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What You Need to Know About a Car Crash Claim Involving Your Child

child in back seat of car smilingYou can never be fully prepared for the aftermath of a car crash, but a little knowledge can go a long way in helping victims manage the situation.

This could be particularly true if the crash involves you and your child. Auto accidents can be very stressful for children because they are unsure of what is happening.

Not only is it important to think about what to do at the scene before a crash happens, it is also important to understand possible options for seeking compensation. While compensation cannot undo what occurred, it can help to secure your child’s future and your own.

Schmidt Kramer is here to help after a crash. Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation.

Call to learn more: (717) 727-1403.

How Do I Obtain Compensation for My Child?

For the most part, auto accident claims are resolved through insurance settlements. As Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, these settlements often involve the victim’s insurance company.

Pennsylvania requires all drivers to purchase a minimum of $5,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This pays for the policyholder’s medical expenses and the medical expenses of the others in the vehicle, such as your children. While $5,000 is the minimum amount required by law, many drivers choose to purchase more, as medical treatment can be very expensive.

One of the benefits of PIP coverage is it can be used regardless of fault. In other words, you could be at fault for the crash and still use PIP coverage to pay for medical expenses.

Unlike compensation from another driver’s policy, you do not have to wait for your claim to be resolved. You simply give the medical provider your insurance information and the insurer will be billed directly. There are no co-pays or deductibles. You can simply focus on getting the treatment you and your child need.

What Happens if Your PIP Coverage Runs Out?

If you exhaust your PIP coverage and you or your child still have medical expenses, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Pennsylvania requires drivers to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage for accidents they cause. State law says drivers must purchase a minimum of:

  • $15,000 per person
  • $30,000 per crash

It is important to note drivers often purchase more than the minimum. This coverage can be used for your medical expenses and the medical expenses of others in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

If the car is on a policy separate from the driver’s, that policy would need to be used before you could seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver?

Technically, this is an option. It is important to note your choice of full tort or limited tort coverage affects your ability to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

If you chose limited tort coverage when you purchased insurance, you cannot sue for pain and suffering. If you chose full tort coverage, you may seek compensation for all damages suffered in the crash.

However, filing a lawsuit may not be a viable option if the at-fault driver lacks the assets to pay for your damages. That is why claims are typically resolved through insurance settlements.

While most injury claims in Pennsylvania have a two-year statute of limitations, the two-year clock does not begin to run for children until they turn 18. In other words, your child has two years from his or her 18th birthday to seek compensation.

That means there is likely to be more time to consider your options. There is no need to rush into anything.

It is important to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney who can explain your options. Even though your child is involved, you cannot count on the insurance company to offer full compensation. They are looking to protect their bottom line. Meanwhile, an experienced injury attorney should be looking out for your best interests.

What To Do After the Crash

It is important to act quickly to protect your health and safety, and the health and safety of your child. If it is possible, get your car off the road and as far away from passing traffic as possible. You cannot count on passing drivers to avoid your vehicle.

Make sure to turn on your hazard lights to help approaching drivers see you and steer clear. If you have road flares, putting them out can also be helpful. It is often best to avoid getting out of the car, particularly if you are close to traffic that is passing at high speed.

Children tend to react to stress around them and may struggle to remain calm. That is why it is so important for them to see adults remaining calm. There is no sense in expressing your anger at the other driver or getting out of the car to yell at this person. That could only make children more uncomfortable.

Call 9-1-1 right away so first responders can get to the scene to assess injuries, vehicle damage and fault for the crash.

Get your child to the hospital as soon as possible so his or her injuries can be assessed and stabilized.

Contact Us for Assistance with Your Claim

Unsure about your legal options? Struggling to obtain compensation from the insurance company?

The licensed Harrisburg auto accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer are here to help. An initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers is free of charge. You are not obligated to hire our firm if we determine you may have a case.

We have obtained tens of millions of dollars in compensation and have received numerous positive reviews from our clients.

Call Schmidt Kramer today for legal help. Phone: (717) 727-1403.