As a parent, it is difficult to see your child in pain, especially when there is little that can be done to help comfort them. Though toddler seats, booster chairs and other safety resources for children have helped minimize the frequency of serious injuries in automobile crashes, children are still injured every day.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control revealed that the deaths of children under the age of 13 in automobile wrecks have declined since 1975. Unfortunately, child deaths still account for one out of every four accidental deaths.
What to Do if Your Child Is Hurt in a Car Crash
If you and/or your child are involved in a North Carolina automobile wreck, first and foremost, check for injuries. Then seek prompt medical attention for your child and yourself.
A child’s injuries can often present difficulties, as he or she may not be able to convey where they are hurt. For this reason, it can also be hard to determine if the child has recovered or received the proper care for their injuries.
Even if your child has been cleared by the emergency room staff, it is still necessary to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. This doctor will have a record of your child’s medical history and be able to compare his or her current condition to their pre-accident condition.
Child’s Personal Injury Claim
When a child is injured in a North Carolina car accident, two claims are created: a parent’s claim for medical expenses until age 18; and, a child’s claim for any expenses beyond the age of 18 along with their general damages (such as pain and suffering, permanent injury and permanent scarring).
Insurance companies may pay small claims without requiring court approval, but with any significant case involving injured children you need court approval. This involves having guardian ad litem appointed. Sometimes it can be the parent but, in more significant cases, you often want a lawyer as the guardian ad litem (GAL). The GAL is an individual who makes sure any settlement is in the best interest of the child.
The Court wants to know that the settlement is in the best interests of the child and having a second lawyer review the case is one way for the court to ensure that it is in the best interest of the child.
The child’s settlement funds usually are not accessible until age 18. There are two primary choices with what to do with the funds. The first choice is just to deposit the funds with the Clerk of Court. The child can withdraw the funds at age 18. The second choice is to arrange for a “structured settlement.” This involves the purchasing of a right to guaranteed payment from a life insurance company.
Auto Accident Claims
There are two types of insurance claims: first party claims and third-party claims. While a first party claim is one you file with your own insurance company, a third-party claim is one you file with the insurance provider of another person or business. All motorists in North Carolina are required to have insurance that will pay benefits to a person or child who they negligently cause injury.
If your child has been hit by a car while crossing the street or was involved in an accident while a passenger in a car, you or your attorney should file a third party claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider. If that insurance is insufficient to cover all damages, your child may be able to present a first-party Underinsured Motorist claim against your auto insurance policy. Similarly, if your child is hurt by an uninsured driver, or a hit-and-run driver, you or your attorney can file a first-party claim on their behalf against your Uninsured Motorist coverage.
A good lawyer can help obtain all the evidence that you will need to prove liability in a car accident claim. The lawyer will make sure to get all the accident reports in the case and will often speak with the investigating police officers and witnesses.
Representation for Child Automobile Injuries
Maginnis Law handles North Carolina child personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis – meaning that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless we reach a settlement or obtain a verdict or settlement in your case.
Maginnis Law’s head personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard is experienced in handling complex personal injury claims involving children injured in automobile accidents.
You can contact the Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Law at 919.526.0450 or reach out to Mr. Howard directly at 919.480.8525. You can also email our firm at firstname.lastname@example.org.