Getting in a car accident is a very stressful scenario for adults. More so if the accident causes injury to a child or minor. There are many different situations in which a child may be injured in a car accident. And when this happens, it is crucial to determine the liability. Whoever is liable for the injury to the child will be the one responsible for paying the compensation that your child needs for their personal injuries.
In this article, we will be tackling some different situations in which a child may become injured in a car accident, how to determine who is liable for these situations and how to consult a car accident lawyer to figure it out.
How To File a Car Accident Claim for a Child’s Personal Injury?
The procedure for claiming compensation for minors, or people under 18, varies from state to state. But generally, a child personal injury lawsuit is very similar to an adult personal injury lawsuit. The person liable will be paying monetary compensation for damages such as:
- medical expenses
- future loss of income
- pain and suffering
- emotional damage
- additional household expenses l
- travel expenses
These are only paid in compensation if they are brought forth by the accident.
However, in Texas, Minors cannot file cases on their own. They have two options. They can wait until the minor turns 18, and they can file their cases two years after they turn 18. Or, they can get a parent or a guardian to file their case for them. The latter is more favorable since a lot of time and evidence may be lost in the years leading to the minor turning 18. Filing a case right away ensures that the evidence is more successful.
What’s more crucial is that the court has to take your car accident lawsuit seriously. The best action to take is to hire a car accident lawyer. Without them, you are at risk of having your car accident claim process and your settlements thrown out of court. A car accident lawyer shows the court that your case is moving forward in your child’s best interest.
Who is Liable For Your Child’s Injury?
There are multiple scenarios in which your child may be injured in a car accident. They may be injured as a pedestrian, passenger, or driver. We will tackle each of these situations and give you tips on determining the liability of your child’s injury.
- Your Child Was Injured as A Pedestrian
In 2019, there were 181 child pedestrians that were involved in fatal car accidents. Pedestrians are defined as anyone who is on foot, walking, running, jogging, or even lying down involved in traffic. Children are of small stature and cannot be easily seen by drivers. They also lack judgment and independence and should not be allowed to play near traffic. These situations cause the risk of child pedestrian accidents.
If your child was injured in a car accident as a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle involved may be the one liable. However, you would have to show that the party is liable for the damages they caused. In order to do this you would have to prove that:
- The driver owed your child the duty of care and breached that duty
- This breach of duty caused your child’s injury
- Your child’s injury is as severe as your claim
To help in proving this, it is best that you take photos and videos at the scene of the accident to gather as much evidence as you can. Also, call the police immediately to report the accident and get emergency medical services for your child as soon as possible.
Lastly, you need to hire specialized lawyers for car accident claims. These accident and injury lawyers can help you solidify your case and get you the rightful compensation that your child will need after the accident.
- Your Child Was Injured as A Passenger
If your child was injured as a passenger, then they are fault-free and it is usually the negligent driver who is at fault for their injuries. If it is a single-car crash, then the person driving the car would be the one at-fault. However, if it is a two-person car crash then you must first figure out which driver was the one who was at fault.
Whoever the negligent driver is will be the one to compensate for the child’s injuries. If the driver is insured, then you can file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
- Your Child Was Injured as A Driver
In Texas, if a minor was driving the car during the accident, the driver is usually held liable for the accident. This is especially if there is proof that the minor was negligent, careless, or intentionally caused the accident.
If you are insured and your child is covered under your insurance, then you will be able to file your claim with your insurance company. They will be the ones to compensate and shoulder any expenses that you or any other parties have that are caused by the accident.
In some cases, a parent may also be held liable even if their child was the one driving. Texas passed a law called the Texas Family Code 41.001 which states that the parent or guardian in charge of the control or discipline of a minor will be liable for the property damages that the child causes in some circumstances.
Such circumstances are when a child’s negligence can be traced back to the negligent failure of their parent or legal guardian. Or if a child was purposeful and malicious in their conduct. If the minor is between the ages 10 and 18 and you can prove that their actions were purposeful and malicious, their parents or legal guardian will be liable.
Getting a child involved in a car accident is a dreadful and traumatic experience. Your child will go through a lot of healing after the incident. For the best chances of getting the rightful amount of compensation, it is recommended to get a car accident lawyer that will help you fight for your child and the care that they need.