At some point in our lives, most of us will be involved in some sort of car accident. However, nobody ever expects their child to be injured in a car crash. When it does happen, you need to know where to turn. Thankfully, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can help.
Here, we’ll explain what your options are if your son or daughter is injured in a car accident. We’ll also discuss how your accident lawyer will handle your case and get your family the compensation they deserve.
How Many Car Accidents Involve Children or Teens?
According to the CDC, more than 63,000 children were injured in car accidents in 2020. While nobody wants to think about another person being injured in a car crash, it hurts more when the victim is a child.
Children are at the mercy of the driver when they’re in a car or SUV. Even if you’re the most careful driver in the world, you have no control over other drivers. If someone is negligent and smashes into your car, there’s a good chance you and your child will be hurt.
Our Accident Attorneys in Atlanta Would Represent the Parents of Younger Victims
If your child has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, they may be entitled to damages. Because they’re a minor, they aren’t legally able to sue in their own name. This means that you (or the child’s guardian) will have to sue on their behalf.
You also have the option of waiting until your minor child turns eighteen. Then, they’ll have the ability to sue in their own name.
What most families decide to do is have one or both of the parents file suit on behalf of their child. Any settlement proceeds or judgments awarded will be kept separate for the use of the child.
For example, imagine that your child is injured in a car accident when they’re ten years old. Their case settled for $250,000. That money would be set aside, typically in a trust or structured settlement, until they turn eighteen.
What Happens if You and Your Child Are Both Injured in the Same Accident?
One question a lot of clients ask our accident attorneys in Atlanta is what to do if they’re injured in the same crash as their child. Can you sue for damages for both you and your minor child?
While you may also be entitled to damages, that doesn’t mean an Atlanta car accident lawyer should represent both of you. Technically, you could get around this by having each party sign a waiver of the conflict of interest. However, this is not a good idea.
As suggested by the courts in Anderson v Jones, it’s best if you and your child retain separate accident attorneys in Atlanta. Not only will this solve the conflict-of-interest problem. It will also ensure that the settlement monies belonging to the two parties will not be commingled at any point.
What Damages Can Your Accident Attorney in Atlanta Demand?
If you’re like most parents, you’re probably wondering what kind of damages your child may be entitled to. With a case like this, the question of damages can become quite complicated.
Your child will be entitled to the same damages as any other car accident victim. They can demand compensation for future medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. They can even demand compensation for any lost income they will have suffered.
A minor can only demand lost income for monies they would’ve earned once they turn eighteen. The child’s parents are the ones who would be entitled to compensation for medical bills, property damage, and any lost income the child would have earned prior to turning eighteen.
How Does the Georgia Statute of Limitations Work in These Cases?
In Georgia, you only have a certain amount of time to file your personal injury lawsuit. This is enforced by the statute of limitations. In Georgia, you only have two years from the date of the crash to file your claim.
When it comes to children, the statute of limitations is extended. In fact, this is one of the only situations in which the courts will extend the statute period. As long as a minor files suit within two years of their eighteenth birthday, their claim will be deemed timely.
In cases where both the parent and child are injured, the statute of limitations works differently. As a parent, you only have two years from the date of the accident. Your child’s deadline doesn’t expire until after they’ve turned eighteen.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
Nothing is worse than watching your child suffer. All you want to do is make them better and hold whoever hurt them accountable. That’s what our Atlanta car accident lawyers do. If your child has been injured in a car crash, there’s a good chance they’ll be entitled to damages.
We suggest that you sit down with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Your child technically has the right to wait and sue when they turn eighteen. However, by that time, the evidence will likely be stale, and it will be nearly impossible to prove their case.
As their parent or guardian, you can pursue damages on their behalf. All you have to do is contact our office at 770-HELP-NOW and schedule a free, initial consultation.