Protecting Children From Future Injuries After a Car Accident...

by Anonymous

My 2 children and I were passengers in a friend's car and we rear ended another vehicle. My daughter was transported by ambulance to the hospital where they took x-rays and did a ct scan. Everything ended up being ok with her at the time.

My concern is that over time while she grows up it might have an affect on her. The insurance company is asking me to sign a waiver for $350 dollars to make sure I never sue them or the driver in our car. Is this fair? What is my best option? How do I make sure that my daughter is protected into the future? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Protecting Children From Future Injuries After a Car Accident...":

Anonymous (USA):

There are some states which are No-Fault Insurance States, and some which aren’t. From the tenor of your question it appears you may be living in one of the no-fault insurance states. If so, there are some issues you need to consider...

Your concern for your daughter’s well-being into the future is a valid one. If you do settle now for such a small amount and your daughter has some latent injuries which won’t manifest themselves for several years, settling now will leave you with no recourse.

Excuse the metaphor, but if you do “sign her life away” and something unforeseen was to happen, you would have made a serious mistake by settling for such a small amount.

Go back to your daughter’s pediatrician and ask her to give you her best diagnosis and prognosis for your daughter. The diagnosis will tell you exactly what her injuries are, if any, and the prognosis will tell you what your daughter can hope to expect in the future.

If the doctor gives your daughter a “clean slate” then you should settle the case. Though $350.00 dollars seems a little low. In no-fault insurance states the settlement should usually be at least the cost of all of the medical bills, called Hard Costs.

So, for instance, if the cost of the Emergency room, X-rays, MRI's (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and any other related medical costs totaled about $2,500.00 dollars, the settlement should be somewhere in that range.

No-fault insurance states differ from non no-fault insurance states in that in traditional non no-fault states an injured party can go directly to the at-fault party’s insurance company for compensation. In addition to hard costs, an injured party can demand additional compensation for lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and the all important Pain and Suffering.

One other consideration may afford you some peace of mind. In the unfortunate event the pediatrician was wrong, and your daughter’s injuries do manifest themselves at a later time, your daughter should be able to proceed against the insurance company when she becomes an adult. The statute of limitations would toll (or renew) when whe reaches 18 years old.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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