The unconditional love that parents feel for their children is instinctual. You would do anything for your children, and that’s why dealing with a child’s injury is one of the most heartbreaking and difficult things any parent can face. Even if a child’s negligence is to blame for injuring another, parents typically worry as much for their child as for the victim.
One of the first questions on most parents' minds following a motor vehicle accident is what they should do if their children are injured. Will they be compensated by the responsible insurance company?
Child injury claims vary from adult claims in several ways, including the types of compensation available and how settlements are split. Personal injury claims may not be filed by minors (any child under the age of 18) on their own. However, parents or guardians may do so on their behalf, and they may also hire a lawyer to defend them.
If your child is affected in any way by an accident, be sure to notify the responsible insurance company. The insurer will provide the relevant documentation and instructions. If the injuries are complex or severe, and you must file a lawsuit, certain jurisdictions may require a judge’s advanced permission for a parent to settle the claim on behalf of their child.
The burden of proof for proving damages to minor children are the same as for adults. It is necessary to prove that the motor vehicle accident and related injuries resulted from negligence.
Compensation for injured children typically includes:
In addition to the above, parents may be able to recover any income lost if they took time off to care for their child, as well as any other costs determined by the court or insurer to be covered or owed.
It is critical to adhere to any filing deadlines in order to claim compensation. These filing deadlines are called “statutes of limitations”. While you may not have to file anything in court for your case, it is smart to be aware of the deadline, because missed filing dates usually result in claims being dismissed by the court. Most personal injury lawsuits in Canada have a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident, however, a child who is involved in an accident may file a claim against the faulty driver, as long as it is within two years after their 18th birthday.
Finally, a settlement cannot be reached without an agreed-upon offer. Typically, the injured person or persons and the responsible insurer will negotiate to determine the settlement amount. If an agreement cannot be reached, some claimants opt for hiring a personal injury attorney to assist them.
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