After a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania, injured parties can file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party if they have full tort car insurance or if their injuries are severe. For pedestrians, full tort benefits are automatically granted, the pedestrian automatically has the right to file a claim or lawsuit.
Damages that are available to a pedestrian involved in an accident include the following.
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages and future wages
- Noneconomic benefits (pain and suffering)
When it is a child who has been hit, though, the damages type available remains the same, but the damages amount may change.
Young Children are Not Responsible for Their Actions
The first thing to consider is that very young children are generally not culpable, or responsible, for their actions. This means that even if the child did something negligent, like run into the road in front of a bus, he or she will usually not be held liable for this.
As such, they are not subject to comparative negligence laws, which diminish a claimant’s damages by proportion of fault. Therefore, a child is almost always entitled to the full benefit amount. Take note that if a school bus driver hit your child, you may need to report a reckless school bus driver.
Loss of Earning Capacity
One damage type that is different for a child vs. an adult is loss of earning capacity. For obvious reasons, these damages would be more for a child than they are for an adult as a child has more “working” years of life ahead of him or her. This amount is determined by making an assumption of what the child could have earn over the course of life had the accident not occurred.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A child may also be able to recover a higher ‘loss of enjoyment of life’ benefit award than an adult, particularly an older adult. While there is no way to put a precise monetary value on the ability to enjoy life, many courts will be sympathetic to a young child rendered permanently disabled by an accident, resulting in a higher benefit amount.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Recover Damages on Your Child’s Behalf
If your child has been seriously injured in a car accident, our attorneys can help you and your family to recover damages. Whether you want to file a personal injury lawsuit or a claim with the insurance company, we’ll be here to support you every step of the way.