As a parent, your primary concern is protecting your children. Car accidents in Florida are one of the biggest threats. Child safety seats help reduce the risks, but serious personal injuries can still happen. At Zimmet & Zimmet, you can count on us to provide the caring support and professional legal representation you need in the event that your child is injured in a Florida car accident. Our experienced Daytona Beach car accident attorneys explain what to do and how to seek compensation if your child is injured.
Florida child car seat laws
Car accidents are a leading cause of serious, potentially life-threatening personal injuries among children. Child safety seats reduce the risks and the state has strict laws regarding their use. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) advises that the type of child safety restraint required is based on age:
- Children newborn to 12 months are required to be in a crash-tested, federally-approved, rear-facing car seat;
- Children between the ages of one and three are required to be in an approved forward-facing car seat;
- Children between the ages of four and five are required to use a booster seat;
- Children five and over are required to use lap belts and shoulder harnesses.
Keep in mind that these child safety seat requirements are specific to the state of Florida. Federal recommendations are generally more strict. For example, full car seats are recommended until the age of six while booster seats are encouraged until the child turns 12.
Troubling statistics on children injured or killed due to car accidents in Florida
Even when using child safety seats, children can still suffer serious injuries in car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes and collisions claim the lives of nearly 900 children across the country each year.
Statistics regarding children and car accidents in Florida are equally troubling. Reports by the FLHSMV show close to 200 children are killed or left incapacitated each year while more than 4,000 others suffer serious injuries, despite safety seats. Among the most common and serious types of car accident injuries among children include:
- Burn injuries, which are painful, disfiguring, and otherwise life-threatening;
- Crushing injuries, resulting in damage to limbs and internal organs;
- Spinal cord injuries, causing partial or complete paralysis;
- Traumatic brain injuries, resulting in physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments.
How does a child car accident settlement work?
Car accidents in Daytona Beach are often due to the recklessness of other drivers involved. When children suffer serious personal injuries as a result, their loved ones can seek compensation in a claim. Our Daytona Beach car accident attorneys can aggressively negotiate with insurance representatives involved, with the goal of getting the maximum settlement. When coverage fails to cover anticipated costs, we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit.
Generally, you have up to four years after the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit under the Florida Statute Of Limitations. However, legal action cannot be initiated by a minor, which is any person younger than 18. To protect the rights of children, the law contains two important provisions:
- The statute of limitations is extended until they are of age;
- The law allows the naming of a ‘next friend’, generally the parent or legal guardian of the child, to file a claim on their behalf.
In any type of car accident claim involving children, any final settlements must be approved by the court.
How are child car accident settlement funds distributed?
A child car accident settlement can involve significant amounts of money. Common types of compensation in these claims include:
- Coverage of current treatment costs and any future medical care the child is likely to require;
- Reimbursement for the parent’s lost wages and any future losses in earnings the child is likely to suffer due to long term disabilities;
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of companionship or enjoyment in life the family experiences as a result of the child’s injuries;
- Punitive damages, which is an additional amount our lawyers can push for if the at-fault driver was grossly negligent. Examples include driving with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) level or at high rates of speed.
The parent’s portion of a settlement may be distributed immediately but the child generally has to wait until they are 18. They can then opt to receive it in one lump sum or through a structured settlement, with periodic distributions to cover medical costs and other expenses.
Was your child injured in a Florida car accident? Reach out to Zimmet & Zimmet today
If your child was injured in a Florida car accident, speak with Zimmet & Zimmet today. Our lawyers have over 40 years of experience providing aggressive legal representation and compassionate support to local families in car accident claims. When it comes to protecting your children, our Daytona Beach car accident lawyers will do everything possible to make things right. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.