After a child gets injured in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, a parent might be able to take legal action against the at-fault party. Your family may be able to seek compensation for your child’s medical expenses as well as your family’s non-financial challenges related to the accident.
If your child got hurt while in a crosswalk, on a sidewalk, or in or near a street, you need to know your legal options and how to move forward in your case. Take these steps if your child was injured in a pedestrian accident and you want to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Complete All Medical Treatment
You will want to make sure that your child receives all of the treatment the doctor prescribed for their wounds to give them the best chance to heal properly. Taking your child to doctor’s appointments can be inconvenient and cause you to miss work, but we might be able to add those lost wages to the injury claim.
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Preserve the Evidence
If possible, you will want to document the scene of the accident with photographs or videos. Your cell phone will be fine for this purpose. If you cannot get this evidence, you might ask a trusted friend or relative to handle this step for you while you attend to your child’s needs.
You should report the accident to law enforcement immediately. A police report will be essential evidence. Also, the report might contain the names and contact information of eyewitnesses who could provide useful testimony.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney Who Handles Child Pedestrian Accident Cases
These cases often involve unique issues above and beyond the standard accident claim. When you work with a lawyer, you can understand all your legal options and any important laws that may affect your case.
A lawyer can also explain how the statute of limitations deadline could affect your case. Most personal injury cases have a two-year deadline for filing a lawsuit under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
You do not want to delay in pursuing a claim for compensation. If you do not file the lawsuit by the applicable time limit, you could forever lose the right to seek money damages for your child’s injuries. Sometimes, the deadline can be extended when a minor child is involved in the case, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Also, if years go by before you seek compensation, it might be challenging to locate the evidence you need for the case.
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A Minor Child Cannot Take Legal Action on Their Own
Until a person turns 18 years of age, they do not have the legal capacity to take action on their own, like filing a lawsuit or settling an insurance claim. As the child’s parent, you will need to act on their behalf.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit for injuries to a minor child is complicated for this reason. Your personal injury lawyer can take care of the additional procedural steps that Georgia law requires in these cases.
The Types of Damages in Child Pedestrian Accident Injury Cases
You might be able to recover the cost of the medical treatment your child needed for their wounds and future medical intervention the doctor recommends. Sometimes children need to grow to a certain point before they undergo follow-up procedures.
If your child suffered long-term impairment from the accident, you might be able to hold the defendant financially accountable for that loss. Also, the child’s pain and suffering can be compensable, as well as your lost wages if you had to take time away from work to provide necessary care for your child.
What We Have to Prove to Win Your Child’s Pedestrian Accident Injury Claim
We cannot automatically file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against everyone involved in the pedestrian accident that injured your child. Only the party or parties whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident will be liable for your losses.
Proving that the defendant was liable requires showing all four of these factors:
- Duty of care. The defendant must have owed your child a duty of care. All drivers have a legal obligation to obey traffic laws and drive with caution.
- Breach of the duty. The defendant’s conduct must have fallen below the legal standard of care in order for them to be negligent. Let’s say that the at-fault driver exceeded the speed limit and ignored the flashing lights in a school zone. That behavior violates the rules of the road and is careless.
- Causation. The negligence has to be the act that caused the accident that hurt the child. Let’s say that because he was speeding, the defendant struck a child who was crossing the street in the crosswalk to get to the school. The careless conduct caused the accident that harmed the child.
- Quantifiable damages. There must be measurable losses, like medical bills, in order to hold the defendant liable.
When we can prove all four of these factors existed in your case, we can go after the liable party for money damages for the harm to your child.