The information below was provided by Greene & Phillips:
Car crashes are a scary experience in and of themselves, but even more so if a child is involved. Attorney David Greene from Greene & Phillips – Personal Injury Attorneys is here to let us know the best way to take care of minors when they are involved in an accident.
What is the first thing someone should do for a minor when they’re involved in an accident?
Well, like we always say, seek treatment immediately. Children don’t typically express how they feel as well as adults do, so it’s important to still get them checked out by a doctor even if they aren’t saying they’re in pain. It’s also a good idea to meet with an attorney that has handled similar cases with minors to be sure that the communication with the insurance company is handled properly.
Now what if it’s an infant or toddler that’s involved? Communication regarding pain is even more limited. How should you go about making sure they’re taken care of?
The good thing is, if used properly, car seats should protect infants and toddlers from sustaining major injuries. The car seat usually takes a majority of the impact so that children typically walk away unharmed. It’s still very important to get them checked out at the hospital, or even by their primary care physician. It never hurts to be safe. Also, many people don’t know this, but you’re actually supposed to replace the car seat after been involved in an accident. Even if your child is not in the seat at the time of the accident, you still need to get it replaced to ensure that the car seat is fully functioning and no parts have been damaged from the accident.
What if you are not the legal guardian of the child involved in the accident?
It’s important to contact their parents or legal guardian right away so that they’re aware of the accident, and that they take their child to be checked out by a doctor or give you the permission to do so. If the adjusters call you regarding the child, it’s best not to speak to them on behalf of the minor. Their parents should be the ones handling the claim for them. However, it is best to speak to an attorney and have the parents of the minor speak to one as well to discuss options as far as any minors are concerned.
So how is a minor’s case different than an adult’s?
Well, a minor cannot settle their case without having a lawyer get the case approved by a judge if it’s over a certain amount. Also, a lot of people believe that minors are unable to receive treatment like adults do. Or sometimes they fear that if a child is of school age, they may not be able to see a doctor because they can’t miss any school. However, proper medical treatment following a car accident is very important. There are many doctors in our area that can work around schedules, and find out what works best for the child and the parent. Another thing is people believe if the child’s bills are all paid for by health insurance there’s no need to submit anything to the auto insurance for them. This is another reason why it’s important to speak with an attorney who has handled these types of cases to make sure you get the proper advice on what you should do.
How can someone reach you if they have questions?
They can call 300-2000, go to GreenePhillips.com, or stop by our office. You never need an appointment and you owe us nothing unless we get you money.