Filing a personal injury claim for your child can be confusing and overwhelming. As a parent, your primary goal is always to make sure that your child is cared for, safe, and receiving the best possible treatment.
As you navigate this difficult situation, here are the top ten questions that our personal injury attorneys would recommend that you are likely to ask when filing a personal injury claim for your child:
- Does the insurance company consider my child’s claim a part of my own claim? – The reality is your child has their own “claim” separate and apart from your claim. No matter how badly you are injured, your child’s claim is treated on its own.
- What if I settle too quickly for my child? – Motor vehicle accidents are tricky things. Some symptoms show up immediately, a broken leg for instance. Other symptoms and conditions develop far down the road, such as spinal issues exacerbated later in life. It is best to make sure your child is protected against any future complications.
- If the case is litigated, will a GAL will be required? – A guardian ad litem (GAL) is someone who attests to the judge that a settlement is in their best interests. This will not be you, as the parent. An independent third party will speak to whether the settlement amount, if litigated, is fair and just for your child’s injuries.
- Does my child need to be evaluated by a professional? – We all know children have a difficult time telling parents what is wrong. This is especially true in a motor vehicle accident where symptoms and problems often develop days, weeks and months after the initial collision. It is important as a parent that you bring your children to their doctor so they can carefully assess any potential problems related to the motor vehicle accident.
- Will my child have to testify in court? – Most parents are concerned about their children and any potential they might have to be in any court process. It is natural to shield your child from any such predicament. The reality is the insurance companies do not want a child to be in court testifying to a likely sympathetic audience. In certain cases, a child will be called to testify, but this should not preclude you from trying to get the appropriate medical care and making sure the insurance companies do all they can to prevent your child from ever entering a courtroom.
- Is there even anyone to treat my child? – Yes. Besides your child’s pediatrician who should be the first provider unless serious issues are present, there are many chiropractors, physical therapists, and other professionals who specialize in treating children.
- What if my child tells me nothing is wrong? – It is still advisable to have your child reviewed by a medical doctor to ensure nothing is wrong. They are going to know the complexities that come with a child’s body and their reaction to a collision.
- How long do I have to file my children’s claim? – Children’s claims should be filed at the same time an adult’s claim is filed with the insurance companies. While there can be different limitations on filing an actual lawsuit, if a child is involved in an accident, it should be reported immediately to any/all insurance companies involved in the accident and the healthcare provider of your child.
- Am I able to speak for my child? – If your child is involved in a motor vehicle accident and requires treatment or is injured, the parents are able to speak for their child with regards to any settlement proposal with a GAL or representative prior to any settlement. It is important your attorney speaks for you and your child.
- Do I need an attorney who specializes in children’s claims? – No. You need an attorney who has experience and who has handled motor vehicle accidents involving children, the GAL process if litigated, and the issues surrounding child injuries.
At Russell and Hill, PLLC, we are committed to helping Seattle area families ensure that their children and their own injuries are taken care of. All of our personal injury attorneys have years of experience handling these types of claims and would be happy to sit down with you for a free consultation about your options.
Contact our team today to begin your claims process.