Can Children Recover Compensation After a Car Accident? | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
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Can Children Recover Compensation After a Car Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents

Car accidents are traumatic for everyone involved. Between the shock of the initial impact and the pain and suffering caused by injuries, roadway collisions are known for causing heartache. As devastating as these events can be, they are infinitely worse when a child is involved. Children are far more fragile than adults and are more likely to sustain an injury in a car crash. If your child has been hurt in a car accident, it may be possible to seek funds from those responsible.

While all personal injury lawsuits share similarities, those involving children can be complicated. For one thing, children need the help of an adult to seek funds. There are also different standards related to negligence and the losses that can be pursued. Our car accident lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. take your child’s injuries very seriously. We will do whatever it takes to help you cover the costs of your recently acquired financial burden.

Personal Injury Claims Involving Children

Obtaining compensation for a child’s injuries requires months of preparation and an understanding of civil suits involving minors. In Illinois, a child injured in a car accident cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, a parent or legal guardian must do so on their behalf. The only exception to this rule is when an older child has been emancipated.

Standard of Negligence in Child Injury Claims

It is also important to realize that negligence standards in a personal injury case differ when the victim is a child. When an adult is hurt in a car crash, they may not be able to file a lawsuit if they are more than 50% at fault. Children, however, are mentally underdeveloped and may be labeled as blameless. Liability is typically determined case-by-case basis, depending upon all of the facts.

How Child Injury Claims Work After a Car Accident

When a child is injured, they cannot pursue certain losses, such as lost wages. However, they may be able to seek funds for loss of enjoyment or eliminate future occupations resulting from a permanent disability.

In addition, the judge may assign guardian ad litem to review a settlement agreement reached by both parties. In most cases, these volunteer attorneys are only called upon when a settlement has not been deemed fair and reasonable by a judge.

Any settlement of the claim must be court-approved. The court acts as a parens patriae in the matter. It does this to ensure the child benefits from the settlement, not the parents.

What Damages Can a Child Recover after an Accident?

Children and infants may receive coverage for any losses they suffer from a car accident. The following types of losses may apply to a child victim.

Pain and Suffering

Trauma from a car accident can affect children in profound ways. Pain and suffering may cover:

  • Physical pain from injuries
  • Psychological pain
  • Emotional pain
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of their ability to interact normally with friends and family

A child may suffer anxiety, depression, and other lasting symptoms because of a car accident. Pain and suffering may cover these and different types of damage.

Healthcare Costs

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children five and older. If a child suffers any sort of injury in a car accident, their healthcare costs may include:

  • Ambulance services
  • Imaging services
  • Diagnostic doctor’s visits
  • Emergency treatment
  • Surgery
  • Follow-up treatment
  • Rehabilitative services

Depending on the nature of the injury, healthcare costs could be lifelong. Liable parties may be responsible for such medical expenses.

Counseling and Other Psychological Treatment

A child victim may experience lasting emotional and psychological trauma from a car accident. To address anxiety and other conditions that can come from such accidents, your child may need:

  • Ongoing psychological therapy
  • Specific targeted therapies
  • Medication

A settlement or judgment may cover the cost of psychological care for a child victim.

Compensation for Parents of Kids in Car Accidents

If your child was injured in a car accident, you might be entitled to compensation, even if you suffered no physical injuries. For instance, you are the one who has to cover the child’s hospital bills, so it is based on your expenditures that you can seek reimbursement from the liable party.

You and the child’s other parent or guardian can also ask for compensation based on:

  • Income lost when you stayed home from work to care for your child
  • Income you expect to lose in the future if your child suffered permanent injuries and will need round-the-clock care
  • Nurses, babysitters, and other caretakers you hired to look after your child during times you were unavailable

Who’s Liable for Your Child’s Car Accident Injuries?

Your car accident lawyer will need to carefully examine the way your child’s car accident occurred to determine who is at fault for their injuries. Depending on the cause of the accident, multiple parties could share liability.

Not only could negligent drivers be held accountable, but if another party was transporting your child at the time of the accident and they were responsible for causing the collision, that party could be held accountable.

For example, if your child was on their way to a field trip, and the bus driver was using their cell phone at the time of the collision, you may have a claim against the negligent bus driver, the bus company, and even other third parties.

You can get a better idea of who could be liable for your child’s car accident injuries when you contact your attorney to discuss the specific details of your case.

How Can My Child’s Settlement Funds Be Used?

When a child is awarded funds during a personal injury lawsuit, they may not be immediately available. While parents may be allowed to pay for things like medical bills and rehabilitation, compensation that is awarded for pain and suffering and similar losses may be held in a trust account with the county clerk.

Settlement of a minor’s claim must go through the probate court. The court requires the following information before approving the settlement:

  • Accident facts
  • Alleged liable parties
  • Legal claim
  • Defenses
  • Child’s medical record
  • Amount of liability insurance coverage
  • Attorney’s fees and expenses
  • Net amount due to child

The proceeds go into a court-controlled bank account when the court approves the settlement. The money stays there until the injured child turns 18. To withdraw any funds, you must petition the court and state why it is needed. The judge decides if the reason is an appropriate use of the child’s funds.

How Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Can Help

When your child is hurt, all you want to do is make it better. After a car accident, you are focused on your child’s physical and mental recovery. All negligent parties must pay for the injuries they caused to your child. Let Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. help. We can fight for the compensation your child deserves and explain how a court protects the award until your child is 18.

At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our highly skilled attorneys have helped many people recover compensation for their injuries. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Whether it involves analyzing existing evidence or launching a full-scale investigation, they will work tirelessly to seek justice for you and your child.

If you would like a free consultation for your case, call (312) 236-2900 today.

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(312) 236-2900
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