Car accidents often lead to serious injuries, and, tragically, children often suffer from severe physical, mental, and emotional damages. If your child was injured in a car accident, you may wonder if you can receive compensation for their physical and emotional harm. In this blog, we discuss your options when it comes to personal injury claims, settlements, and derivative claims.
Common Car Accident Injuries
If your child was injured in a car accident they may have sustained many different types of injuries from a wreck. A few common injuries that they may experience include:
- Dental injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Head Injuries
If your child experiences any of this physical trauma, they may also suffer from emotional trauma as well. Your child’s bills for medical and emotional treatment can become incredibly costly, but you do have options to receive damages from the at-fault party.
Can Children File a Personal Injury Claim?
People under the age of 18 cannot personally file a personal injury claim, and that includes if they were injured in a wreck. In Indiana, victims of car accidents have two years to file a claim against a driver, but in the case of minors, their statute of limitations doesn’t actually begin until they’re 18 years old. Once a person turns 18, they can file a personal injury claim, and they have until their 20th birthday to file the claim because of the two-year statute of limitations.
If you’re a parent and you want to file a personal injury claim for your child, you have to abide by the two-year statute of limitations, so you cannot wait more than two years after the accident to file your claim.
To prove your child’s claim, they may need to testify in a deposition or trial to discuss their injuries and how their pain has impacted their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
How Minors Receive Settlements
If you decide to file a personal injury claim for your child rather than wait for their 18th birthday, you’ll face certain complications if your child receives a settlement for their injuries.
Firstly, the child’s settlement must be approved by a judge in court before you or a legal guardian can receive the funds.
Once a judge approves the settlement, the dollar amount will dictate how the court distributes the money. If the settlement amount is less than $10,000, the parent or guardian of the child will receive the settlement directly, but the money needs to be used to benefit and support the child. For example, parents could use the money to pay for their child’s medical bills or education. Indiana Code 29-3-3-1 details this rule stating:
(a) Any person indebted to a minor or having possession of property belonging to a minor in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) may pay the debt or deliver the property without the appointment of a guardian, giving of bond, or other order of court directly to any person having the care and custody of the minor with whom the minor resides.
(b) Persons receiving property for a minor under this section are obligated to apply the property to the support, use, and benefit of the minor.
If your child receives more than $10,000 in settlement money, the court will appoint a legal guardian to distribute and monitor the money until their 18th birthday.
If your child was injured in a car accident, you also have the option of filing a derivative claim. When you file a derivative claim, you can receive compensation for the injuries your child sustained directly. If you plan to file a derivative claim, you have two years after the accident because of the standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims. You may be able to receive compensation for damages you experienced because of your child’s injuries including:
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Loss of services
Contact an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
If you or your child were injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you should not have to pay out of pocket for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. You deserve to receive compensation for these expenses from the negligent party by filing a personal injury or derivative claim, and you need expert legal support to assist you through the process.
Here at Crossen Law Firm, we have years of experience assisting injured Indiana residents with car accident and personal injury claims. Call our office at 317-401-8626. You can also contact us online and submit details about your case here.