Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their child will be in some form of an accident – regardless of who is at fault. No one wants to see their child hurt. But there are occasions where this is out of your control and something happens to cause your child harm. In the awful event that this happens, the law states that a child under the age of 18 is not able to make a claim on their own behalf. This means that you, their parent or guardian, will need to make a personal injury claim for them.
If your child has been injured in either Las Vegas or Colorado Springs, here is some advice around making a personal injury claim for them.
Each year in the United States, around 14 million teens and children are injured and 6,600 children die in accidents. Accidents are a common occurrence, but that does not mean that you should have to foot the bill. Your child should be compensated if they are injured and it isn’t their fault.
A child’s personal injury claim is made in pretty much the same way as a claim is made for an adult (you can find advice on personal injury claims here), but with a few differences. You will still speak with medical professionals, insurance companies, and a personal injury attorney (should you choose to go down this route). You will detail the facts, present evidence, and either agree on a settlement or take the case to court.
The main differences come in three areas:
- Where normal personal injury claims have a much shorter statute of limitations, a child’s personal injury claim can be made after their 18th birthday with varying statutes of limitations or time periods in which to make a claim. Your attorney will be able to explain these for your situation.
- The main caveat here is that you typically have a deadline to claim the child’s medical bills within. This varies by state and type of claim.
- Once you settle, the settlement will be brought in front of a judge to ensure that it is a fair value for the damages that the child has suffered.
- The settlement proceeds will be locked away in a restricted trust account that your child can access when they turn 21.
- Because of the complications surrounding deadlines by which to make a claim, we recommend that you speak with a reputable personal injury attorney as early as possible after your child is injured. If you need an attorney who can advise you and represent your child, then please speak with Kim Welch Law today. We offer a free consultation to help you get your bearings and figure out a plan of action for your child’s claim.
It is usually hard for a child to verbalize their injuries and sometimes may not want to do so with their parents. This isn’t something that you should take offense to but be mindful of. We recommend that soon after the accident, you take your child to speak with a specialist/pediatrician who works with kids every day. They will have experience in helping children explain how they’re feeling. This can highlight the problems, aches, or pains that they may be experiencing.
Children can also suffer from mental anguish or fear after a crash. Depending on their age, most children will not have fully developed the problem solving or logical areas of their brain. This is why you will often see trauma or PTSD in a child after an accident. Whether this is a dog bite, a car crash, or any other type of accident, the child may create associations. Such as associations between all dogs with the bite, or all car seats with the crash. This needs to be taken into account when you make a claim.
There is a burden of proof required for mental anguish. This, once again, may require you to speak with a pediatrician or child psychologist who can help your child put how they feel into words and prove the psychological harm done to your child.
Does age make a difference in my child’s personal injury claim?
Typically, it doesn’t, but this will come down to your situation and the severity of the injuries. If your 6-year-old child is in a car accident and loses the use of their legs, then we will look at and pursue compensation for the long-term impacts on that child.
In some cases, there could be the argument that the child had done something to “provoke”the accident, which is an attempt to “shift the blame.”Boys will be boys, that sort of thing. There may be the accusation that your child was petting a neighbor’s dog too hard or playing somewhere that they shouldn’t.Try to keep a detailed record of what your child told you happened and give this to your attorney.
Should the worst happen, and your child loses their life, then you may be able to bring a wrongful death suit against the guilty party. This is likely the very last thing that you want to be thinking about, but this is here to remind you that you have options. No parent should ever have to bury their child. And no amount of compensation will ever fill the void left from the loss of your child. We advise anyone in this situation to speak to an attorney to find out their options.
What can I make a claim for on behalf of my child?
In addition to medical bills, mental anguish, and other damages, your claim can also include their future loss of earning potential. Your son or daughter may have dreams to become a fireman or Olympic athlete one day, and this injury may be the reason why this never happens.
There is also a type of damage called “loss of enjoyment of life.” If a child is now restricted to a wheelchair, they will no longer be able to run and play with their friends. This can be taken into consideration. Our children love to have fun and deserve to as well. Together we can work to include this in your claim.
How do I make a personal injury claim if my child has been in an accident?
The first thing to do when considering a personal injury claim is to be a parent. Make sure that they are safe, warm, and well. That is your number 1 priority. Let them know that they can talk to you if they need to and be there to love and look after them. You may also need to make some adjustments in the short to medium term to remove distress. Maybe don’t take them to the dog park or choose a different route to school.
The next thing to do is to take them to see a doctor. Your child may not have told you that anything is wrong because they don’t know how to. But having them speak with a trained professional who can help them verbalize the problem is so important. This also falls under the need to make sure that they are safe, warm, and well.
Finally, speak with a personal injury attorney. No matter the simplicity or complexity of your case, an attorney can help to guide your claim to a more successful conclusion and help your child get the compensation that they deserve. If your child has been hurt in an accident that wasn’t their fault, please get in touch with Kim Welch Law today. We have years of experience in helping you to maximize the result of your claim and help remove the stress. Your priority right now should be your child, and not dealing with insurance companies and at fault parties.
You can arrange a free consultation by completing the contact form on our site, or by calling us at (888) 590-5510. Our clients are our top priority, and we will fight like a bulldog for your child. So please, give us a call, and let’s see if we can help with your child’s claim today!