Kids in Car Accidents: The important differences with a minor and a personal injury case

Has your child been injured in a car accident? If so, it is important to understand the differences between your child’s case and that of an adult. Here are a few examples.

First, did you know your child has longer to file a claim? The statute of limitations on a child’s case doesn’t start running at the same time as an adult. Your child may require more time to heal or some injuries may not be immediately apparent. But DON’T WAIT! Just because your child has longer does not mean you want to delay talking to an attorney. There are many important things to know from the very beginning.

Second, depending on your child’s age, no matter the cause of the accident, your child may not be considered negligent. Negligence is a big deal in a state like Virginia, which is one of only a handful of states that is a contributory negligence state. In Virginia, if you are found to be even partially responsible you may not be able to get reimbursed for the damages you suffered in your accident. However, a young child is rarely at fault, for reasons such as usually being the passenger during an accident, under a certain age, etc. These are important details to discuss with an attorney as soon as possible.

Third, would you be surprised to find out your child’s settlement funds will not be immediately available? Most courts require a formal hearing to approve settlements for minors, regardless of whether you go to trial or settle out of court. Once a settlement has been approved, the funds are usually deposited with the court. These funds become available to the child at the age of eighteen. However, parents should be aware they have other options. You can set up a structured settlement, which provides a set amount to your child at a schedule you pre-determine. Or you can make a request to the court if your child needs the funds before the age of eighteen for things such as education, medical necessities, etc.

These are just a few examples of the many nuances of a minor’s personal injury case. If you or your child has been injured by the negligence of another person, the experienced and professional attorneys at Winslow & McCurry, PLLC can help!  Call us at (804) 423.1382 to set up a personal injury consultation.