Statistics have repeatedly demonstrated that car accidents are a leading cause of death to children. While certain safety measures can reduce the risk and severity of injuries, the fact remains that no safety technology can prevent all car accident injuries. After any car accident, Cleveland injury victims have the right to be compensated for their injuries and losses by the person who is legally responsible for causing the accident.
The Concerning Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are responsible for 1 in every 4 unintentional deaths in children under the age of 13. The World Health Organization reports that traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in persons between ages 10 and 19.
How can such fatal injuries be prevented? One of the most important safety measures a parent can take is the use of an appropriate car or booster seat which is properly fit to the child’s size and weight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued guidelines for appropriately-sized car and booster seats. Even when a child is old enough and large enough to graduate out of a booster seat, it is important to continue using safety measures within the vehicle. Children under 12 should always ride in the back seat. Seat belts should lie across the upper thighs, and fall snugly across the shoulders and chest. Seat belts which fall on the stomach, neck, or face cannot adequately restrain a child in the event of a collision
What Happens After a Car Accident
The insurance companies of the involved drivers conduct an investigation to determine if their driver was responsible for the accident (and if so, to what extent). The claims adjuster will then offer compensation to the victim an amount determined by the insurance company. For example, if the adjuster determines that the driver was 40 percent at fault for the accident, a 40 percent settlement of the injury victim’s total loss will be offered.
In dealing with an insurance company, the most common areas of dispute are; (1) whether the driver is responsible for causing the accident, and (2) agreeing on the value of injuries and financial losses.
When the injured party is a child, the value of damages can be even more difficult to ascertain. For example, lost wages can be easily calculated by multiplying the number of work hours missed times the employee’s hourly wage. But how can you calculate the value of missed school days to a child? What if a parent has to tutor a child during recovery? The amount of time absent from education could represent a dollar value to the parent and/or child. The other driver's insurance company should be responsible for compensating the victim.
Most problematic in valuing a child’s personal injury claim is the measurement of pain and suffering. This is usually the largest monetary component of a personal injury award. Adults’ pain and suffering can usually be demonstrated by such things as pain medications, physical therapy, chiropractic sessions, etc. But many forms of treatment can't be used on young children. Yet the child still experiences pain - even if a very young child is not yet speaking, and thus cannot describe his or her pain. Furthermore, children are physically resilient, and better able to recover from injuries than adults. This, too, affects the value of a personal injury claim.
An experienced Cleveland auto accident attorney will ensure that injury victims receive full and fair compensation for their losses. They will also hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions, in order to make the roads of Ohio safer for everyone.