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How Are Car Accident Claims Different When Minors Are Involved?

December 15, 2021

By Van Der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin

September 25, 2021 marked the end of Child Passenger Safety Week in Pennsylvania and as part of the campaign, one mother is sharing her story. One year ago, a mother lost her two-year-old daughter in a car accident. The young girl was a passenger in a relative’s vehicle when the driver was involved in an accident that was fatal for the toddler. According to her mother, there is no evidence her daughter was even in a car seat, but the child’s seat that was in the vehicle was expired.

The mother is now using her own tragedy to try and prevent others. While she is spreading the word about the safety of child car seats, our personal injury lawyer in Allentown wants to remind you that you can still file a claim if your child was injured by another person’s negligence. However, it is important to know how these claims are different from others.

Minors Cannot File a Claim

To file a personal injury claim, one must have the mental capacity to do so and children are not considered to have this capacity. As a result, they cannot file a claim on their own after being hurt by another person’s carelessness. In order to recover damages right away after a child injury, the parents or legal guardian of the child must file the claim for them.

The only time a child can file a claim on their own is when they are over the age of 18 and are then legally considered an adult. Sometimes, it is not practical to wait until that time because evidence will disappear over time. Filing a claim on behalf of another person is always challenging though, so it is critical that you speak to a personal injury lawyer before filing your claim.

Child Injury Claims have a Different Statute of Limitations

All personal injury claims in Pennsylvania are governed by a statute of limitations, or a time limit. In most cases, this time limit is two years from the date of the accident. When parents or legal guardians file a claim on behalf of their child, the time limit of two years still applies. However, if the child chooses to file a claim on their own, they have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim.

A child’s bones, muscles, joints, and their brain takes time to develop. After an accident, these delicate parts of the system can become injured and those injuries do not always appear right away, but they still negatively impact the child’s future development. By waiting an appropriate amount of time, the injuries can present themselves and accident victims can claim the full amount of damages they deserve.

Our Car Accident Lawyers in Allentown Can Help with Your Child’s Claim

If your child has been injured at daycare, in a car accident, or by any other act of negligence, our Allentown auto accident lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are here to provide the valuable legal advice you need. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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