After your child is involved in a car accident in Louisiana, your family may see medical bills piling up quickly. Not only that, it hurts any parent to see their child suffering. You want compensation for your child. How can you make that happen? What are the most important steps in recovering compensation for your child?
A child’s personal injury claim looks a little different from filing the same type of claim for an adult. Child injury claims have a longer statute of limitations than adult claims. Because minors cannot choose for themselves how to handle a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations extends until after the child’s eighteenth birthday. Children may also have injuries that remain concealed until much later due to growing bones and tissue, so a child may have until two years after the injury is discovered to file a personal injury claim, even if that injury is discovered after the child’s eighteenth birthday.
1. Seek medical care for your child immediately after their auto accident.
Not only can adrenaline from a car accident conceal serious injuries in children just as it can in adults, children may not have the capacity to tell an adult that something hurts or feels wrong. Some children may not realize that they suffered relatively serious injuries immediately, especially if an adult tells them to expect to be “sore” the next day. Not only that, some children may not notice something wrong until long after the fact.
If your child is in an auto accident, take them to a hospital or urgent care facility immediately. A doctor can examine your child to determine the extent of their injuries, allowing you to seek prompt treatment for those injuries and increasing your child’s odds of making a full recovery. This exam can also serve to show exactly when the injuries took place, which could prove incredibly valuable when you later file a personal injury claim.
2. Collect any evidence you can at the scene of the accident.
If you are present at the scene of car accident and can safely move around the scene without putting yourself in danger or increasing your own injuries, try to collect evidence from the scene of the accident. This evidence can help prove who caused the accident when you file a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf. You may want to consider evidence like:
- Photos of the vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident
- Contact information for witnesses
- Photos of your child’s injuries
You should also collect insurance information from the driver who caused the accident. Snap a picture of the driver’s insurance card and license so you can refer back to it later.
3. Keep track of all of your child’s medical bills.
When you file a personal injury claim, medical expenses often form the backbone of that claim, even for a minor. The funds from a personal injury claim are intended to help provide compensation for expenses and losses related to the accident. Even pain and suffering usually gets based on a percentage of those medical bills: on average, between 1.5 and 4 times the amount of the medical bills. Whether you choose to file a personal injury claim soon after the accident or wait until your child turns eighteen so your child can file his own claim, make sure you keep track of all of those medical bills.
Keep in mind that you may receive multiple medical bills for the same procedure, especially in the case of surgical procedures and hospital stays. Sometimes, you may receive separate bills for each provider that participated in your child’s care. For example, you might get a separate surgical bill from the anesthesiologist. File all of those bills in the same location so you can more easily calculate the exact cost of your child’s medical expenses. Make sure to include all expenses, from emergency treatment to therapy and follow-up appointments even months or years after the accident.
4. Do not accept an offer from the liable driver’s insurance company.
Many insurance companies will use a variety of tactics to reduce the compensation they must pay out following a car accident with serious injuries. One common tactic is to contact the injured party or, in the case of a minor child, the family of the injured party and issue a settlement offer soon after the accident. This settlement offer usually includes just enough to tempt the family into taking it. You may already find yourself worrying about medical bills and your child’s care, and a fast settlement sounds like it could help decrease some of that burden. Unfortunately, that settlement offer rarely reflects the full compensation your child deserves for their injuries. If you accept it, you could limit the compensation your child ultimately receives. Instead, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you about the compensation your child deserves and whether to accept an offer or continue to negotiate.
5. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after your child’s Louisiana car accident as possible.
If your child suffers injuries in a Louisiana car accident, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the complexities of filing a personal injury claim for a child and answer any questions you might have about the compensation your child deserves for their injuries. Not only that, an attorney can help collect evidence regarding the accident, prove who caused it, and even negotiate on your behalf, which means you will not have to add dealing with the insurance company to the list of things you need to take care of after your accident. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner the attorney can provide valuable assistance in your claim.
If your child suffered serious injuries in a Louisiana car accident, Alvendia Kelly & Demarest can help. Contact us today at 504-200-0000 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your child’s legal rights and how to manage a personal injury claim for a child after a car accident.