Car crashes are traumatic regardless of who was involved or how they happened. When a child is injured in this type of event, however, there are some important differences you should know about when seeking compensation.
Learn more about car accidents involving children, including handling potential injuries and pursuing a legal claim to recover medical costs and other damages.
At Jay Trucks, our attorneys have been helping victims of car crashes, including children, for over 30 years in Michigan. We have a proven track record and are dedicated to helping our clients recover compensation after an accident that caused them physical, emotional and financial harm.
Not sure if you have a case? We can help you understand your legal options at no cost to you.
Schedule a free case review today. (800) 762-8623
What No-Fault Benefits Apply to Your Child or a Child Passenger in Your Vehicle?
Child passengers riding with you at the time of a car crash have access to Michigan’s no-fault benefits, much the same as an adult. This is true whether the child is your own or the child of a friend or family member.
The priority order for no-fault benefits following Michigan’s auto insurance reform in July 2020 is as follows:
- Your child is eligible for no-fault benefits through your own auto insurance policy
- A child passenger may seek no-fault benefits through his or her parent’s auto insurance
- If a child’s parents do not have auto insurance, they may seek no-fault benefits for their child through Michigan’s Assigned Claim Plan (MACP)
- If the child’s parents are divorced, the auto insurance will likely be through the policy of the parent considered to be the child’s primary caregiver
The same no-fault benefits adults receive are also provided to injured children, up to the limits of the parent’s personal injury protection coverage (PIP), including:
- Lost wages (if applicable)
- Medical costs related to the crash
- Attendant care costs
- Replacement services
How Car Crash Claims Are Different for Minor Children
Seeking compensation for minor children injured in a car crash is somewhat like filing a claim as an adult, but with some important differences.
Children Are Not Permitted to File an Injury Claim
A minor child who is still under the age of 18 years is not permitted to file a car crash claim on his or her own behalf. However, a parent or legal guardian may file a car crash claim on their behalf.
Minors Have an Extended Statute of Limitations
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for personal injuries resulting from a car accident is typically three years from the date or discovery of an injury. If an injured plaintiff does not file a claim within that time frame, he or she is likely to lose the ability to do so. Any claims filed after the filing deadline will likely be dismissed by the court.
In the case of a child, the statute of limitation is extended up to one year of that minor child’s birthday. Unless the child is close to his or her 18th birthday, waiting can be a bad idea, as a lot of critical evidence could be lost.
A Settlement or Jury Verdict Must Be Approved by the Court
Once an agreement is reached in a child’s car crash injury claim, a judge must approve the settlement. This process is to help ensure a child’s best interests are protected and that the proposed settlement is fair.
Once the court approves the settlement amount, there are additional measures taken to protect the awarded funds. Often, the funds are protected until a child’s 18th birthday. However, in some cases, parents may use these funds to help cover the costs of education, medical bills and housing needs. In other cases, settlements may be put into a structured insurance policy for payouts when the child is older.
Younger Children Exhibit Injury Symptoms Differently
When children are younger, it is difficult for them to communicate their pain and other symptoms to you. Children, because their bones and muscles are still developing, are also more vulnerable and susceptible to serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. Often a child may not even be able to tell you something is wrong, such as if they suffered internal organ damage, or a head or neck injury.
For this reason, it is imperative that you always have your child examined by a medical doctor immediately after a car crash, even if there is no visible injury. Even after your child is examined and diagnosed by a doctor, it is important to write down what happened and carefully assess your child each day for any unusual symptoms, such as:
- Labored breathing
- Excessive bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
- Listless behavior or limp limbs
- Sudden changes in appearance, such as swelling, skin color
- Bulging at the head’s soft spot area (top of the head) – especially in young infants
- Unrelated fever
- Unexplained seizures
- Changes to eating habits
- Unable to make sounds – or speak if an older child
- Atypical irritability
- Excessive crying
- Sleeping difficulties
- Abnormal bruising and swelling
- Screaming while attempting to dress or change an infant’s diaper
In addition to the physical injuries, it is important to remember that children may also suffer emotional trauma and other damages from a car crash. This is something you should discuss with a doctor to learn what to look for and where to seek treatment for your child.
Contact Jay Trucks for Help with a Car Crash Claim
At Jay Trucks, we understand the anger and frustration parents feel when their children are harmed because of another’s negligence. Our compassionate and knowledgeable car accident lawyers in Grand Rapids are ready to help. We have a proven track record of recovering millions for our clients and are dedicated to holding at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Schedule your free, no-obligation case review today to learn about your legal options. We are also happy to answer other questions you may have about car crash claims, including those involving injured children. There are no upfront costs if we represent you, and you do not pay our fees unless or until we recover compensation for you.
Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (800) 762-8623