Car Accident Damages: Can a Child Sue?

November 25, 2022

We would love to imagine that there are never children involved in the many car accident cases we handle. However, that wouldn’t be the truth. There is always the chance that a driver could have one of their kids in the car with them when they get into an accident. The last thing anybody wants to see happen is having a child hurt in a car crash. But it does happen. And when it does, you can count on your Columbia accident lawyer to fight to get you damages.

Since your child is a minor, they cannot technically sue anybody. However, as their legal guardian, you have every right to sue on their behalf. What we usually do is meet with both the minor child and their parents at the initial, free consultation. This gives us a chance to meet the person we will be representing. It also lets us see how big or small your child is. This can make a big difference when it comes to demanding damages. There is no need to get into the specifics of this at the present time. Just know that it’s a good idea to come with your child for this first meeting. After that point, we can always work through you and your spouse regarding the case.

Here, we’ll explain what options are available to your family should one of your children get hurt in a car accident. Whether they were the driver or passenger in the crash, they may be entitled to damages. The best way to find out for sure is to meet with one of our Columbia injury lawyers sooner rather than later.

You Would Have to Sue in the Name of Your Minor Child

As briefly mentioned above, if you and your family decide to proceed with legal action, one of you must sue in your child’s name. We cannot file a lawsuit that names a minor as the plaintiff. If you choose to wait until your child reaches the age of maturity, the Statute of Limitations in South Carolina will let you do this. However, that is not always a good idea. You have no idea what can happen between now and the time they turn 18.

What we would do is file a lawsuit against the other driver and their insurance carrier. We would sue in you or your spouse’s name and identify that the suit is being filed on behalf of your child. This way, any monies received from the case will be put in trust for your child until they reach 18. The judge may even order the trust to remain closed until your son or daughter reaches the age of 21 or 25. It all depends on how much you receive in damages and your child’s physical condition is at the time of the judgment.

Damages in This Sort of Case Will Be Different from a Typical Car Accident Case

Normally, when one of our clients is involved in a car accident, we demand the same types of damages. Of course, some cases are so unique that the damages are slightly different than your run-of-the-mill car accident lawsuit. However, for the most part, car accident victims are entitled to some or all of the following:

  • Medical bills and compensation for future medical care
  • Lost wages and lost future income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

When it comes to minors, it’s a bit different. Obviously, your child doesn’t own the vehicle that was damaged in the crash. The only person who can sue for property damage is the person or people who own the car or SUV. Second, since your minor child does not have an income, your Columbia accident lawyer can’t demand damages for lost wages. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t sue for lost future income. If your child is permanently disabled as a result of the car accident, they may never be able to work. Your Columbia injury lawyer can demand the average salary for the given year and multiply it by the number of years your child would have theoretically worked.

Finally, when it comes to pain and suffering, it can be difficult to prove then in a case involving a child. They aren’t able to effectively communicate their pain levels. Nor can we measure their mental anguish. What we would do is rely heavily on your child’s doctors to figure out how much we can demand on their behalf.

Let Your Columbia Injury Lawyer Sort Out the Legal Issues

If your child has been injured in a car accident, they have the same legal rights as you. Just because your child is a minor, that doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to damages for any injuries they suffer. Our Columbia injury lawyers have represented more than our fair share of children and teenagers in car accident cases. Of course, since they cannot sue in their own name just yet, you would need to sue on their behalf. Your Columbia accident lawyer would simply file the lawsuit in your name on behalf of the beneficiary – your son or daughter.

These cases can get complicated. While your child does have the option of waiting until they turn 18 to sue, we don’t recommend that. You have no idea where the defendant will be when that happens. It could be more than ten years from now. Rather than let the defendant disappear or close their business, you should take legal action now before it’s too late.

What we recommend is that you call our office and schedule a free, initial consultation. We would like to sit down with any potential clients and find out if they have a valid claim for damages. We would need to look at any paperwork or correspondence you have related to the crash. We would also like to meet your child at some point before we file suit. Our goal will be to get your child and family the damages they deserve. Since the consultation is free, and since you don’t pay anything upfront, you have nothing to lose.