Car accidents can be a terrifying experience with just adults in the car. This fear is taken to new levels when a child is involved. This article will discuss your options under South Carolina law if your child has been injured in a car accident.

If your child or children were hurt in a crash in South Carolina, we’re here to help you navigate the legal process. Your focus at this time should be entirely on helping your child heal. If you have any questions or would like to get a reputable lawyer on your side to protect your and your child’s future, please contact our team today. We are available for you via phone 24/7 at (803) 888-2200.

Compensation Available for Children Injured in Rear-End Accidents?

Under South Carolina law, if your child was injured in a rear-end accident, you likely have the right to file for compensation for the injuries and damages sustained. This compensation is typically pursued through a personal injury claim, where the at-fault driver’s insurance company is held responsible for covering the costs of your child’s medical treatment, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, and more.

In South Carolina, children under the age of 18 cannot file a lawsuit on their own. Instead, a parent or legal guardian must file the claim on their behalf.

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation. Suppose your child was in the backseat when another vehicle rear-ended your car at a stoplight. Your child suffered a concussion and a broken arm. In this case, you, as the parent or guardian, would file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your child’s medical bills, emotional trauma, and any future medical needs related to the accident.

How is Compensation Determined for Child Injuries in Rear-End Accidents?

The compensation for child injuries in rear-end accidents is determined based on several factors. In South Carolina, the courts use a concept known as “modified comparative negligence.” This means that as long as you are found less than 50% at-fault for the accident, you can recover some level of compensation. If the injured party is found to be partially at fault for the accident, then their compensation may be reduced proportionally. For instance, if the injured party was found to be 15% at-fault, then they can only recover 75% of the total jury award.

However, in the case of a child, the courts are generally more lenient as children are not expected to exercise the same level of care as adults. Whether a child is capable of comparative negligence varies from case to case based on the age and capacity of the individual child.

If the insurance company is trying to argue that your child was partially liable for the accident or their injuries for any reason, it’s in your best interest to speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

What Happens if the Child’s Injuries Result in Long-Term Disability?

Devastatingly, sometimes a child’s injuries from a serious rear-end accident can result in long-term disability. In these cases, South Carolina law allows for compensation to cover past, present, and future medical expenses, ongoing care needs, and even the child’s loss of earning capacity in the future.

For example, if your child suffered a spinal cord injury leading to paralysis, the compensation would need to cover not only immediate medical bills but also future costs such as physical therapy, home modifications, personal care assistance, and other needs to set your child up for the best future possible. Additionally, the child’s loss of future income must be considered in your claim, especially if the disability prevents them from pursuing certain careers or jobs in the future.

An experienced lawyer can help calculate these economic and noneconomic future costs and fight for a settlement that truly reflects the long-term, unanticipated impact of the accident on your child’s life.

Can Your Family Sue for Emotional Distress?

Child injuries not only significantly impact the child, but their loved ones as well. This should never be overlooked. In fact, under South Carolina law, parents may be able to claim for their own emotional distress following a child’s injury in a rear-end accident. This is known as a “bystander claim” and is typically available to close family members who witness a loved one’s injury or death.

For example, if you were driving the car when your child was injured in a rear-end accident, you may be able to claim compensation for your own emotional distress and trauma, in addition to your child’s personal injury claim.

We’re here to help you understand your options under South Carolina and get you the support you need for the best future outcome possible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

What if the Child was a Passenger in the At-Fault Vehicle?

In some cases, the child may be a passenger in the vehicle that caused the rear-end accident. In such situations, you may still be able to seek compensation for your child’s injuries. The claim would typically be filed against the driver of the vehicle your child was in.

For example, if your child was riding with a friend’s parent who rear-ended the vehicle in front of them. We understand that many times the driver is a family member or a friend. It’s important to keep in mind that you are not seeking compensation out of the pocket of your friend/family member. Instead, it is generally their insurance company that will be responsible for your compensation, not the individual(s).

What if the Child’s Injuries Worsen Over Time?

Sometimes, the full extent of a child’s injuries from a rear-end accident may not be immediately apparent. That’s why it’s critical to not only get your child checked out by professional medical staff following any accident, but also to monitor your child for any behavioral or physical changes. Certain injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, can worsen over time or have delayed symptoms. In such cases, it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help ensure that your child’s compensation covers their past, present, and long-term needs.

Maybe your child initially seemed fine after the accident but started showing signs of cognitive impairment weeks later. In this case, an attorney will aggressively seek additional compensation to cover your child’s future medical treatment, therapy, any necessary accommodations at school, and much more.

How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help in Child Injury Cases?

An experienced lawyer can play a crucial role in securing fair compensation for your child’s injuries, allowing parents to focus all of their time and energy into helping their child heal and set them up for success. Your lawyer will gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your child’s best interests in court. They can also help you navigate the complex legal procedures involved in filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a minor.

For instance, in South Carolina, if a minor nets more than $15,000 in compensation following an accident resulting in injury, then the court has to approve it. If the minor nets more than $25,000 in compensation, a conservator must be appointed or the settlement must be structured/annuitized. Our lawyers will smoothly guide you through this process.

If your child has been injured in a rear-end accident, call Cavanaugh & Thickens today at (803) 888-2200 for a free case evaluation.