If your child was injured in a car accident caused by another party (carelessness, distraction, DUI, etc.), it’s a harsh experience. Suddenly the entire future may seem like a dark vision (especially if the injuries are severe and take a long time to recover).
You now have new worries – the child’s health, their lost days in school, medical help.
Like in most cases, Indiana minors cannot file a lawsuit. The parents are the ones who can do that on behalf of their child.
They can seek compensation claims on behalf of their child’s injuries, pain, and suffering, potential permanent disability or loss of earning capacity when they become adults, as well as other damages.
On the other hand, the parents themselves can collect damages on their behalf for past, present, and future medical help, rehabilitation, as well as lost wages because they were not able to go to work during their child’s recovery.
If the parents and their attorney settle is for the child’s injuries, the court must approve it. The judge will listen to the testimonies so he or she can determine if the settlement is reasonable.
If the settlement is over $10,000, the court will select a guardian to make sure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests. Any settlement on behalf of the child is the property of the child. Of course, the parents have some obligations, responsibilities, and limitations as to when and how those rewards may be accessed and used before the child turns eighteen years of age.
If your child was injured in a car accident, always consult an Indianapolis car crash attorney. They will explain everything to you, including the statute of limitations for minors.
What if the Parent is Liable for the Accident?
When the parent is liable for the child’s injuries, there is a question as to how the parent’s fault will be treated under the Comparative Fault Act. In such cases, the parent’s fault is not attributed to the child. The parent is a non-party. Improperly imputing a parent’s liability to a child could restrain the child from recovery due to the Comparative Fault Act, 50% fault threshold will be blocked if the child’s and parent’s fault are combined.
While a parent’s fault is not imputed to a child in the child’s injury claim, if the parent brings their claim to recover for medical bills or wage loss, the parent’s comparative fault will prevent recovery if such fault is higher than 50%.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations of Indiana for personal injury claims is two years. Since children are legally incompetent to file lawsuits due to their young age, a minor’s statute of limitations is usually postponed until they reach legal age. So, no matter how old your child is, they have time till their twentieth birthday to file a personal injury compensation claim.
A person is considered a minor if he or she is younger than eighteen. An underage person cannot legally file a claim. So there is the so-called “next friend.” This is an individual who files the claim on behalf of the minor.
Usually, the parent or a guardian is called “next friend,” and no formal procedures is needed for a person to be called “next friend.”
Recovering Damages if Your Child Was Injured in a Car Accident
If your child was injured in a car accident, they are entitled to compensation claims that cover medical bills, therapy and rehabilitation services, ongoing medical care, and loss of ability to earn income when they become adults, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering.
In some cases, the settlements will be paid once a year (the court will determine the amount) for a certain period.
Parents can also get compensation for their loss of wage due to their child’s ongoing medical recovery and medical expenses.
Every case is different. There are some specific cases where the victim may get awarded punitive damages. These damages are reserved for the most severe cases in which the defendant’s behavior was found to be remarkably careless, negligent, or intentional. Punitive damages are determined to punish the defendant and prevent other people from acting the same way.
In such cases, a great Indianapolis car accident injury law firm will provide you an immense help. You will need an experienced car accident lawyer who had cases with injured children.
Our team has the experience and knowledge. We work for more than thirty years and provide our clients with dedication, trust, and expertise.
Call our office, schedule your initial consultation, and together we will work for the best solution.