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Personal Injury Claims for Children

One of a parent’s worst nightmares is having their child injured in an accident. It could happen anywhere - at school, on a playground, or at a friend's or relatives’ home. Some common cases where children are injured are when they are a passenger in a motor vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle or bitten by a dog. The last thing you want to do is deal with red-tape from insurance companies or potential lawsuits; however, there are some things that are important to know about an accident involving a child.

In a personal injury case involving a minor, a child can typically seek damages for the same things that adults would be able to such as:

  • Emotional distress

  • Pain and suffering

  • Permanent injuries

  • Disability

As a parent, you have a separate right to be compensated for medical expenses related to your child’s accident.

Clearly, a child cannot negotiate on their own, therefore parents are permitted to do so on behalf of their child, or you can hire an attorney to handle your case. It is also important to understand what happens if you are given a settlement. New York State courts must ensure that any settlement is in the best interest of the injured child.

Typically, any money from a settlement will be escrowed into an interest-earning bank account and cannot be touched until your child reaches ‘the age of majority,’ which is 18 years old in New York.

As a parent, it is also important to understand the timeline for filling any lawsuits. Unlike adults, there is no statute of limitations for a child under 18. That means if your child was injured in an accident when they were 3 years old you could wait until they were 17 to file a claim. However, if a suit has not been brought by the time, they are 18 years old then the statute of limitations clock starts ticking. Your now “adult” child may only have 3 years or less to bring a claim on their own.

This is a lot of information to digest, especially when your priority is caring for your child. It is in your best interest to at least seek a consultation with an attorney. We are always here to answer your questions. Do not hesitate to call us.

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