When your child suffers injuries in a car accident, the entire family can suffer as a result. You hate seeing your child in pain or with long-term injuries related to another driver’s negligence. An injury claim seems like the best way to get compensation for your family’s financial losses.
However, many families want to know how much compensation they can expect for the injuries their child has sustained. Furthermore, they may have multiple questions about what an average settlement should look like and how to know they have received a reasonable offer.
Child injury claims do not have specific settlement values since they can depend on several factors. Working with a lawyer may offer you the best odds of determining how much compensation your child deserves for car accident injuries and successfully navigating that claim.
Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts
The average for car accident settlements across the United States sits at $29,700 for accidents involving injuries. However, several factors can contribute to the amount your family can ultimately recover from the injuries your child sustained in the accident.
Factors That Can Influence Your Child’s Car Accident Settlement
Many factors surrounding your child’s car accident can influence the compensation your family can recover for those injuries. Understanding those factors can make it much easier to determine how much compensation you should expect for your child’s injuries.
1. Where Did Your Child’s Accident Occur?
Most states have at-fault policies regarding car accidents: the driver that caused the accident bears liability for the injuries sustained in the accident, and the injured party can file a claim for compensation through that party’s insurance company. However, some states have no-fault laws that can impact injured parties’ ability to pursue compensation.
These states include:
In a no-fault state, the driver who causes an accident will still bear liability. In most cases, you will seek compensation for your vehicle’s damages through that party’s insurance company, if relevant. However, the party that causes your child’s accident will not take on liability for paying for those injuries directly. Instead, you will start by filing a claim through your personal injury protection insurance.
You may use your personal injury protection insurance when:
- Your child suffers injuries in your vehicle
- Your child suffers injuries as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle
- Your child suffers injuries in a car accident as a pedestrian or while on a bicycle
Suppose your child suffers injuries while riding in someone else’s vehicle in a no-fault state. In that case, you may have the right to use that driver’s personal injury protection insurance to cover the cost of treatment for your child’s injuries.
Personal injury protection insurance generally covers immediate medical treatment for any type of car accident injury. PIP coverage can make it easier for your family to pay for your child’s medical care after a devastating accident. Some states allow you to carry PIP coverage even if the state does not have a no-fault policy.
Filing a Claim in a No-Fault State
In some cases, even in no-fault states, you may have the right to file a claim for compensation for the costs associated with your child’s injuries. For example, you may have the right to file a claim when you do not have PIP insurance that will help protect your family from the costs associated with those injuries.
You may also file a claim even in a no-fault state if:
- Your child’s medical costs exceed a certain amount set by the state’s laws
- Your child has a permanent disability related to the car accident
If your child suffered injuries in a car accident in a no-fault state, talk to a lawyer to learn more about how much compensation your family can expect.
2. Who Caused Your Child’s Car Accident?
Insurance claims can prove tricky. In some cases, you may need to identify the party that bears liability for your child’s accident and injuries. In the case of a child injury, the driver may bear a higher general duty of care to the child than under other circumstances. In addition, some parties carry higher-value insurance policies than others.
To determine how much compensation your family has the right to recover after your child suffers serious injuries in an accident, you may need to look at who caused the accident.
- At the time of the accident, did your child suffer injuries in an accident with a driver on the clock? In many cases, employers will have dangerous policies that may change the way a driver drives. Those policies can cause the employer to share liability for an accident. The employer may carry a higher-value insurance policy than the average driver, increasing the compensation your family can recover.
- Did your child suffer injuries in an accident with a big truck? Big truck drivers frequently carry higher-value insurance policies that may increase the compensation the family can recover after an accident.
- Did your child’s injuries occur due to the negligent actions of an Uber or Lyft driver? Those drivers generally have higher-value insurance coverage that can provide additional compensation in the event of an accident.
- What type of insurance does the party liable for your child’s accident carry? In many cases, that driver’s insurance can set policy limits that may determine how much compensation your family can recover for many types of injuries. A lawyer can help you review the policy and take a closer look at what compensation you can expect based on its terms, including any exceptions that may help increase the compensation you can recover.
