Pursuing a Car Accident Claim for an Injured Child
Although we like to believe that we can keep our children safe, most parents know that whether our children encounter danger is often outside of our control. The same is true whenever our children ride in a car, whether they are riding with parents and family, or, say, on a school bus, with an Uber or Lyft driver, babysitter, or friend’s parents. Nobody can predict when a car accident will occur, so if your child has been injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision in Tennessee, you may have questions as to what their legal rights are.Pursuing a Car Accident Claim for an Injured Child
The law does allow parents to pursue a claim for a child injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, children are commonly injured in accidents involving cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, and buses. If your child has suffered personal injuries, here are questions that may be on your mind:
- What type of compensation is my child entitled to?
If your child is involved as a passenger in an automobile wreck, he or she essentially has all of the same legal rights as an adult who is involved in an automobile wreck. The only difference is that the parent(s) will typically bring the claim on behalf of the injured minor, as those below the age of majority cannot bring claims themselves. In a personal injury claim, your child is entitled to compensation for any injury, lost wages (if they work), pain and suffering, or mental anguish your child has suffered. Of course, the burden of proving the case is always on the plaintiff, so any claim for injury, lost wages, pain and suffering, or mental anguish, will have to be backed up by medical records or other forms of documentation.
- If I spent money on my child’s medical care, or missed work to take them to the doctor, am I entitled to compensation?
Parents are entitled to compensation for losses they experienced as a direct result of caring for their injured child. Any lost wage damages sought, however, must be foreseeable damages, meaning that they have to be the type of losses that would be expected to result from an accident. Parents are often able to recover expenses for medical bills and lost wages incurred due to their injured child’s medical treatment.
- Can my child’s case be handled out of court?
In many cases, yes. Just like a claim on behalf of an adult, a settlement may be negotiated before a lawsuit has to be filed or a case goes to trial. The only difference is that state law may require a settlement to be approved by a Court before it can be considered final.
In Tennessee, for example, the court approval process often requires a formalized presentation of the facts, proof that medical bills and expenses have been or will be fully resolved, and testimony by the parent(s) and, if age appropriate, the minor that their injuries have healed. It is a matter of the court’s discretion to determine whether the proposed settlement should be approved, which includes the terms of the settlement and proposed disbursements. Our car accident lawyers, in Memphis and other areas in which we practice, are familiar with the legal requirements needed to properly handle a car accident claim on behalf of a child.
- How long do I have to pursue my child’s claim?
All states have specific statutes of limitation for injury claims. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for all personal injury claims is one (1) year from the date of the injury. For minors, however, the one (1) year period does not begin to run until they reach the age of majority, which is age 18. What this means is that if your 12-year-old child is injured in a car wreck, he/she technically has until one year from the date of majority to resolve their claim without filing suit; however, were you to want to pursue a claim as the parent for expenses that you incurred for medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses, you would still only have one (1) year from the date of the accident to do so. Time is of the essence, and an experienced car accident attorney can protect your rights.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has been representing children and parents of children injured in automobile accidents for more than 25 years. We more than 30 lawyers and 100 staff skilled in building children’s cases, and obtaining the necessary documentation and evidence to successfully resolve injured children’s claims. If your child was a passenger injured in an automobile accident, call our car and school bus accident lawyers at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. We serve people injured throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky, including Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Tupelo, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Cape Girardeau, Hayti, Caruthersville, and Paducah. Let us show you why NST is the way to go.