If your children are like mine, they have scheduled activities and playdates with other kids nearly every day. Like every other parent, I use my car to shuttle them around, and it seems like our family is always on-the-go. Unfortunately, roads and highways are busy places, and accidents with other cars can happen. What are you supposed to do if you are involved in an accident with your kids in the car?
What if you are involved in a car accident?
Hopefully this won’t be the case, but if your child is hurt in a car accident, there are things that you can do to ensure that they receive proper compensation for their injuries.
First, and most importantly, please make sure that your child gets all necessary medical care and treatment. Even when there are no obvious injuries, you should make an appointment with their pediatrician for a check-up. Oftentimes, injury symptoms don’t even appear until 48 to 72 hours after the collision. If your child was injured, you should follow any recommended medical care and treatment plan set by the pediatrician.
Depending upon the extent of their injuries, you should consider bringing a lawsuit on behalf of your injured child. Injuries to children can affect their long-term physical and intellectual development, as well as their mental health. Under the law, minor children under 18 years of age are too young to bring the lawsuit on their own. As their parent or legal guardian, you must stand in their place and bring their lawsuit.
There are laws in place to guide parents and legal guardians with respect to handling the child’s money. This process is called the “Compromise of Claim,” and it is done in Probate Court. For any lawsuit where the minor child is paid ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or more, the law requires the agreement of the probate judge to resolve the case and also to spend the money. The purpose is to prevent misuse of the child’s money by an unscrupulous parent or guardian. After the child becomes an adult, the restriction is removed, and the money becomes theirs.
For example, let’s say that your teenager received a settlement of $50,000 from a car accident. You would like to use some of that money to buy a laptop computer for your child’s use in high school. The probate judge would have to agree to use some of the money to purchase the laptop. In my experience, most probate judges take a conservative approach toward the minor child’s money. A request for school equipment – like a laptop – is usually approved. On the other hand, the request to buy an over-priced car will likely be denied.
When your child is injured, you must act on their behalf to ensure they receive fair compensation for their injuries. Don’t act without consulting a lawyer who has represented children in similar situations. Such a lawyer can walk you through the process, answer your questions, and help you decide the best way for your family to proceed.