Nationwide, car accidents were responsible for injuring more than 97,000 children in 2018.
Last year, the Kentucky Department of Health reported that motor vehicle accidents caused 41% of all unintentional child injury deaths in the state.
Unfortunately, a child injured in a car accident may experience a more serious injury than an adult.
While the law usually applies equally to everyone, there are certain cases where it treats adults differently than children. Car accidents are one of these cases. Injured children can receive compensation after a car accident in Kentucky.
However, the process for a car accident involving a child is slightly different compared to cases involving an injured adult.
If you have questions about your child’s injury settlement, Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers can help. We refer all our clients to reputable physicians and have helped thousands of clients recover millions in verdicts and settlements.
Settlement for a Child Injured in Car Accident
Perhaps the biggest complication in a child’s personal injury suit is how Kentucky law treats damage awards.
When a parent brings a lawsuit on behalf of their child, the court has the power to accept or reject a personal injury settlement.
This is because the court always acts in the child’s best interest.
While most parents always try to act in their child’s best interest, even the most well-meaning parents can make mistakes.
For example, while an adult may choose to represent themselves in court rather than hire an attorney, a court will probably not view parents representing their child as acting in the child’s best interest.
This is for the simple reason that hiring a lawyer to handle the personal injury case will typically result in a better outcome. Negotiating a settlement and handling a jury trial are complex tasks; parents unfamiliar with the process are at risk of making mistakes that lower the settlement or even get the case dismissed entirely.
Child in Car Accident Compensation
A car accident settlement for a child includes much the same types of compensation as for an adult. In general, the following types of compensation are available to a child injured in car accident:
- Damages for pain and suffering;
- Damages for emotional distress;
- Current and future medical expenses, including therapy and home care; and
- Loss of future income or workability.
Most children are focused on school. However, Kentucky law does permit minors ages 14-17 to work within certain restrictions.
Moreover, a permanent disability might affect your child’s employment prospects as an adult. You should speak with a personal injury lawyer about how this may affect the damages available to your child.
Settlements Awarded to Minors in Kentucky
The court’s job is to act in the child’s best interest is to make sure that the child’s parents use the money properly.
Under Kentucky law, a court must approve all settlements in excess of $5,000.00 and guardianship must be appointed for any settlement in excess of $10,000.00.
In general, the court will not permit the money to be expended from a child’s settlement until the minor turns 18.
In rare circumstances such as medical emergencies, the court may, at its discretion permit the use of these funds.
If the settlement is more than $5,000, then the guardian will have a choice of placing the funds in a blocked account to remain until the child reaches 18 or establishing an annuity where they pay out the funds when the child reaches 18.
At our law firm, we always recommend an annuity in these cases were settlements where the child will receive in excess of $5,000.00.
This is because in establishing an annuity you can schedule the amount of money that the child receives at age 18 and later for college, trade school, and even purchase of a house at a later date.
When funds are placed in an annuity the interest grows or accrues usually with greater interest earned but the interest in not taxed. When placed in a blocked account any interest earned is taxable.
Therefore there are great advantages to the establishment of an annuity for minor children with substantial settlements.
Statute of Limitations for Child Car Accident Injuries
Under Kentucky law, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is generally one year. This means that one year after the injury occurs you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit.
There is a length limit for vehicle accidents: injured persons can bring motor vehicle injury claims up to two years after the date of the accident or the last personal injury protection (PIP) payment.
However, there is a special exception when the injured person is minor: the statute of limitations for any personal injury to a child does not start running until the child turns 18.
Accordingly, the statute of limitations for a young child may be much longer than just one or two years.
Can a Child File a Lawsuit for Their Injuries?
No, minor children cannot file a personal injury lawsuit themselves in Kentucky. As a result, a child injured in a car accident can recover compensation in a lawsuit in only two situations:
- The child files the lawsuit themselves after turning 18; or
- The child’s guardian appointed by the court files the lawsuit on the child’s behalf before the child turns 18.
In most cases, unless the child is 17, about to turn 18 a lawsuit will be filed on the child’s behalf before the minor is 18, or in most circumstances, the case is settled long before the child reaches 18. If the child is 17 at the time of the accident most attorneys will wait until the child is 18 to finalize a settlement.
his would avoid court approval.
Hire a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
If you have a child injured in a car accident, Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers is here to help.
There is no fee to you unless you win, and we will make sure you feel safe and comfortable while we fight for your case. Don’t let the insurance companies bully you; let us do the hard work, so you can focus on helping your child recover.