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What Do I Do if My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident?

A baby is seated in her car seat.

Most parents go to great lengths to protect their children while driving, from properly securing them into the appropriate car seat for their age, height, and weight to instructing their adolescent driver about the risks of texting and chatting on the phone while driving. However, despite their best efforts, car accidents are an undesirable truth that can gravely harm all passengers, including children. The parents of a child hurt in a car accident might want to make a personal injury claim. A claim for an adult and one involving a child in a car accident have some significant differences. A knowledgeable St. Louis’ accident attorney can clarify the distinctions and obtain the financial compensation the child is due for their injuries.

Unluckily, one of the leading causes of death for young children is automobile accidents. In 2018, 636 under 12 died, and over 97,000 children were injured in traffic accidents. Every time a child rides in a car, parents and caregivers have a duty to make sure the child is safely buckled into the proper car seat and that their older children are doing the same. Unfortunately, the usage of seat belts by young children largely depends upon the driver’s own use of a seat belt, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In reality, nearly 40% of children killed in car crashes were unbuckled.

Regardless of the child’s age or size, using a seat belt properly is one of the best strategies to lower the risk of fatalities and serious injuries:

● Comparing the use of seat belts alone versus car seats, children are up to 82 percent less likely to sustain injuries in a crash when using a properly fitting car seat.
● Compared to seat belt use alone, the proper use of booster seats lowers the risk of significant injuries in children between the ages of four and eight by 45 percent.
● When older children and adults wear seat belts, the risk of fatalities and serious injuries is reduced by roughly 50%.

Minor Children Involved in Car Accidents in St. Louis

Sadly, compared to adult passengers, kids are more likely to have one or more injuries in a car collision. The extent of the injuries will depend on various variables, including the car’s speed at the time of the crash, where the impact occurred, and whether the child was correctly buckled into the right car seat.

How Do Accident Claims for Children Differ From Claims for Adults in Missouri?

Parents should be aware of some of the significant distinctions between making an accident claim for a child versus an adult and how they may affect the amount of compensation when doing so.

● There are age restrictions on making a personal injury claim for minors. However, an injured child’s parents or guardians may submit a claim on their behalf.
● For minors, the statute of limitations for bringing a claim is extended. When the child becomes 18, he or she can get a claim on their own, or the statute of limitations is extended to two years from the day the damage was found. This enables the parent or the child who has reached adulthood to claim any harm that could have been overlooked later.
● Even if the parties reach an agreement on a settlement, the court has the authority to accept or reject it in a case involving child injury. If a parent or other adult tries to portray the child falsely, this safeguards the child.
● Children’s personal injury cases carry a different level of compensation. For example, a child may obtain financial compensation for pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of future income even though they will not be compensated for lost wages.

What Do I Do If My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident in Missouri?

The most important thing to do after a car accident involving a child is to ensure the child receives prompt medical attention. Parents or guardians should speak with a qualified accident attorney as soon as possible after the child is in the care of a qualified medical professional for the following reasons:

● Parents can concentrate on their child rather than worrying about the legal aspects of the case by hiring an experienced accident attorney.
● Insurance companies will bargain with an accident attorney on their behalf because they want to resolve cases involving minors promptly. They can make a low settlement offer to take advantage of distraught parents. A personal injury attorney will turn down lowball settlement offers and ensure the family gets their due money.
● Contacting an accident attorney can guarantee that the child is compensated fairly. Additionally, since an accident attorney is knowledgeable about the statute of limitations, the claim will be submitted well before the deadline.
● Accident attorneys are familiar with the difficulties that arise in child harm situations. For example, if the settlement sum exceeds $10,000, the court must approve, and the money must be kept in a restricted bank account.

What Can I Do To Lower the Chance of a Car Accident Injuring My Child?

Ensuring a child is securely fastened in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt is the most crucial action a parent can take to ensure their child is safe when riding in a vehicle. This means that parents must know which seat suits their child’s height, weight, and age. Parents might also refer to the safety instructions below:

● Use a rear-facing car seat from birth to between the ages of two and four. Until they reach the suggested maximum weight and height for the seat, kids should ideally be restrained in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. This information can be found in the owner’s manual.
● After the child outgrows the rear-facing seat, the forward-facing seat should be used until the child is at least five years old. After that, they should keep using this car seat until they reach the suggested maximum height and weight for the seat.
● A booster seat should be used until the kid reaches the height of about four feet nine inches and up to twelve years of age once they have outgrown the forward-facing car seat. When the shoulder belt is placed over the chest, and the lap belt is placed across the upper thighs, the seat belt is worn correctly.
● When the child outgrows the booster seat, they must always be buckled up in a seat belt when riding in a vehicle. All kids under the age of 12 should be bucked up in the back seat.
● Children should not be seated in front of airbags. If an airbag deploys while a child sits in the front seat, it could result in severe, possibly deadly injuries. Additionally, parents ought to keep their rear-facing car seats away from airbags. The middle of the back seat is the safest spot for kids to sit.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers at Goldblatt + Singer Will Fight For You and Your Child

The sympathetic and knowledgeable St. Louis accident attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm, understand how painful it is for parents to witness their child suffer if their child is injured after a vehicle accident. We will use every effort to obtain the highest possible monetary award for you and your child. Every stage of the claims process will be explained to you in detail by our committed legal staff, who will also answer any questions you may have. Contact us online or by phone at (314) 888-1000 to arrange a free, private consultation.

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