When a minor child is injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by careless driving of another individual, the natural instinct of a parent to protect will kick into high gear. There are several steps a parent can take to ensure that the child is afforded the best possible medical care, and legal representation. It is important to treat the injuries, and document them throughout the course of treatment and recovery. As a personal injury attorney, I offer the following tips for preparation of a legal claim:
- Immediately obtain proper medical treatment. Contact your pediatrician or proceed to an urgent care center or hospital if necessary. It is important to document the injuries early on and report them to a physician. At a minimum, notify your regular physician about the collision, injuries and symptoms over the phone until an office visit can be scheduled.
- Take time-stamped photos of visible injuries of the child, including lacerations, bleeding, bruising, swelling, deformities and scars. Repeat photos at different stages of recovery. Photograph orthopedic appliances like splints, canes, braces, crutches, casts and bandages.
- Maintain a journal of symptoms that the child experiences and identify how everyday daily activities are affected. List dates on which the child misses time from school, extracurricular activities, team sports and work. Describe accommodations that are made for school, work and play. Record dates of medical treatment and physician contact information.
- Keep a file of medical bills and receipts. The law provides for a “pecking order” regarding the payment of medical expenses. They may be covered by motor vehicle insurance, health insurance, an employer, and/or government entity. Contact counsel to determine the responsible payer.
- Do not post photos or comments on social media about the collision and condition of your child. They do not always present a complete picture of the circumstances and can be misconstrued by the responsible driver during litigation.
As the spring season begins, please stay safe on the roadways.
Miriam Newman, Esquire