When you send your child to school through the local car pool, hire a babysitter to make sure your kids get to all of their extracurricular activities when you’re working late at the office, or let your child stay with a classmate for a sleepover, you hope that the individuals placed in charge of your child’s care are competent to protect against any harms, including when your child is riding as a passenger in another driver’s vehicle. However, auto accidents involving children occur every single day, which raises questions as to whether or not a parent can make a personal injury claim on behalf of his or her injured child.
Personal Injury Claims on Behalf of Injured Children
In the event that a child is injured in an auto accident, the minor typically is entitled to follow the same compensation procedures and recover for the same losses that an adult may sustain.1 In most cases, there can be two causes of actions or rights to compensation. First, the parent on behalf of the child can negotiate a claim or file a suit to recover compensation for the injury, pain and suffering, harm to quality of life, or any other physical, mental, or emotional loss.2 When a parent steps in the shoes of an injured child to negotiate on the child’s behalf, the decisions of the parent are strictly scrutinized and require court approval. Second, a parent may seek compensation for the losses they have sustained as a result of the accident such as medical expenses for hospitalization, rehabilitation services, or prescriptions. 3 In either of these types of claims, recovery for injuries sustained to a child can be made against any negligent party including the driver of the car the child was riding in or another driver involved in the accident. Any lawsuit filed on behalf of a child or by a parent recovering for losses due to the child’s injury, would be accomplished through a passenger injury claim.
What is a Passenger Injury Claim?
Recovering as an injured passenger, whether as a minor or as an adult, allows for several different options. If the injuries are minor, causation is not in dispute, or the case fact pattern in other ways is very straightforward then the first option is to pursue a third party insurance claim against the liability policy of any driver or owner of a vehicle involved in the accident.4 In most instances, since a passenger does not have to prove liability, recovery will be easier then what it is for a driver involved in an auto accident. If an insurance negotiation does not produce a reasonable settlement then a passenger can proceed with litigation as would be done in any other personal injury lawsuit; a passenger lawsuit requires the same collection of evidence such as photographs of the scene or witness contact information, the ability to prove liability through a breach of a duty, and justification of damages by showing actual damages along with causation.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If your child has suffered a loss or harm as a passenger in another person’s car, it is important to discuss the circumstances of his or her injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect their legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call The Bruning Law Firm at 314-735-8100.