Talk to a lawyer to better understand who may bear liability for your child’s accident. Sometimes, the liable party might immediately spring to mind: for example, cases in which a distracted driver failed to stop for your child playing in the road or your child suffered injuries in a crash with a driver who clearly violated the rules of the road.
In other cases, however, liability can prove more complex. A lawyer can help identify whether any other factors may have contributed to your child’s injuries and who, therefore, might share liability for the incident.
3. What Injuries Did Your Child Suffer in the Car Accident?
Any injury can feel catastrophic to a child. Broken bones, for example, may keep a child from engaging in his favorite activities for weeks, especially if he ends up with a cast during the summer months when he would rather hit the pool. However, the severity of your child’s injuries can substantially impact the compensation your child can recover for the injuries sustained in a car accident.
Many car accident claims start with a look at the victim’s medical expenses. In the case of a car accident claim, that means looking at all the medical costs your family has paid due to your child’s accident and the associated injuries. Child injuries can prove complicated. Broken bones, for example, can sometimes heal faster for children than for adults.
On the other hand, in some cases, an injury that would not cause permanent disability for an adult may cause more serious complications for a child. You may need to work closely with your child’s doctor and a lawyer to clearly lay out the limitations your child suffered because of the car accident and the financial burden associated with those injuries.
Try to document your child’s medical bills carefully during the recovery process. Remember that, in many cases, you may receive multiple bills for the same procedure. For example, if your child had surgery, you may receive a bill from the hospital, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist. You may also receive separate bills for some imaging tests even while your child remains hospitalized.
Keeping up with all those bills can prove very difficult. However, by keeping a list of the accounts your family has dealt with following your child’s accident, you may have a better idea of how much compensation your family can claim.
Compensation in an injury claim often starts with a look at the financial losses associated with those injuries. In the case of a child injury claim, that generally means starting with a look at the medical bills the child faced because of the accident.
4. What Pain and Challenges Did Your Child Face Because of the Injuries?
Seeing your child suffer can prove difficult for any parent. However, seeing your child struggle with ongoing limitations or permanent disability can prove even more difficult. Talk to a lawyer about your child’s challenges during the recovery process. Discuss the physical pain associated with his injuries as well as the emotional challenges related to those injuries.
Consider these key factors.
- Did your child have to miss out on activities that he would have preferred to engage in because of his car accident injuries? For example, injuries from a car accident could cause a child to miss out on participating in his preferred sport during a particular season or having to stay home from a much-anticipated trip or field trip.
- Did your child struggle with the loss of independence that may occur with serious injuries? Many children will need more help than adults while recovering from serious injuries since they may not have the skills to figure out how to accomplish those tasks for themselves. For some children, that can prove devastating.
- Did your child’s accident and injuries impact his relationship with his friends? Children, in particular, may have difficulty maintaining relationships with friends while recovering from serious injuries. Those friends might not visit on their own. As a result, children may feel lonely and isolated while they recover from car accident injuries.
A lawyer can help you determine how to include your child’s suffering as part of an injury claim that reflects all your family’s losses due to the accident.
Using the Funds From Child Injury Claims: A Note
The funds from a child injury claim belong to the child as the injured party. In some states, that means that the funds go into a trust for the child, which parents can only access when they have a valid expense related to the child’s care. In other states, parents can use the funds from an injury claim, but only for things related to the child’s needs and desires.
Sometimes, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to oversee the trust so that the court can ensure that those funds get used in the child’s best interests.
Talk to a lawyer to ensure you understand how best to use your child’s trust after a car accident so that you can keep those uses in line with your state’s laws.
Let a Lawyer Assess Your Child’s Losses and Help With Your Accident Claim
When your child suffers severe injuries in a car accident, it can cause a number of complications for the entire family. You have enough on your plate as you try to help your child recover. Fortunately, in the case of a child injury, most states allow more time before the statute of limitations kicks in, which means you have time to move forward with a car accident claim.
Let a lawyer help with your child’s accident claim. By contacting a car accident lawyer, you can better assess the compensation your family deserves, then put together a claim that clearly indicates all those losses. A lawyer will also help fight to help you maximize the compensation your family can recover.
Did your child suffer injuries in a car accident? Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.