My Child Was in a Car Accident!
What Should I do?
This is a tough subject…
As the father of seven, one of the worst calls I can get is from one of our teens, our college student, or my wife saying that any one of them was in an accident. My wife was rear-ended a few years ago, and she was fortunate to make a complete recovery. As valuable as her doctors and physical therapy team were, her attorneys were arguably as valuable; they helped her receive and pay for the best medical care available. They also made sure that the defense insurance and our insurance lived up to the commitment we believed we and the defendant driver had been paying for (through our premiums) over the past 30 years or so.
But I know the numbers, so I understand that the odds are I will get at least one more call like this before the kids are all (knock on wood) healthfully and happily on their merry way in the world. While all my family is dear, the thought of one of the little guys being in the car during a rear-end or T-bone accident scares me most of all. We have been fortunate to date, but many of our clients at Batta|Fulkerson Law Group are involved in accidents while driving their kids. Most of these clients are like me; most of the time, they are driving a car with one or more little souls strapped in behind them.
Fortunately, kids are resilient, and often heal quickly and completely. For that I am grateful. But because kids are also fragile, our legal system protects little guys and gals who are injured due to the negligence of others. In California, this protection comes in the form of the Minor’s Compromise. While most attorneys see a bright line at $5,000 (any award under $5,000 arguably does not require court approval), many insurance companies require a Minor’s Compromise in order to pay on a claim involving a minor. The reason is simple: A minor can bring a claim two years from her 18th birthday, even if she was injured in an accident when she was an infant. Insurance companies don’t seem to like loose ends, so many of them insist on a Minor’s Compromise regardless of the claim payment amount in order to tie a ribbon on the claim. Without a Minor’s Compromise, that ribbon could be undone twenty years down the road.