- Ambulance bills
- Hospital bills
- Treating physician bills
- Lost wages
- Skilled nursing care
- Rehabilitative services
- The cost of future medical treatment
When the victim of a car accident is a child, then the stress of the whole ordeal increases by an incalculable amount.
If your child suffers from injuries from a serious crash due to the negligence of another, our Chicago child car accident lawyers can help. We will pursue the compensation and justice you and your child deserve. Call us at (312) 924-7575 to speak to an attorney for free.
Anyone can suffer injury in a car accident, but some people are more likely than others to sustain harm. Among all age groups, children involved in car accidents are particularly prone to suffering injuries in a crash even when the proper precautions are utilized.
What are the Statistics for Children involved in Car Accidents?
- As of 2016, children aged 18 and under account for approximately 23 percent of the national population.
- With 74 million children living in the U.S. in 2016, it is not surprising that there has been greater attention regarding child safety while traveling in cars.
- Motor vehicle collisions continue to be the leading cause of death among children age 4 and ages 11-14.
- In other age groups, car accidents are responsible for a large percentage of deaths, but are not the leading cause.
- 723 children who were 12 or younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016.
- More than 128,000 children were injured in 2016 car accidents.
- Each year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 ride in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat, at least some of the time.
- In 2016, 35% of children age 12 and under killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
How to Protect Your Child in a Car Accident?
Compliance with mandatory safety provisions has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, proper safety procedures are still a major concern and cause of child injuries in car accidents.
The most common safety procedures designed to keep kids safe include the use of:
- Car seats
- Booster seats
- Seat belts
- Only allowing young children to ride only in the back seat of a vehicle
In most states, including Illinois, parents have to abide by many safety rules. If they don't, they can face punishment from the state.
Common Injuries Seen in Children After Car Accidents
If a child was involved in a Chicago car accident, they should be given medical attention immediately to diagnose and treat their injuries. Your child may be crying or maybe they are screaming in pain, but either way it can be hard to tell if they’re actually injured. That being said, children involved in car accidents should be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Younger children may not have the ability to voice their pain or tell you where it hurts. Further, if their injuries are internal it can be impossible to tell if or where they are injured without the help of a doctor. Any delay in treatment for a child involved in an accident can create complications for his or her prognosis.
Some common injuries children suffer from car accidents include:
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries are usually serious for anyone who suffers one. But if head trauma can be even worse for young children who are still developing both their brain and their skull. Car accidents involving children are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, concussions, whiplash, and skull base fractures. Severe head injuries can lead to complications like cognitive and emotional issues, learning disabilities, coma, vegetative state, and even death. They can also cause permanent brain damage that may affect a child for the rest of his or her life.
Injuries Because of Airbags
There are rules that require children of a certain age to sit in the back seat until they’re old enough (or big enough) to sit in the front seat. This is simply because a child who is too small can be hurt by the front-passenger seat airbag. When a child that is too young or too small sits in the front seat of a car during a car crash, the resulting injuries can be serious.
Car Seat Injuries
Children who ride without the proper car seat or restraint may be subject to injuries during a car accident. It’s important to follow the guidelines for what age and size seat is appropriate for your child. If you’re using the wrong seat, or the seat is not used or installed properly, they may be more susceptible to a serious injury. Defective car seats can also cause injuries to children during crashes.
Chest injuries are also common in children involved in car accidents, especially if the restraints on the child’s seat aren’t secured tightly enough, or even if they’re too tight. Even with the proper seat safety in place, a child may still sustain chest injuries if the accident is severe enough. These injuries can include broken ribs, lung damage, and internal injuries.
Bruises and Lacerations
Bruises and lacerations are very common with children in car accidents. They usually can heal on their own with proper monitoring by a doctor. Deep cuts can be caused by broken glass and may require stitches. With open wounds, there’s always a risk of infection without proper treatment. There can also be permanent scarring.
A car accident can create psychological trauma and this is even more likely to occur to children. Further, if an accident occurs during a child’s formative years, it can take a longer time to process the events, and there could be PTSD from the accident. Children who are involved in car accidents may require therapy to help them deal with the emotional impact of the accident.
What to Do After Your Child is Injured
Seeing your child injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident, can be hard. It will most likely cause a parent stress, but it’s important to remain calm so you can help your child. Here what you should do after a car accident:
If your child appears to be seriously injured, the first thing you should do is get them medical attention right away by calling 911. While there are a lot of important things to be done at the scene of the accident, receiving medical attention and making sure everyone is safe should be your number one priority.
