The leading cause of death of children in the United States is automobile accident injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Children are injured in car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and other collisions involving a motor vehicle. Sadly, hundreds of children die each year in motor vehicle accidents nationwide.

For parents, their first priority is their child’s health and emotional wellbeing. However, parents should also take steps to protect their child’s legal rights after being injured in a car accident. A car accident lawyer can help.

While parents focus on caring for their child and making decisions about their child’s medical treatment, a personal injury lawyer takes steps to protect the child’s right to fair and just compensation for car accident injuries.

Money does not compensate a child fully for the pain and suffering caused by a car accident. However, compensation received from a car accident claim can pay for continuing healthcare and counseling. Compensation can also provide for a child’s needs in the future, especially when a child sustains a permanent impairment because of a car accident.

What Should Parents Do After a Car Accident Injures Their Child?

Each car accident case is unique. The facts and circumstances of the auto accident, the child’s injuries, and the child’s recovery impact the steps parents take after a car crash. 

However, some of the standard steps parents can take after a car accident to protect their child’s rights include:

Report the Car Accident to the Police

Insist that the parties report the car accident to the police. If the other driver refuses to call 911, call 911 yourself to report the crash. If you suspect your child has injuries, do not hesitate to request emergency medical services. 

Police officers might not respond to the crash if there are no injuries. However, you will have a 911 recording as you report the crash. If possible, make sure to include a description of the vehicle and the vehicle’s license tag number on the call.

Contact the police department to inquire about reporting the crash if police officers are not dispatched to the accident scene. 

Document the Accident Scene

You do not want to leave your child, but it can help to take photographs of the accident scene. If someone will do so for you, ask them to use your cell phone to take pictures of the vehicles and the surrounding area. Making a video can also be very helpful.

Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information. Eyewitness testimony can sway a jury if both drivers dispute fault for the crash. 

Seek Immediate Medical Care for Your Child

If you do not take your child to the emergency room, it is a good idea for your child to be checked by a doctor. Your child could have injuries that are not immediately recognizable after the crash. Young children may not be able to verbalize injury symptoms.

Car accident injuries can have long-term consequences for children. A child that sustains a brain injury can have lasting cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments. 

Continue to monitor your child’s health in the weeks and months after the car accident. If you notice any symptoms or strange behavior, consult your pediatrician immediately. 

Delays in medical care after a car accident could negatively impact your child’s health and your child’s car accident claim. 

Do Not Talk to the Insurance Companies

Insurance companies might contact you within days after a car accident requesting a formal statement. In some cases, the companies may want to ask questions.

Do not provide written or recorded statements without talking with a car accident lawyer. Also, keep in mind that telephone calls with insurance companies are generally recorded, even if you are not informed of the recording.

Anything you say to the insurance company could be used later in your case. An innocent comment such as, “My child seems much better and is playing with friends,” could be used to argue that the car accident did not cause the injuries that you now claim. 

Keep Careful Notes 

Throughout the case, keep careful notes about each conversation you have with doctors, lawyers, insurance companies, and others. It is also helpful to make notes about your child’s behavior and pain level. Make notes about how the injury impacts your child’s daily life.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Car accident injuries can be devastating for children. They are heartbreaking for parents. The thought that your child must suffer because of another driver’s errors, wrongdoing, or negligence can be overwhelming.

A car accident lawyer can help you seek justice for your child. Whether a drunk driver, speeding driver, or distracted driver caused the accident, your child deserves to be compensated for his or her injuries and damages. An attorney fights to get that compensation for your child while you focus your attention on your child’s needs as he or she continues to recover from a car crash.