Pursuing a car accident claim for an adult is different from pursuing a car accident claim for a child. Keep these three things in mind if your young one has been injured in a car crash:
Your Child Cannot Sue On Their Own
The first thing you should know is that the child cannot instigate a car accident claim on their own as long as they are under the age of 18. This leaves you with two options:
- You can wait until the child reaches the age of 18 and let them file the claim
- You can file the claim on behalf of the child
There are multiple reasons why the second option makes much more sense than the first option. First, it means you can get the compensation as fast as possible and use it to take care of the child's needs – especially the needs necessitated by the accident. Waiting is also dangerous because of the uncertainty of the future; what if the insurance company goes bankrupt? Even though there is a guaranteed minimum you can expect (if you have a genuine claim) when your insurance company goes bankrupt, it may be less than what you would have obtained sans the bankruptcy.
It's Advisable to Lawyer up ASAP
It is possible to pursue a car accident claim without involving a lawyer, but it is not advisable in some cases. An accident claim that involves injury to a minor is one of those cases that can benefit a great deal from the input of an accident lawyer, such as those at Monohan & Blankenship. If you don't hire an attorney and make some mistakes along the way, the court may dismiss your claim if it believes that the case is not in the child's best interest.
Courts often take this approach because if they allow haphazard cases to proceed without adequate representation, the child may grow up and file a motion with the court alleging that their parents lost the case due to inadequate legal representation. For this reason, it's best to err on the side of caution and hire a lawyer for your child as soon as possible.
The Insurance Company May be Impatient
Lastly, you should also expect the insurance company to push for a fast settlement, which isn't necessarily good for your child's welfare. This is because children's injuries sometimes take longer to manifest themselves – longer than injuries to adults. This means a fast settlement may result in a low settlement that doesn't cover the full extent of the child's injuries.