What Happens When A Child Is Injured In A Car Crash?
When a child suffers an injury or is killed in an auto accident, parents and other family members are often left with many unanswered questions. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed, but help may be available to get you through this. If the crash was the result of negligence, such as a distracted driver, a dangerous roadway or a faulty vehicle part, the injured child or the family members of the deceased child may have a legitimate claim or lawsuit.
The Seattle child injury attorneys at Pendergast Law are sympathetic to and resourceful for those affected by a serious car collision involving a child. For years, we have protected the rights of our clients, assisting them in their pursuit of justice for compensation. Please contact us today by calling 888-539-9211 for a no-cost consultation.
Child Auto Accident Recoveries
- A $460,695 recovery in a wrongful death claim for a boy killed when his friend pulled out into oncoming traffic in Woodinville
- A $162,500 recovery for a girl who fractured her skull when she was hit by a car while in a crosswalk walking to school in Kent
What Are The Most Common Injuries Children Suffer After A Car Accident?
The injuries to a child involved in a car accident don’t differ that much from the injuries sustained by an adult in a car accident. However, because children are much smaller and are still developing in many ways, the injuries can be much more severe. The most common injuries suffered by children after car accidents are:
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and concussions
- Spine and neck injuries, including whiplash
- Back injuries
- Chest injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
Even when sitting in the same position and in the same seat, the injuries to a child in a car accident can vary depending on their age. Children over the age of one are found to suffer more cuts and bruises, especially to their heads, than younger children. This could be because their faces extend above car seats, leaving them without the protection of the seat’s frame.
However, children younger than one are more susceptible to head and brain trauma, such as concussions. This could be because although their faces are protected, their heads can sometimes slam into the frames of car seats, causing damage.
Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, children involved in rollover accidents are 10 times more likely to incur incapacitating injuries than when any other type of vehicle is involved.
Deciding to take legal action after a child is injured or killed in a Seattle car accident is a serious matter.
What Should Parents Do After Their Child Is In A Car Accident?
The moments after a car accident are extremely stressful, especially when your child has been involved. But it can be difficult to know what to do, and when an injured child is looking to you for answers, panic can quickly set in.
While it’s easier said than done, it’s important to stay calm after an accident. This will help the child stay calm and make it easier to tend to the things you need to do immediately. After an accident that involves their child, parents should:
- Get medical attention right away: There is nothing more important than your child’s health.
- Collect as much information as you can: Speak to witnesses and record what they saw, write down your own statements and have your child write down their statement as well, if they are able to. Also, remember to take pictures of any damage and/or injuries at the time of the accident.
- Call the police: Not only will an accident report need to be written, but police can help calm and control the situation as well.
- Contact a Seattle personal injury attorney: They will listen to your case and help get any compensation that victims may be eligible for.
Do The Courts View Child Injury Cases Different Than Other Personal Injury Cases?
The courts do view child injury cases differently than they do other personal injury claims. This is because, when an adult files a lawsuit against another adult, the court will hear both sides of the story and decide on a judgment that is fair for both parties – even when awards are only given to one person. The plaintiff has the right to speak and act on their own behalf, and the court will make judgments based on that.
However, in a child injury case, the court still listens to all parties involved, and the plaintiff still has the right to speak on behalf of the minor child. However, the courts will act in a manner that’s best for the child, and the plaintiff could actually hurt their case.
This is because, if it’s the court’s opinion that the plaintiff is not acting in the best interests of the child, the case may be thrown out in court. For instance, if a lawyer would have advised their clients to settle outside of court but the parents went to trial in order to get a larger compensation, the courts may decide to throw out the case because the parents did not act in the best interests of the child. This is just one instance in which courts might throw out a child injury case, but there are many. It’s for this reason that parents should always contact a Seattle personal injury attorney if they want to take their case to court.
What Compensation Is Available For Children?
The same compensation that’s available to adults who are injured in car accidents is available for children as well. This compensation is broken down into economic damages, for which actual financial values can be placed, and noneconomic damages, or injuries that don’t have a concrete financial value.
Economic damages available:
- Lost wages, including any lost future earning capacity
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Court costs
Noneconomic damages available:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
In order to get the full compensation that may be available, parents should hire a Seattle personal injury attorney to represent them right away.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Washington Child Personal Injury Claim?
The general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in the state of Washington is three years, meaning that is the length of time injured parties have to file a lawsuit against those that caused their injuries. However, when the injured party is a child, that statute of limitations is extended until the child turns 18 years old. Should a child wait until they reach the age of adulthood to file a claim, they can do so on their own. However, there are many reasons why parents should file a claim on behalf of the child instead.
When parents file a claim on behalf of their minor child, the statute of limitations on the personal injury case is three years. Choosing this option is advisable for most parents, as often they have incurred out-of-pocket expenses that they need to be compensated for right away.
In addition to this, waiting can cause crucial evidence to be destroyed, damaged or lost, and witness testimony will not be as reliable when given years after the fact.
Can The Legal Process In Washington Benefit Your Family?
It is crucial to access information about your legal rights and options to determine whether filing a claim or lawsuit will be in your family’s best interests. Legal action may result in compensation for damages associated with the collision and your losses as well as bring closure to your family in knowing that negligent parties have been held legally responsible.
At Pendergast Law, our Seattle car accident lawyers provide our clients with personal attention to not only provide support, but also build the most effective case possible. The legal process is frequently stressful and draining; however, we work diligently to make it a productive and smooth experience. With our successful track record handling a wide range of cases, our clients can rely on us.
Overcoming The Aftermath Of A Seattle Child Car Crash
There is no denying that a car crash presents several significant challenges for those involved as well as their families. This is especially the case when a crash involves a child. A child’s future is bright and full of many possibilities, but this future may be jeopardized by a car accident. If your child has been injured, a claim or lawsuit may result in money for the cost of past and future medical care and treatment, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, and many other forms of compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages.
For families who lose a child in a motor vehicle collision, no amount of money can undo what happened or alleviate the heartbreak. However, a family may get some level of closure when negligent parties are held accountable. Being compensated for the aforementioned damages as well as funeral expenses and other losses in relation to the wrongful death can also help families in relieving financial stress and as a step in the grieving process.
At Pendergast Law, We Work To Get Justice For Our Clients
At Pendergast Law, we go above and beyond for our clients as we protect their rights and fight for justice. We understand that a child car accident case has the power to drastically impact the life of the child as well as the lives of the child’s loved ones. We are here to help and make a difference in your case. To learn more about our law firm, please view our reviews and case results. We also welcome you to fill out a contact form or call us at 888-539-9211.