If you were driving your car with your son or daughter in one of the passenger seats and an accident occurred, then you may be concerned about how you will pay extensive medical bills. A lawsuit can be filed against the driver of the other vehicle, and you should think about hiring a personal injury attorney to take over the case. Before you do this, there may be a few facts that you should understand about personal injury lawsuits and children. Keep reading to learn about a few.
You Must File On Your Child's Behalf
If your child was injured in an accident, then they cannot sue the driver of the other car for the injuries themselves. However, the child will be entitled to the same types of compensation as an adult. Specifically, children may be eligible for injury, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability compensation under the law. In general, they are entitled to the same amount of money as an adult. To receive the compensation, you will need to sue on behalf of your child. You can sue the other driver for compensation for your child and also for yourself if you have paid medical bills on behalf of your son or daughter. Also, you may be able to sue for lost wages that have accrued as you have provided care for your injured child.
In most states, you can simply file lawsuit paperwork on behalf of your son or daughter. As a guardian, you will be able to negotiate a settlement as well if one is offered. In some jurisdictions, you may also need to receive special approval from the court to settle the lawsuit either in or out of court. Paperwork will typically need to be drafted and filled out if this is the case. Your attorney will typically be able to provide you with the documents.
Liability Will Be Taken Into Account
Keep in mind that you may not be able to sue the other driver if you were partially at fault for the accident. This depends on the liability laws in your state. Specifically, if you live in an at fault state, and you held 51% of the blame for the accident, then your child may not be entitled to any compensation for damages. In this case, you may generally be blamed for the accident, even if you were actually only a little over 50% to blame. In other states, your compensation will depend on the percentage of your blame. For example, if you were 12% at fault for the accident, then your child may only receive 88% of the damages from the other driver. Your lawyer can discuss liability with you so you know the facts before you file a lawsuit for your son or daughter.
You also need to understand that your own insurance company will pay a percentage of your child's medical bills. The amount will depend on the type of automobile insurance you have. However, your insurance is meant to protect you, your family, and other passengers in the event of an accident. This is especially true if you live in a no-fault state. In these states, you will typically need to carry personal injury insurance that will cover your child's medical bills. If you live in an at-fault state, then liability insurance may cover a percentage of the costs up to a certain amount. If insurance does cover some of the bills, then you can then sue the other driver for the bills that are not covered, as long as your fault in the accident legally dictates that you can.
Since liability and insurance coverage can be tricky, you will need to work with a lawyer from an experienced firm like Clearfield & Kofsky. In many cases, this may mean having your attorney work with your automobile insurance company, the other driver's insurance company, and the local police department. This is usually necessary to figure out the facts of the accident, fault percentages, damages, and instance coverage.