Auto accident compensation for adult and child victims is similar in some areas and different in others. Below are a few things you should know before filing an auto accident case for your child.
Same Legal Rights
Children have equal rights in auto accident cases as adults. Your child doesn't deserve reduced compensation just because they are young. For some damages, such as those related to long-term disability, the child might even get more compensation than an adult might with comparable injuries. This is because the child has to live with the injury longer than an adult has to if both are subject to the same life expectancy.
Two Forms of Compensation
You have to pursue two separate legal actions to get full compensation for the accident. First, you need a claim for the direct damages the child has suffered due to the accident. Secondly, you need a claim for the damages you have suffered due to your child's injuries. For example, if you have spent money caring for and treating the child, you need a claim for their compensation.
Different Application for Statute of Limitations
The statutes of limitations apply differently to injuries that involve kids. For adults, the countdown to the expiry to the statute of limitations begins from the date of injury or from the date of the discovery of the injury. For kids, the countdown begins from the date the child turns 18.
Court Approval of Settlement
In most states, the court has a say on the final settlement for the child. Thus, even if you negotiate with the defendant and reach an agreement, you must take the agreement to the court for the judge's approval. In some states, this process is only necessary for figures above a certain threshold. The court's approval is typically a formality unless the judge discovers a glaring injustice.
Settlement Trust Fund
Lastly, you should know that you or the child might not get the entire settlement at once. In some cases, the judge will determine the percentages of the settlement to go to specific purposes. For example, the judge may determine the percentages for legal costs, medical treatments, and out-of-court settlements. The judge may also set a percentage to be held in a trust until the child reaches the age of majority. This process is likely for cases that settle for high figures.
Hopefully, your child won't suffer auto accident injury any time soon. If your child does suffer such an accident, don't hesitate to consult a lawyer to help preserve the child's legal rights.
Speak with a car crash law office, like Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC, for more details.