All parents and guardians responsible for children know that accidents are bound to happen. But it’s not always obvious what parents should do when their child is injured in an accident.
The law is clear that children aren’t expected to exercise the same judgment or caution as adults in similar situations. And children can’t make their own legal decisions. These factors can have a significant impact on a child’s right to claim compensation after an accident.
When Children Sustain Injuries
If a child is injured in an accident through no fault of their own, they generally have the same right to demand compensation as an adult in a personal injury claim. This could include money for things like medical bills, pain and suffering, and long-term injury or disability.
Unlike adults, children aren’t expected to negotiate their own settlements, so a parent or legal guardian is typically allowed to negotiate on their behalf. Parents are often also entitled to claim compensation for the child’s medical bills since they’re usually responsible for those bills in the first place.
When Children Cause Injuries
If a child causes an accident that results in injury, they can be legally liable just like an adult would be. However, the law assumes that children do not have the capacity to judge and avoid risks that adults do, so different standards apply based on the situation and the age of the child.
If a very young child causes an injury by mistake, it’s unlikely that they’ll be held liable. In some cases, their parents or guardians could be vicariously responsible for the cost of any damages. Children who are old enough to know better may be held responsible along with their parents. Victims injured due to accidents caused by children can usually turn to the parents’ auto, home, or renter’s insurance coverage for compensation.
If there are no insurance policies available to cover the costs of an injury, victims might be able to pursue money in a personal injury lawsuit. However, any judgment ordering a child to pay for damages they caused will only take effect when the child turns 18. As a result, it’s typically not worth it to file a lawsuit against a child except for cases involving serious injuries.
What Should I Do If My Child Was Involved in an Accident?
If your child was involved in an accident, the steps you take could impact their legal rights and ability to pursue compensation. You can protect your child’s best interests by:
- Getting them prompt medical attention – If your child was harmed in any way, seeking immediate medical care is critical. By doing so, you can ensure they receive the treatment they need to heal as fully as possible and also create a formal record of their medical condition.
- Gathering evidence of what happened – If you pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you’ll need strong evidence. You can support your child’s claim by gathering photographs or video footage, statements from witnesses, and any physical evidence from the scene of the accident.
- Contacting a personal injury attorney – If the incident resulted in serious injuries, you should contact a qualified attorney for advice. Be sure to look for an experienced New York personal injury attorney who works well with children and has specific experience handling child injury claims.
Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If your child was injured in an accident, they might be owed compensation. Consult a knowledgeable New York personal injury lawyer for advice about how to get it. Contact the compassionate attorneys with The Mandel Law Firm for a free initial consultation.