Personal injury lawyers will tell you that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children throughout the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the last year for which statistics are available, 675 children 12 years old and under were killed in motor vehicles as a result of crashes, and almost 116,000 were injured.
And these are only children who were occupants of the vehicles. Pedestrian injuries and deaths as a result of motor vehicles also need to be considered. A pedestrian is killed by a motor vehicle every 1 ½ hours nationwide, according to the CDC. Twenty percent of the total number of children under the age of 15 who are killed by motor vehicle collisions are pedestrians.
If your child was injured in a motor vehicle accident, your worry over their welfare can compound the pain and stress from the accident. Babies and children are more delicate than adults, and their injuries in a car or other motor vehicle accident can prove more severe and complicated as a result.
See a Doctor or Go to the Emergency Room
The aftermath of an accident can be traumatic. At times, your child may have been taken to an emergency room after an accident. But if the injuries don’t seem severe, all too often, parents simply want to go home and care for their child at home. They may reason that it’s better to put the accident behind the family and move on.
Everyone involved in an accident must have a medical professional check them out as soon as possible. Motor vehicle accidents can cause injuries that are not immediately visible or apparent to a parent or the child. Concussions, for example, frequently elude detection, but they are far from the only types of injuries that can go unnoticed. Young children, especially, may struggle to describe their physical condition, even if it includes a broken bone.
If your child was taken to an emergency room, their most immediate injuries will be treated. It’s a good idea to ask for a comprehensive exam, though, so that any other injuries they may have sustained are also known and treated.
If they weren’t taken to an emergency room, contact a physician. Explain the accident and ask them to do a comprehensive exam to ensure that your child is okay.
Find out Who Was at Fault
After a motor vehicle or other accident, your chief concern will, of course, be your child’s well-being. You need to make sure that they are treated for injuries and that any psychological trauma they feel is also known and addressed.
But it is also imperative to know who was at fault for the accident. Why? Because an at-fault party, whether it is a person or some other entity, may be liable for your child’s injuries. That means they could be responsible for the bills incurred for medical and other treatment.
Georgia is a fault state for insurance purposes. If another driver caused the accident, and the accident resulted in injuries to your child, that driver’s insurance company should pay medical bills caused by the accident. If the accident was caused by a company, as sometimes occurs due to faulty manufacture or other reasons, the company can be deemed at fault and will also be liable to pay for injuries suffered in the accident.
Georgia also allows injured people to recover monetary compensation for pain and suffering in the case of accidents. Pain and suffering refers to pain, of course, but it also relates to overall quality of life. People whose accidents irrevocably change their lives in some way should be compensated for pain and suffering as well. If your child becomes unable to walk as a result of an accident, for example, they should be highly compensated for the damage to their life overall.
Pain and suffering costs are assessed as a multiplier added to the cost of medical care. The more pain and suffering a victim is subject to, the higher the multiplier. Age is often a factor that drives the multiplier higher, because any impairment the victim suffers lasts for a longer period of time and may impact their life more severely. An amputated limb in a five-year-old, for example, is likely to receive a higher multiplier for pain and suffering than it would for a 65-year-old, simply because the five-year-old will be deprived of use of a limb for a longer time.
Some severe injuries will require lengthy or even lifelong care. They may need to retrofit a home to to accommodate wheelchairs, hospital beds, or other necessary medical equipment. It’s important to know that all these costs are medical expenses potentially recoverable from an at-fault party.
How do you determine who was at fault? Law enforcement completes a police report after accidents. The police report will describe what occurred and often makes obvious who was at fault. Make sure that you obtain a copy of the police report.
You can also talk to witnesses. If you are at the scene, it is also a good idea to take pictures with your smartphone. Pictures can reveal a great deal about the causes of an accident.
If there was no police report and you weren’t at the scene, it’s prudent to contact an attorney. Attorneys and their investigators can investigate the causes of an accident.
Know the Statute of Limitations if a Child Is Involved
Georgia residents usually have two years after the date of an accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit. The two-year period is known as the statute of limitations. After that, the court will very likely refuse to hear any case.
But that two-year statute of limitations does not apply to children injured in a car accident. Children and young teens are not considered legally competent to bring a suit. They may bring a lawsuit once they turn 18, according to the law.
As a result, children in Georgia may bring a personal injury lawsuit for recovery of damages in a motor vehicle accident within two years of turning 18, regardless of when the accident occurred.
Call Our Child Injury Attorneys Today
While the statute of limitations may seem to give you time to act, you’re better off calling the experienced, caring child injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm sooner than later. You can reach us at (404) 418-8244 or through our online contact form. We can provide you with additional information about child injuries, evaluate your case, and see if we can help you or your child recover compensation.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: (404) 205-8614