If your child has been injured in an auto accident, any injuries you may have sustained yourself likely pale in comparison to the anguish of seeing your child suffer. No matter what happened, the one thing that is absolutely clear is that your child did not deserve to be injured. Yet, someone else made a mistake, and now your child (and you) are being forced to cope with the consequences. You are angry. You are concerned about your child’s future and your family’s finances, and you want to know what you can do to recover just compensation.
Seeking Financial Compensation for Injuries to Children in South Carolina Auto Accidents
Fortunately, from a liability perspective, seeking financial compensation for injuries to children is no different from seeking financial compensation for injuries you sustained yourself. South Carolina law holds all drivers to a reasonable standard of care; and, if your child was injured due to another driver’s negligence, you can (and should) seek just compensation. The same is true if the accident resulted from an issue with the road’s design or construction, a faulty vehicle repair, or any other form of non-driver-related negligence.
Auto accident claims involving injuries to children are also similar to cases involving adult injuries in that an injured child is entitled to just compensation for all of the economic and non-economic costs of his or her injuries. Children, and young children, in particular, are particularly susceptible to suffering traumatic injuries in vehicle collisions, and these injuries can potentially lead to costs that will endure for the rest of the child’s life. As a result, accurately calculating the long-term costs of a child’s auto accident injuries is critical, and parents should work closely with their attorneys to comprehensively assess the total value of the economic and non-economic losses their children are likely to experience in the future. This includes:
- Medical expenses for future treatments, surgical procedures, and physical rehabilitation and therapy
- Expenses for psychological or psychiatric care
- Expenses for private education, tutoring, occupational therapy, and other life skills training
- The cost of medications, medical supplies, assistive devices and equipment, and home and vehicle modifications
- Chronic pain and suffering, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and emotional trauma
- Loss of earning capacity, either partial or total
- Loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic losses
As you might expect, anticipating a child’s medical needs and the future effects of his or her injuries is not easy. Generally speaking, the younger a child is, the harder it is to estimate the long-term costs of his or her injuries. However, it can be done, and at the Lewis Law Firm, we work with expert doctors, financial planners, and other professionals in South Carolina and beyond to ensure that we are seeking maximum compensation for our clients’ losses.
From a procedural perspective, there are some differences between claims involving adults and claims involving children. For example, since a minor cannot legally represent himself or herself, someone (most likely you, the parent) must act on his or her behalf. Our attorneys are familiar with the complexities involved, and we can guide you every step of the way.
What Should You Do if Your Child has Been Injured in an Auto Accident in South Carolina?
If you need to seek financial compensation on your child’s behalf, there are some steps that you should try to take promptly. While not necessarily required, each of these steps can help improve your chances of securing a settlement or verdict that fully covers your child’s injury-related losses:
- Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company – Even if you believe someone else was at fault in the accident, you must still report the accident to your insurance company.
- Keep Detailed Notes and Thorough Records – Be sure to keep the other driver’s vehicle and insurance information in a safe place, and try to write down as many other details from the accident as you can remember. As your family begins to incur medical bills for your child’s care, try to get in the habit of keeping copies of all the records you receive.
- Prepare Yourself for Hostile Allegations. Auto insurance companies will fight to deny claims by all means available, and this extends to blaming parents for their children’s injuries. From accusing you of being distracted or driving recklessly to claiming that you did not install your child’s safety seat properly, you must prepare yourself mentally to cope with a host of allegations.
- Follow Your Child’s Care Providers’ Advice – When dealing with an insurance claim, it is especially important to stick to your child’s care providers’ advice. Unless you feel that it is necessary to seek a second opinion, you should take your child to all appointments as scheduled and fill your child’s prescriptions promptly.
- Speak with a Local Personal Injury Attorney – Due to the challenges and complexities involved, we strongly recommend discussing your child’s case with an attorney. You should be able to quickly schedule a free initial consultation, and you should not have to pay anything out of pocket for the attorney’s services.
What if My Teen was Injured in an Accident While Driving in South Carolina?
If your teen driver was injured in an accident, everything we discussed above still applies. However, due to the statistics on teen driving accidents, the insurance companies will likely try to blame your child for causing the crash regardless of the facts at hand. But, while it may be true that teen drivers are responsible for a disproportionate number of accidents, it is also true that many teenagers drive cautiously and observe the rules of the road. Our attorneys can make sure that your teen is not unfairly blamed for his or her injuries and that the at-fault driver is held accountable.
Speak with a Rock Hill, SC Personal Injury Lawyer in Confidence
For more information about seeking financial compensation for your child’s injuries, please contact our Rock Hill, SC law offices to schedule a free initial consultation. To speak with one of our attorneys in confidence as soon as possible, call 803-327-1103 or inquire online now.