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Anyone who has been injured in a car accident knows just how stressful they can be. On top of recovering from the accident, there is an added level of stress that comes with trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for it all. However, the waters can become even murkier if the other driver who was involved in your accident is still a child. If you were in an accident with a 17-year-old, you might be left wondering, “Can you sue a minor for a car accident?” You may also be wondering if the level of compensation you can hope to receive is affected because of the age of the other driver. An experienced car accident attorney may be able to help you answer these questions and navigate the legal process.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a minor, contact the car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group by calling (800) 863-5312.
CAN YOU SUE AFTER AN ACCIDENT WITH A MINOR?
Whether you can sue a minor after a car accident will depend on the laws of the state in which the accident occurred. However, if you were injured in an accident, you may have the grounds to seek compensation. It is not a bar to compensation if the other driver in your accident was a minor.
CAN A MINOR BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES THEY CAUSE?
Driving on the road, no matter who is behind the wheel, is an inherently dangerous activity. Thousands of drivers on the road who are of legal age get in accidents every day. Because driving is dangerous regardless of age, the law tends to hold drivers to the same standard, even if they are not adults yet. However, this also depends on the exact age of the child.
Younger children, typically age seven or younger, will not be held liable for the accidental injuries that they cause. This is because they are not yet old enough to understand the risks of their conduct. Once children become a little bit older and can understand right from wrong, they can be held liable for intentional actions. This means that if a child who can understand the consequences of their actions intentionally runs into your vehicle, then they may be held liable for your injuries. Finally, once children have reached their later teenage years, they will typically be held to the same standard as an adult driver. This means that you may be able to seek compensation for accidents caused by teenagers.
CAN PARENTS BE HELD LIABLE FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY THEIR CHILDREN?
Usually, a child who is driving on the road will be covered by either their own or their parent’s insurance policy. Even if they are not covered by their parent’s insurance, their parents might be liable for any accident that their children are involved in. Many states also have rules that state that if the minor is the registered owner of a car and is involved in an accident without insurance, their parents can be held liable up to a certain amount of damages. Talking with an experienced car accident attorney in your area may give you a better idea of whether you might be eligible for compensation, and how to go about seeking it.
COMMON CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES
Even though the legal process might be impacted by the age of the other driver, the injuries that you might sustain will be largely the same—and can be just as severe.
Scrapes and Cuts
Scrapes and cuts are some of the most common injuries after a car accident. During a crash, anything that is not secured within the car can become a projectile and go flying around the vehicle. Also, glass from a broken windshield or window can cause damage to the skin. Though scrapes and cuts might not sound as serious compared to other possible injuries, they can result in very painful lacerations and stitches to fully resolve.
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries can happen in a few different ways during a car accident. Blunt force to the head can certainly cause serious injury. However, head injuries do not require direct contact to the skull. Sudden changes in speed, such as would result in a rear-ending, can cause the head to whip back and forth, causing the brain to be jostled within the skull. Head and brain injuries should be treated with the utmost caution—seek the advice of a medical professional right away if you believe you might have sustained an injury in this area.
Read More: Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries any injury to the soft tissue in your body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue can be damaged in the form of sprains, contusions, and strains. One example of a common soft tissue injury is whiplash, which is when tendons in the neck and upper back area are injured by the sudden and violent movement of the head. Soft tissue injuries can be particularly tricky because the symptoms may not present themselves until days after an accident.
HOW TO FILE A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM
Though a claim against a minor or their parents may be slightly different than against an adult, accident claims will generally follow the same steps.
1. Contact an Attorney
Contacting an experienced car accident attorney in your area should be your first step in any car accident claim. An attorney may be able to guide you through the process effectively and efficiently.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
2. Information Gathering
After you have hired an attorney, they may be able to begin the process of gathering the information that they will need to manage your case. This can include things like photos or video footage, medical records, and police reports.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Once your attorney has gotten a hold of the relevant information and familiarized themselves with it, they may be able to enter into negotiations with the other party or parties involved. A car accident lawyer in your area who has handled similar cases before may be able to use this experience to negotiate a favorable amount for your injuries.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
4. Go to Trial
The vast majority of cases will settle well before they ever get to the point of going to trial. However, if you aren’t able to reach a settlement with the other parties involved, then it might become necessary to go to trial to seek the compensation that you may be entitled to. At this stage, a car accident attorney might be able to assist you by helping develop an effective trial strategy that accentuates the strengths of your case while minimizing any potential weaknesses that may exist.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
For every type of personal injury claim, there is an associated “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the legal term for the amount of time within which you need to file your case. Cases that are brought outside of the statute of limitations risk being thrown out or dismissed. For example, if the statute of limitations for car accidents in your state is two years, then you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim.
There are certain exceptions to statutes of limitations, however. For example, if certain injuries are not discovered until well after your accident, the statute might be tolled. The statute might also be tolled if the victim of the accident is under the age of majority. Generally, however, it is advisable to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney in your state as soon as possible after your accident to avoid running into time limit problems.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
After you have taken care of your medical needs, you will likely begin to wonder what your case might be worth. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how much money, if any, you may end up with, but you may be awarded money for damages that fall into the following categories:
Economic damages compensate for expenses like medical bills, repairing or replacing your vehicle, or other property damage. These damages are relatively easy to prove through receipts and bills listing an actual number.
Non-economic damages typically refer to the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of the injuries from your accident. They are more difficult to prove than economic damages, but they may still be compensable. Generally speaking, the damages in this category will be higher the more severe and painful your injuries are.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
CALL THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
The experienced car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries. We have helped many victims get their lives back on track after an accident. We believe no one should have to worry about affording legal representation after an accident, which is why you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee guarantee.
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