When most parents drive their children, they take every precaution to ensure their child is safe, from securely attaching them to the car seat recommended for the child’s age, height, and weight to teaching their teenage driver about it the dangers of texting and making calls while driving. Despite all efforts, car accidents are an unfortunate reality and can cause devastating injuries to all vehicle occupants, including children. If a child is injured in a car accident, the parents may want to file a personal injury claim. There are some key differences between a car accident claim involving a child and an adult claim. A skilled Baltimore accident attorney can explain the differences and ensure the financial compensation the child deserves for their injuries.
How effective are seat belts in protecting my child?
Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in young children. In 2018, over 97,000 children aged 12 and under were injured and 636 were killed in car accidents. Of the children who were fatally injured, 33 percent were not held securely with a seat belt. Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that their children are safely seated in the appropriate car seat and that their older children are buckled up every time they drive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of seat belts in young children depends on the use of the driver’s seat belts. In fact, nearly 40 percent of children who were in the car with an unbuckled driver were also unbridled.
Proper use of the seat belt is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of serious injury and death regardless of the age or size of the child:
Car seats reduce the risk of injury to children in a car accident by up to 82 percent compared to using seat belts alone.
Proper use of child seats reduces the risk of serious injury in children between the ages of four and eight by 45 percent compared to using seat belts alone.
Using seat belts reduces the risk of serious injury and death in older children and adults by nearly 50 percent.
What are some examples of injuries children suffer in car accidents?
Unfortunately, children are more likely to suffer one or more injuries in a car accident than adult passengers. The severity of the injuries depends on a number of factors, including the speed the vehicle was traveling at the time of the accident, the point of impact, and whether the child was properly secured in the appropriate car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the most common types of injuries children suffer in car accidents are the following:
Head injuries: An NHTSA report found that children under one year of age were more likely to have head injuries than two other age groups. Bruises and cuts were the most common types of head injuries. Children between the ages of one and seven were more likely to have fractures of the base of the skull. These injuries can lead to memory loss and permanent learning difficulties.
Upper and Lower Limb Injuries: The most common upper limb injuries in children are humeral, radius, and ulna fractures.
Chest trauma: These are chest injuries that result from blunt or penetrating trauma. Rib fractures and lung injuries are among the most common types of chest injuries. These can be quite devastating for children as a child’s skeletal system is still developing and serious injury can have long-term consequences.
The following additional injuries can be suffered by children in a car accident:
Cuts and cuts from broken glass and other sharp objects
Fractures of the hands, wrists, feet and legs
Permanent disabilities from spinal cord injuries or nerve damage
Psychological difficulties from head injuries or the emotional and physical effects of the accident
How do the accident claims of children differ from those of adults?
When filing an accident claim, parents need to understand some of the key differences between a claim submitted for a child and one submitted for an adult, and the potential implications for the amount of compensation.
Children under the age of 18 cannot claim personal injury. Parents and legal guardians can file a claim on behalf of an injured child.
The limitation period for filing a claim is extended for minors. The child can make their own claim when they turn 18 or the law extends two years after the violation is discovered. This allows the parent or child, who is now 18 years old, to file a claim for injuries that may have been discovered later.
The court has the power to approve or reject a settlement in connection with a child injury case, even if the parties have agreed to a settlement. This protects the child if a parent or legal guardian tries to misrepresent the child.
Personal injuries to children have different amounts of compensation. Although a child is not compensated for lost wages, they can receive financial compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of future income.
What steps should I take if my child is injured in a car accident?
When a child is injured in a car accident, the top priority is to ensure that the child receives immediate medical attention. Once the child is being looked after by a qualified doctor, parents or guardians should contact an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible for the following reasons:
Hiring a qualified accident attorney allows parents to focus their attention on their child rather than worrying about the legal issues associated with the case.
An accident attorney will negotiate with insurance companies that want to settle children’s claims as quickly as possible. You can try to take advantage of parents who are in an emotional state by offering a low settlement amount. An accident attorney will turn down modest settlement offers and make sure the family gets the compensation they deserve.
Contacting an accident attorney ensures that the child receives a fair bill. In addition, an accident lawyer is familiar with the limitation period, so that the complaint is filed in good time before the deadline expires.
Accident attorneys understand the complexities of personal injury cases involving children. If the settlement amount exceeds $ 10,000, it must be approved by the court and the money must be held in a restricted bank account.
How can I prevent my child from being injured in a car accident?
The most important step a parent can take to ensure their child is safe while driving is to ensure that the child is properly buckled in their car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. This means parents need to understand which seat is right for the child’s weight, age and height. The following is a seat belt guide that parents can follow:
Rearward facing car seat: This should be used from birth to two to four years of age. Ideally, children should be secured in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat until they are within the recommended height and weight limits for the seat. The instruction manual contains this information.
Forward facing car seat: This should be used after the child has outgrown the rear facing car seat and at least until the age of five. You should continue to use this car seat until you reach the upper height and weight limit recommended for the seat.
Child Seat: This seat should be used after the child has outgrown the forward facing car seat and until they are approximately 4 feet 9 inches tall and up to 12 years old. The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt is over your thighs and the shoulder belt is over your chest.
Seat belt: Once the child has outgrown the child seat, they must be secured with a seat belt every time they drive in the car. Ideally, all children under the age of 12 should be buckled in the back seat.
Do not place children in front of an airbag. If a child is seated in the front seat, an airbag can cause serious injury or death if it is deployed. Parents should also avoid placing a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag. The safest place for children to sit is in the middle of the back seat.
Baltimore accident attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton seek justice for children injured in car crash
If your child is seriously injured in a car accident, the skilled and compassionate Baltimore accident attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton know how difficult it is for parents to see their child being injured. We will do everything in our power to ensure the maximum financial compensation you and your child deserve. Our dedicated legal team will guide you through every step of the application process and answer all of your questions and concerns. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s Counties, where we represent victims across Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel Counties, Carroll County, Harford Counties, Howard Counties, Montgomery Counties, Prince George’s Counties, and Queen Anne’s County, Marylands Western Counties, Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore and the parishes of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.
Visit https://www.lthlaw.com/ for more information.