Most Important Steps to Recovering Compensation for Children Involved in an Auto Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
A parent’s worst nightmare is their child being involved in any kind of accident. An auto accident is especially frightening because of the severe injuries involved and the possibility of long-term effects.
In 2016, 38 children under age 15 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Michigan. In the same age group, 5,800 children were injured in car crashes. As pedestrians, this age group accounted for 12 fatalities and 386 injured persons. Fortunately, no child under 15 was killed in bicycle accidents, but 377 were injured.
There are many situations where a child may become injured in an auto accident, whether riding in a vehicle, on a bicycle, or as a pedestrian. Whatever type of auto accident your child is involved in, they may be entitled to compensation. You, as the parent, must protect your child’s rights and pursue their personal injury claim.
Filing a claim can be complicated. You will need legal advice to take steps to recover the compensation your child deserves. The car accident attorneys at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. are experienced in dealing with car accident claims involving children.
Check for Injuries at the Time of the Accident
You must examine your child carefully for injuries at the time of the accident. Common injuries in car accidents are to the back and neck. Whiplash injuries are frequently found even after slow impact crashes. You should seek medical treatment for your child, however minor their injuries may seem. Remember, some injuries may not manifest for hours, days, or even weeks after the accident.
It is vital for your child’s case that all their injuries are examined and recorded by a medical professional as soon as possible. Failure to do so may ruin your child’s chances of obtaining the damages they are entitled to.
Call 911 to Get Police on the Scene
Under Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.622, an accident must be reported to the police if it results in injuries or death to a person. The officer attending will investigate the crash and write a report. This report is an important piece of evidence in establishing your child’s claim against a potential defendant.
The police report is independent expert evidence of the causes of the accident and who is liable for your child’s injuries.
You must collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Your smartphone can play a useful role in your evidence gathering.
- Take photos of the vehicles involved, your child’s injuries, and the location of the accident.
- You should record details of the vehicles involved, such as license plate numbers and the driver’s insurance details.
- If there are any witnesses, take their contact details, such as their names, addresses, and phone numbers. If possible, try to get them to give a statement at the scene.
Notify Your Insurance Company
If your child is injured in another person’s vehicle, you may submit a claim under your no-fault insurance policy. This policy should cover the members of your family.
Your child’s injuries may be so severe that your insurance coverage will not compensate you for all necessary medical bills. If this occurs, you must determine who is at fault and file an auto accident claim against that person for pain and suffering and all other losses from the accident.
Implications of No-Fault Insurance Law
Michigan’s no-fault insurance law requires policies to offer Personal Injury Protection. When an accident occurs, this policy covers some of the injured party’s losses.
The no-fault law does not make provision for payment of compensation for pain and suffering. However, under the Michigan Code of Laws section 500.3135, if the injured party has suffered permanent serious disfigurement or serious impairment of bodily function, they may sue the at-fault driver.
The kind types of damages your child could recover include:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional trauma or distress
Under MCR 2.420(b), the court must approve any settlement made on behalf of an injured minor.
Effect of Comparative Negligence Law
A plaintiff may still recover compensation in Michigan even if they were up to 50% responsible for the accident.
So, if your child stepped into the street or was in any other way up to 50% responsible for causing the accident, they may still be able to pursue damages for their injuries. The award they are given will be reduced by the proportion of fault, which the court approves in the circumstances of the case.
Statute of Limitations in Michigan
For personal injury, the statute of limitations is three years. The time starts to run from the date of the accident in almost every case.
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the time allowed by the statute of limitations, you will lose your right to pursue the at-fault driver for compensation for your child.
However, under Michigan Compiled Laws 600.5851, if you take no action against the at-fault driver, your child may do so. Provided they file their claim within one year of reaching the age of majority.
Contact an Attorney to Recover the Compensation Your Child Deserves
Car accidents involving children are traumatic for not only the child but also the parent. It is incumbent on the parent to act in the child’s best interests and get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Since minors cannot hire attorneys, you must arrange legal representation as soon as possible to access their compensation at the earliest opportunity.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.