Are Car Accident Cases Different If Children Are Involved?

It is incredibly unfortunate and upsetting when children get involved in a serious car accident. When you are filing a car accident case with a lawyer for a child, the process is different compared to adults. Not only is the statute of limitations different, but the settlement amount will also change. Car accident lawyers have experience in managing personal injury cases involving children. They can help you understand what to expect when you initiate a claim for your child. 

Longer Statute of Limitations

When minors under the age of 18 get involved in a car accident, this can put the statute of limitations on pause. In general, the statute of limitations in Florida is four years from the date of the car accident injuries except in special circumstances.

This can extend for up to seven years after the date of the minor’s car accident injury, according to the Florida Statute § 95.051(i). Otherwise, the minor can file a personal injury claim until the end of the standard statute of limitations after they’ve turned 18. 

The statutory period for a minor can also be tolled based on the discovery rule. This rule states that the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until the affected individual is aware they have an injury caused by the car accident. This protects the minor from belatedly learning they suffered from an accident due to another’s negligence. 

Parent Must File on Their Child’s Behalf 

If a minor was injured in a car accident and is seeking damages, they must wait until the age of 18 to file a claim. To file a claim sooner, they would require a parent or guardian to file a lawsuit or settlement claim with an attorney’s help. 

Higher Medical Damages

A child who is badly injured in a car accident may end up with much worse injuries than their parents or guardians. Their lives may also be in greater danger depending upon the type of wounds they received. 

Pain And Suffering

After a car accident, a child might have more pain and suffering compared to adults. Their psychological trauma might be deeper, especially considering they are more impressionable. They might suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and phobias on entering a vehicle again.

If someone else died in a car accident, their pain and suffering will require therapy to help them recover. Other forms of pain and suffering include depression, grief, shame, poor confidence, and more. 

What Are the Steps I Should Take with A Child’s Car Accident Claim?

When your lawyer is filing a personal injury claim involving a child, long-term implications are considered. You will need to think about how the child’s damages can influence the rest of their life. Additionally, your attorney may recommend you wait before seeking damages to find out how severe their injuries are.

Some injuries may take a long time to appear with deeper complications happening later. For example, the child might require several surgeries before they fully recover from their car accident injuries. 

If your child was recently in a car accident, it is time to take action. You can work with a personal injury attorney to decide if you should file a claim now or wait until the child is 18 years of age.

Although, it is better to seek damages sooner so the child can recover compensation to help with the cost of their medical care and other expenses. Speak to your car accident lawyer about your child’s personal injury claim to determine your best options.