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What Should I Do if My Child Was Hurt in a Car Accident?

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What Should I Do if My Child Was Hurt in a Car Accident?

Car accidents continue to be a leading cause of unintentional child injuries. In 2021, 1,184 children died in car accidents, an eight percent increase from 2020.

Additionally, 162,298 children were injured in traffic crashes in 2021, a 17% increase from 2020.

Common Injuries Children Sustain in Traffic Accidents

Children can sustain a variety of injuries from a car accident. Common car accident injuries children sustain include:

  • Lacerations 
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Amputations and loss of limbs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries
Common Injuries Children Sustain in Traffic Accidents

Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic event. Therefore, children may also experience anxiety, depression, and emotional distress.

A child might not be able to express these emotions coherently, but it could manifest itself in fear of getting in the car and other symptoms of childhood emotional distress.

What Should I Do if My Child Is Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

Our Tampa car wreck lawyers work with parents to file personal injury claims when their children are hurt in a car accident. Things parents should do if their child is hurt in a car accident include:

Report the Car Crash Immediately

Call 911 to report a car accident anywhere in Florida. The dispatcher will send police officers and emergency medical services to the accident scene. 

Seek Prompt Medical Treatment 

Taking your child to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident is crucial. Even if your child appears okay, have them checked by a doctor. Sometimes, children sustain injuries that are not immediately apparent or not easily recognized by the symptoms a child experiences. 

Keep a close eye on your child after a car accident. Note any changes in your child’s behavior. It is a good idea to let teachers and caregivers know about the accident so they can note changes in behavior. Changes in a child’s routine and behavior can indicate a car accident injury.

Document Your Child’s Injuries

In addition to documenting your child’s injuries through medical records, you can also document your child’s injuries by taking photographs of the injuries throughout their recovery. Also, keep a journal noting your child’s emotional injuries and physical pain. 

Talk With a Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Your child might be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. Learning about your child’s legal rights and options after a car crash helps you protect those rights. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Child Who Was Injured a Car Accident in Florida

Florida has no-fault insurance laws that require drivers to have a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Therefore, your first claim should be with your PIP insurance company. Your child should be covered as a passenger in your vehicle.

The PIP insurance pays up to 80% of your child’s reasonable and necessary medical bills up to the policy limits if they sustain an emergency medical condition. The benefits are capped at $2,500 if there is no medical emergency.

Florida PIP laws provide an exception for suing the at-fault driver. If your child sustains serious injuries because of a car accident, they might have a claim against the party who caused the crash. You can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on their behalf to seek compensation for damages.

Severe injuries may include catastrophic injuries that cause permanent impairments or disfigurement. For example, a brain injury sustained in a car accident could result in developmental, cognitive, emotional, and physical impairments. A child with these injuries may require extensive and long-term occupational, physical, and rehabilitative therapies. 

What Damages Could My Child Receive for a Car Accident Claim in Florida?

Damages are the financial, physical, and emotional harm and losses a person sustains when they are injured because of another party’s negligence or intentional torts. Since the courts cannot undo the injuries caused by a car crash, they hold the liable party financially responsible for damages. 

Children can seek the same types of damages as adults for car accident cases. For instance, you can seek compensation for your child’s economic damages, including:

  • Reimbursement for current and future medical bills and expenses
  • Emotional and physical therapies
  • Future lost wages and reductions in earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses and costs
  • Assistance with personal care and/or long-term nursing care
  • Medical equipment and supplies

Additionally, your child can receive compensation for their pain and suffering damages. These damages are called non-economic damages and include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical pain 
  • Impairments and disabilities

In specific cases, a child might also receive punitive damages for a car accident lawsuit. Florida juries can award punitive damages if they find the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct in causing the car accident. 

Determining the value of damages for a child’s injury can be challenging, especially when future damages are involved. Our Florida car accident attorneys consult with financial professionals, medical specialists, and other experts to determine how much your child’s personal injury case is worth.

What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Child in Florida?

Florida’s statute of limitations for most car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of the car crash. If the car accident occurred before March 24, 2023, you might have longer to file a lawsuit under the old statute of limitations.

However, exceptions exist for children who are injured in car accidents. Parents might have longer to file a lawsuit or claim on behalf of their child. Other factors could also impact the deadline to file claims.

Calculating the statute of limitations for a child injury case can be complicated. Parents should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect their child’s right to file a claim. Missing the deadline can result in the court dismissing the lawsuit. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers

As a parent, we understand that you want to protect your child from harm. However, negligent drivers and other parties can cause car accidents that result in child injuries. 

Contact our Florida child injury attorneys at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation if your child was injured in a car crash. Call us at (813) 223-6200, let us help you protect your child’s legal rights regarding a personal injury claim. 

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