Next, even if there are no serious injuries, you still want to call the authorities to make a traffic crash report. Do not anyone at the scene of the accident talk you out of reporting the accident to the police. Not reporting the crash to authorities can cause issues with your accident claim in the future. For example, there are now some insurance policies that won’t provide coverage if the authorities aren’t contacted within a certain amount of time.
Exchange contact information with the other drivers and get their insurance information. This is very important. Ask to see and photograph their driver’s license and insurance card so you know the information is accurate.
If your child appears to be okay, you should gather some evidence of your own before heading off to the hospital to be checked out. Take as many pictures as you can of the accident. Take photos of your car and any other cars that were involved, your injuries, and the surrounding location.
Talk to independent witnesses and get their contact information if you can. Encourage nearby witnesses to stay at the scene and speak to the investigating police officers. In a contested liability claim, an independent witness can win your case.
Finally, you’ll want to begin looking for an attorney. It’s important that you hire an attorney before speaking with the insurance companies. The insurance carrier of the at-fault party will start working against your interests immediately. An adjuster may try to take a recorded statement, or could even try to trick you into signing a release of claims for a lowball settlement.
What Compensation Can You Receive?
An injury to your child can be costly. You may worry about the amount of financial debt an accident can create. However, your attorney is there to help ensure that you get the compensation that you need for your damages.
Compensation is divided into two separate categories, economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include specific monetary losses that you experienced because of your child’s injuries. This can include any medical bills, such as ambulance rides, surgery costs, doctor’s visits, and even therapy (both physical and mental). You can also receive compensation for any wages you may have lost while caring for your recovering child and any childcare expenses as well.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, compensation for permanent disability and disfigurement, and any other non-monetary damages that affected your child’s life. While a case for an adult would look at the quality of life before and after the accident, it can be harder to determine pain and suffering values for a child. Often, these values can be higher, as the injuries can be more devastating and have a greater emotional impact on children.
In this case, your attorney would look at how the injury will likely impact your child’s future, and how their life will be different moving forward. Have they missed a lot of school? Are they going to physically recover fully? Are they going to have ongoing pain and discomfort? Basically, instead of only looking at their past, we also look at their future and how it could be affected by their injuries.
How to Avoid an Injury to a Child in a Car Crash?
Sometimes you can't prevent an accident from happening. You are driving in a safe manner and still become the victim of another driver’s negligence. But if you travel with children in the Chicago area, the best thing you can do is to focus on safety before you hit the road.
Restraints, or seat belts, should always be used. Seatbelts save lives.
Statistically, the use of seat belts among young children is high, but it declines as children age. Of children 12 and under who were in fatal collisions in 2016, just 65 percent were wearing seat belts. These numbers persist even though seat belts have been shown to significantly reduce the odds of death in a crash. Seat beats also reduce the severity of injuries by approximately 45 and 50 percent, respectively.
Child safety seats, or car seats and boosters, should also be used where appropriate and when required by law. These sometimes tend to be used only with the youngest of passengers who are too small to otherwise fill out a standard seat. Safety seats reduce the risk of death by approximately 71 percent among children under one year of age and by about 54 percent in children ages one to four.
Put Your Child in the Backseat of Your Vehicle
Individual cars also can have safety designs that may be a benefit or a detriment to minor passengers. Prime among these are airbags, and in particular, front seat airbags. Airbags cushion the body of an adult from striking the steering column, steering wheel, or dashboard in a standard car with front deploying airbags. They are very effective in reducing injuries among adults, but among children, they can do far more harm than good.
The location, size, and force with which an airbag deploys makes them unsafe for small children and is a primary reason that experts encourage parents to allow children only in the backseat of a vehicle. Further, a rear-facing car seat should never be placed where a front-deploying airbag is located. The force of the airbag deploying can dislodge these seats and push the car seat against the backrest of the seat in the vehicle, potentially leaving a child with serious injuries.
What to do When Children are Involved in Car Accidents in Chicago?
Like adults, the laws in Chicago provide children with the right to seek compensation for their injuries if they are harmed in an automobile collision caused by another’s negligence. This may be the negligence of another driver or even the driver in the car with the child, depending on the accident and the situation that resulted. The important thing to know is that if your child has been hurt, your child and your family may have a claim for damages. You should consult a Chicago child car accident lawyer to learn more about your options.
The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help children involved in car accidents. You can reach us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally at (312) 924-7575. There is no obligation on your part for taking advantage of the consultation and if we represent you and your child, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
If your child has injuries from a car accident, call our attorneys now at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.