Before you file a car accident claim, you should first understand how a car accident claim for an adult will differ from that of a child. You need to understand this because of how it can have a dramatic impact on how your child will receive compensation. Getting injured could have a profound effect on your life or your child's life. That's why you need a Los Angeles child injury attorney to help. Look up, "child injury lawyer near me" to learn more.
Minors Can't File Personal Injury Claims
First, you have to understand how minors can't file a personal injury claim. Children under the age of 18 can't file a claim, and they will need an adult to file the claim on their behalf. The actual process of filing the claim will have resemblances to how you'd file a claim for injuries to yourself. In some cases, the process could get complicated, but we will cover that soon. However, we'd advise that you do this with the careful guidance of a child injury lawyer Los Angeles law firm.
You could potentially wait until your child turns 18, but we advise against this because of how you can lose some of the most essential evidence. Still, if you have a child close to turning 18, you could use this to your advantage. You could file a statute of limitations claim extension. This extends your claim, and you will avoid the complications of filing.
Minors Get an Extended Statute of Limitations
Based on personal injury statutes, you will know how long your child has to file. For cases with children, they have extended the statute of limitations to two years. This will also depend on the state. You can claim an extension for a child injury two times. As the parent or guardian, you will be the one to file the claim.
Potential Damages to Recover
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Ongoing medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to earn future income
- Therapy and rehabilitation services
- Hospital bills
In some cases, the adult could receive extra compensation for the loss of time that they had to take off from work to take their child to a therapy or rehabilitation clinic. This depends on the circumstances surrounding it.
Court Approval Needed
For child injury claims, they will require the approval of the courts. Even in cases where they settle the case, the court still has the power to reject a settlement or a verdict. They do this looking out for the best interests of the child. They will use a representative who will look at the logistics of the case to report on whether or not the parent has upheld the best interests of the child. If the parent hasn't upheld it, this could mean that the court will reject the case even if the verdict was in favor.
You should treat this just like you would a regular court case, however. For example, you still need to hire a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles law firm. Failure to hire a legal professional can lead to you not getting the compensation that your child needs, or it could lead to the case getting dismissed outright.
Depends on the Case
Everything will largely depend on the specifics of the case. In some cases, you could be awarded punitive damages. This means that they gave you extra to punish the perpetrator. For example, this has happened in cases with drunk drivers who caused permanent harm to the child. Usually, punitive damages get reserved for some of the worst cases. They saw the driver as reckless, negligent or willful. Willful means that they acted intentionally for the purpose of harm.
Usually, when the courts tack on punitive damages, they do it to send a statement. They do it because they want to show others that it is not okay to act this way. In fact, if you act this way, you will receive punishment.
How Does the Court Approve a Decision?
When the judge looks at the case, he will hear the testimony to make sure that it is fair. The judge might question the parents on a number of things, such as:
- Education status
- The injuries suffered
- Health status
- Anticipated medical needs and rehabilitation
- Disability because of the accident
Even after a court approves of the verdict, someone will have to sign off on it to approve that everything is in the best interests of the child. They do this because the child will be bound by whatever verdict is reached. That's one of the reasons for the increasing complications in cases like this. Google "child injury lawyer near me" to learn more.
How the Funds Get Distributed
Once the verdict gets approved, the court still holds weight as to how the funds will get distributed. It depends on the circumstances, but minors could have their funds held until they turn 18. This depends on the decision of the courts. In other cases, they might structure the payments so that it comes out to the child over a set period of days. When they approve this form of payment, the court puts the funds into a trust. Based on the structure of the agreement for the settlement, they will get dispersed over time to the child to make sure that the funds reach the child. Usually, it will begin on a date after the child turns 18 years old.
Many times, a car accident will mean that you have to go through years of follow-up medical care. Depending on how bad the accident was, it could even become a lifetime of medical care.
If you'd like to learn more, please contact our child injury lawyer Los Angeles firm. We have a Los Angeles child injury attorney that can defend your child's rights and navigate the minefield of legal rigmarole. After someone has recklessly endangered your life and your child's life, why shouldn't they pay for it? Hire a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles law firm today to get the best results. We will fight for you.