What To Do When Your Child Is Injured In A Car Accident
Written By: Attorney Jono Young
CALL THE ATTORNEYS OF ZINDA LAW GROUP AT (800) 863-5312 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Having to watch your beloved child endure trauma and suffering after a life-threatening accident is an emotionally draining experience. If you are in the unfortunate position where your child has been in a car crash and has suffered an injury that requires medical treatment, it is most likely in the best interest of your child to retain an attorney for a personal injury claim as soon as possible. A personal injury claim by a minor presents numerous complicated legal issues, which are best handled by a professional legal advocate. Call the attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT WITH A CHILD?
Seek Medical Treatment
Before doing anything, the best advice is to seek medical treatment for your child immediately. If there is any question as to whether your child needs medical treatment, you should err on the side of getting treatment rather than not. It is far better to have a doctor examine your child and tell you that no treatment is necessary than to neglect medical treatment and have your child’s condition become worse down the road because it was untreated in the beginning. Most emergency facilities have an obligation to treat a patient who needs emergency medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay.
Hire an Attorney
After you have sought medical treatment for your child, hiring an attorney is highly recommended. In many cases where a minor-aged personal injury claimant obtains a settlement, even if the settlement is an out-of-court settlement with no lawsuit having been filed, an insurance carrier has the right to require that the settlement be approved by a court in a settlement prove-up hearing before an appropriate judge. This is because without such a court order protecting the settlement, once a minor individual reaches majority age, the individual might have grounds to challenge any settlement that was reached when they were a minor.
The settlement prove-up process is in effect a court’s stamp of approval that a settlement is in the best interest of a minor-aged child. Undoubtedly, a child victim and their family would benefit from being represented in court at such a hearing by a seasoned attorney who is experienced in the law involving minor settlements, as well as the specific court’s procedure.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
DO MY CHILD AND I NEED SEPARATE ATTORNEYS?
In many car crash cases where a child is injured in a car accident while their parent was driving, there might be a conflict of interest which prevents an attorney from representing both the minor and the parent jointly. If there is any argument that a parent might be blameworthy in whole or in part for causing the collision that injured the child, the child would likely need to retain a separate attorney from the parent unless there is a signed conflict waiver in writing.
Additionally, there may be a situation where other passengers in the vehicle, such as the child’s parents, siblings, other family members, or friends may also have suffered an injury. If there is a limited amount of insurance available from the at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage limits, the vehicle passengers may have a conflict among themselves as far as who should obtain what share of the insurance proceeds. It is likely the best course of action for an injured minor-aged victim to have their own separate attorney from the other occupants.
DOES ANY OF THE SETTLEMENT AMOUNT GO TO THE VICTIM’S PARENTS?
A minor-aged personal injury victim’s action belongs to the minor child, and as a general rule, the child and not the parent should be the beneficiary of any money recovered. However, many states do have laws that entitle a parent who is financially responsible for the child’s medical expenses to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses the child has incurred and the parent has paid.
If a child victim’s injuries are substantial or catastrophic, and the injury recovery involves significant sums of money awarded to the minor, it is often advisable to arrange for a structured settlement to pay out to the minor once they reach majority age. Some courts may not even approve a settlement without one. At Zinda Law Group, we have a large network of companies that we have associated with to make sure our minor-aged clients are well taken care of once they reach majority.
WHAT ARE SOME FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF MY CHILD’S RECOVERY?
The first question most attorneys will want to answer about your child’s case is who is ultimately liable for your child’s injuries. Unfortunately, many injuries suffered by children in automobile wrecks may be caused by the child’s own parent’s negligence if the parent was the driver and was at fault for the subject crash. Many states will bar recovery against a family member’s own liability coverage. If the only party to blame is the victim’s own parents, there may not be a viable personal injury action to pursue. Additionally, if there is a liable third party, the laws in many states, such as Colorado and Texas, often operate to dilute a child’s injury recovery according to the extent of the negligence that can be attributed to the driver of the vehicle in which the minor passenger was driving.
WHY CHOOSE ZINDA LAW GROUP?
At Zinda Law Group, we have over 25 attorneys spread throughout Texas and Colorado working hard on behalf of injured victims, many of whom are children. We have a wide array of experience representing minor victims and handling the unique and complex legal issues presented in such cases. Our firm from at-fault drivers and their insurance carriers.
The attorneys at Zinda Law Group are experienced and reputable, including attorneys who once worked on behalf of insurance companies. At the end of the day, we know that it is a frightful experience when a child is injured in a car accident. You didn’t ask for this to happen to your child, and you already have a mountain of worries trying to help your child heal from their suffering and the memory of such a harrowing experience. Call the car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation to see if we may help you navigate the legal issues of your child’s case and fight for the compensation your child deserves. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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