Are children liable when they cause an injury? What happens when a child is hurt in an accident?
Most accidents leading to injury are caused by adults. What about the rare cases where children cause damage or become personal injury victims? The law assumes that children are unable to exercise the same level of discretion as adults. So, there are special provisions for liability or compensation in injuries involving children.
Injury to a Child
Getting injured is more or less a part of the growing-up process. However, some injuries can give rise to personal injury lawsuits, especially when negligence was responsible for the incident. For instance, a school or a careless bus driver may be held liable for an injury to a child.
An injured child is entitled to receiving compensation for damages as an adult would. This means that a child can get paid for permanent injury or disability, pain, suffering, or emotional distress. Parents can also receive separate compensation for medical expenses incurred in treating their injured child.
Several states have different procedures for dealing with legal claims involving injured children. Minors cannot negotiate personal settlements, so their parents can do the negotiations on their behalf or employ the services of an attorney. Some states require a judge’s approval (usually a straightforward form-filling and filing process) before a child’s compensation can be paid.
The insurance company gives you the forms to be completed in settlements involving children and instructs you on filing them. Insurers ensure that the compensation claims are approved before payment to prevent future claims of more money by a lawyer.
Injury Caused by a Child
A similar notion of carefulness or negligence is considered when dealing with injuries caused by children. However, different criteria of care and negligence are employed when dealing with individuals under 18 years of age. Minors do not necessarily understand care and negligence like adults and are not treated the same way.
There are different standards for various age ranges when it comes to liability for an injury. Children aged seven and below are not considered old enough to understand carelessness, so they cannot be held liable for the damage they cause. However, their parents or guardians may be held legally responsible for their actions in some cases.
Children old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong can be liable for injuries they cause. If a child injures another or intentionally causes damage by throwing rocks at a vehicle, the child and their parents or guardians may be considered liable.
Children can also be liable for careless behavior in cases where they fail to behave reasonably as expected of children their age. The standards for adults and middle teenagers are more or less the same. A minor driving a vehicle is treated by the law as an adult and will be treated the same way in the event of an accident.
Minors may not be able to pay compensation in situations where they cause accidents. However, they are ways for the injured party to get compensation. Children almost always have insurance. In vehicle accidents involving a driving child, the child or the vehicle owner’s insurance will usually cover the liability.
In accidents not involving an automobile, a renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy can cover a minor residing on the property. In situations where a minor is not covered by any form of insurance, the injured party can file an injury claim against the child and get a binding verdict from the court declaring what the child must pay when they come of age and begin to earn. This process is usually tedious and often requires legal representation.
Liability for a Child’s Vehicle Accident
Children are often covered by their parent’s insurance. In cases where the child is uninsured or driving their parent’s vehicle, you can get compensated by the parent’s insurer. If the child is registered as the vehicle’s owner but uninsured, many states hold parents responsible for such accidents caused by their children.
Have you been in an accident involving a child? You may need an attorney. Valiant Advocates connects you to local attorneys. Our network covers multiple states and will instantly connect you to an attorney ready to take up your case. Call us now: (800) 910-6668.