If your child has been injured as the result of a car accident and you are considering filing a claim, it’s important to know the differences to an adult claim when you file on behalf of your child. These differences can have a large effect on your ability to ensure that your child gets the right amount of compensation for their injuries. 

Some car accidents only lead to mild injuries, while others can have a very profound effect on your child’s life, both now and in the future. It can lead to temporary or even chronic lifelong pain, permanent disabilities, and even mental health conditions such as PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder. It is important to work alongside health professionals and an experienced personal injury or car accident attorney to ensure that your child’s chance for a healthy, happy and fulfilling life is maximized despite the accident. 

So, what are the main differences that you should be aware of as a parent?

Minors Cannot File Personal Injury Claims:

The first major difference to be aware of is that anybody under the age of 18 is unable to file their own personal injury claim. However, as the parent or legal guardian of the child, you will be able to file the claim on their behalf. The process of doing this is quite similar to filing a claim for yourself, however, there are some complications involved. 

If you and your child would rather, there is also the option of waiting until they turn 18 and are able to file a claim for themselves. However, this is not usually recommended in the case of very young children since important evidence can be lost over time, therefore minimizing the amount of compensation that your child will be entitled to. On the other hand, if your child is quite close to turning 18, it may be worth filing a statute of limitations extension to allow them to file their own claim as an adult. 

Court Approval is Required:

One of the most significant complications that arise when you file a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor is that the court must approve of the settlement or even the verdict. Even if the parents and the other party involved settle, the court has the power to approve or reject the outcome. However, the child’s best interest will always be the primary concern of the court and they will take steps to ensure that you as the child’s parent or legal guardian acts accordingly. This is usually done by appointing a representative who will analyze the case files and determine whether the child’s interests are being upheld.

As a parent, you know that you will always have your child’s best interests in mind during a personal injury case – however, even the best-intentioned parents and guardians can make a mistake. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is failing to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process. You can find skilled personal injury attorneys to help you navigate your child’s case at https://www.brownandcrouppen.com/

Extended Statute of Limitations:

Laws surrounding the statute of limitations of personal injury claims dictate the amount of time that a person has to file an injury claim after the injury occurs. In cases that involve a minor, the statute of limitations is extended from being the usual two years after the injury occurred. 

There are two different extensions to consider. The first one allows minors to wait until up to two years after their 18th birthday to file the claim, which allows them to file their own personal injury claim as an adult rather than having to rely on a parent or guardian to do it on their behalf. The other statue extension is until two years after the injury was discovered, rather than occurred. This is because some injuries in young children are not discovered until their joints, muscles, bones or brain have developed further and can be difficult to spot right away. 

Different Compensations:

Both adults and children are entitled to file for similar types of compensation in a personal injury claim. However, children cannot claim for some of the same types of compensation that an adult would be able to claim for, such as loss of work, which would not apply to them. In a personal injury claim, your child may be awarded compensation for damages including:

Loss of Future Income: If your child’s injuries are severe enough to have an impact on their future ability to work as an adult, they may be entitled to compensation. This can usually be a very considerable amount of compensation for a child who would have otherwise had their entire working life ahead of them and is often awarded in monthly or yearly payments throughout their life. 

Emotional Distress: Young children might not remember car accidents or even connect them to their pain; however, even toddlers can be seriously emotionally affected by car accidents. It is not uncommon for young children to experience mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a car accident. 

Pain and Suffering: Even if the injuries were not life-changing, temporary pain or disability can be a very traumatizing experience for a young child who may not be old enough to fully understand what is happening. 

Why You Need a Lawyer:

Deciding whether or not to file a personal injury claim on behalf of your child or wait until they are old enough to file their own is best done with the guidance of an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the advantages, disadvantages and complications of each option. In addition, a good personal injury lawyer or car accident lawyer will represent you in court and ensure that whichever option you choose, things can go as smoothly as possible for both you and your child. 

Being involved in a car crash is never a nice experience for a child to go through, and if this has happened to your child, they may be entitled to compensation.