As an attorney, I can represent you and your child. This is bound to be a complicated situation, so here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions:
Should I go to the accident scene after a crash?
Yes, as an attorney I recommend that you do so. Your child may first need your help in receiving important medical care, and your child will likely take comfort in having you there to help with a situation that would otherwise be overwhelming. The other driver, the police, and the medical professionals will all have to be dealt with, so having you there will be important.
What are my rights as a parent?
This is a good question. If your child is driving but less than eighteen years of age, you are actually his or her legal representative. This means that it is up to you to determine what medical care the child receives, what happens with the insurance company, and what happens legally. Essentially, you have the same rights in representing your child that you would if it had been you getting into an accident. Remember that and support them by handling the complicated matters surrounding the case.
Should I have my child go to the ER?
Yes. It is wise to have your child examined as things like internal bleeding and head injuries are not always obvious. Also, the shock of an accident may make it difficult to tell how badly hurt someone actually is as pain may not be felt until the next day in some cases. As an attorney, I advise my clients during a consultation to continue receiving medical care until they are certain that the recovery is complete. This is always important, but it is even more so for a child.
Will I need to call the police?
The police should be called so that an officer can come to the scene and complete an accident report. Depending on the circumstances, they may also launch an investigation, but this typically only occurs with drunk driving or serious accidents. If you can be there to help your child interact with the police, things are likely to go more smoothly since dealing with officers can be very intimidating for children.
What do I need to do with the insurance company?
Most of the time, teens are on their parents' insurance policy and may have even been driving their parents’ car. You will need to call the insurance company and file an accident claim. They will then give you a claim number to use for any medical billing and other expenses. Your insurance company will begin paying for medical care, but it will still need to be determined who was to blame for the accident. If the other driver was at fault, his or her insurance company will have to take over paying for expenses associated with the accident.
Can I sue on behalf of my child?
Certainly. As a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, I recommend that you do. The injuries that your child sustained may impact them now and in the future. It is important that your child receives the financial compensation necessary to pay for any resulting expenses. Since individuals under the age of eighteen cannot sue on their own, you will need to be the one to retain an attorney and agree to any settlement offers. To discuss this further along with your role as a parent, call my office and schedule a consultation.