right to claim compensation for any injury sustained through the car wreck. You can claim for:
- Pain and suffering
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- Permanent injuries
- Medical bills you pay for your child’s treatment
Of course, you can always make a claim yourself.
However, you maximize the chances of your child making a complete recovery with the help of a Burbank auto accident lawyer.
It’s because of these significant differences between a claim for an adult and a child. Your lawyer can help navigate the differences.
Why Auto Accident Claims Are Different for Children
There are three main differences between adult and children auto accident claims:
1. Claims Require Court Approval
The most significant difference between an adult’s and a child’s car accident claim is the court’s approval. The judge has the right to reject the child case’s settlement or verdict.
The court always has the child’s interests in mind.
So they may appoint a representative to find out if you are making a claim with your child’s interests in mind. The court has the power to dismiss the case entirely if they find that you are working against the child’s interests.
Of course, this doesn’t often happen because most of the time, the parent or guardian has the child’s interests in mind.
But there’s always the risk of your unintentionally creating problems through mistakes.
There’s the chance of your making errors that lead to your claim getting dismissed or substantially lowered. Consulting your Burbank auto accident attorney before proceeding can help avoid this.
2. Extended Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations describes how long you have to file claims after an accident. While it varies between states, it’s usually two years after the accident.
However, things are different in the case of children.
There are two extensions:
- Two years after their eighteenth birthday. It means the child can file their claim upon becoming an adult instead of having the parent file for them.
- Two years after discovering the injury. The child’s body is still developing. Your doctor may not detect some injuries until their full development. With this extension, parents can claim within two years of the doctor diagnosing an injury from the accident.
3. Minor Cannot File Personal Injury Claims
Children under 18 cannot negotiate and make settlements. However, they can have their parent, guardian, or attorney negotiate on their behalf.
You can always wait till your child turns 18 to file their claim.
However, it’s not the best because you may lose some crucial evidence with time.
But if your child is nearing 18, you can then work with an auto accident attorney in Burbank. Your attorney will suggest filing a statute of limitations extension.