Average Car Accident Settlement for a Child in Florida

Trusted Content

Legally reviewed by:

Erik Abrahamson, J.D. September 28, 2021

As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child suffer from an injury, especially if it could’ve been prevented. After a car accident involving a child, many parents wonder what it takes to pursue compensation from the party responsible. During your research, you may be wondering what the average settlement is for a child in a car accident. Here is information you need to know about personal injury cases involving a child and how the attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help.

child in car accident

Why There Is No Average Child Car Accident Settlement

When it comes to calculating an average settlement for any personal injury case, it’s nearly impossible to determine an average. There are several reasons why online calculators are misleading. 

First, personal injury settlements often remain confidential. This means that even if someone calculated the average of all publicly available settlement amounts, it would be extremely inaccurate. Second, each case is completely unique. The average settlement for a crash involving minor injuries doesn’t necessarily reflect the potential settlement of a claim with life-altering injuries. Finally, some states have limits on the amount of damages you may collect. As a result, the highest potential settlement in one state may not reflect the potential settlement in another.

Damages in a Car Accident Settlement for a Child

A car accident settlement for a child depends on the types of damages sustained in the crash. In Florida, there are three types of damages available for an injured child: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Here is a breakdown of the different damage types.

Economic Damages

These damages refer to any economic losses associated with the accident. To qualify as an economic loss, the damage must be tangible and calculable. For car accident cases involving children, this usually comes in the form of healthcare costs, including:

  • Emergency services,
  • Doctor’s office visits,
  • Surgical procedures,
  • Follow-up treatments,
  • Rehabilitation, 
  • Medication,
  • Therapy, and
  • Imaging.

It’s important to note that this also includes any future medical treatment needed for the injuries. For example, if a child becomes disabled due to the injury, ongoing care and future accessibility needs may be added.

Non-Economic Damages

General or non-economic damages include any losses that aren’t calculable or tangible. A good example of this is the pain and suffering the child may go through as a result of their injuries. Here are some other examples of non-economic damages:

  • Permanent disfigurement,
  • Loss of quality of life,
  • Loss of enjoyment,
  • Chronic physical pain,
  • Emotional anguish,
  • Psychological pain, and
  • Permanent disability.

Since non-economic damages are subjective, it’s nearly impossible to calculate an average. There are numerous factors that go into determining non-economic damages. This may include the family’s circumstances and the child’s health history. Every jury interprets these facts in a different way, so non-economic damages vary widely between cases.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases, courts may award punitive damages to the plaintiff if the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for exceptionally irresponsible behavior.

According to FS 768.72(a), intentional misconduct “means that the defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness.” In addition, they must have intentionally pursued the action that led to injury despite knowing the risk. Gross negligence occurs when the defendant had an “indifference to the life, safety, or rights” of the plaintiff. 

While most cases don’t include punitive damages, it’s possible that the court or jury may award them depending on the circumstances.

Special Laws Regarding Personal Injury Claims for Children in Florida

In the state of Florida, minors may not file a personal injury claim under their own name. Instead, the parent or legal guardian of the child must file the claim on their behalf. The court has its own approval process to make sure that the claim is for the benefit of the child and not the parents.

For example, under FS 744.387(3) if the legal guardian of a child files a lawsuit on their behalf, the court must approve the settlement amount and terms. In addition, the parent may only settle the claim if it does not exceed $15,000. In cases where the settlement exceeds this amount, the court usually appoints a guardian to protect the settlement amount and distribute it to the child when they reach the age of 18.

There are a few situations in which a parent or legal guardian may recover compensation for their own losses resulting from their child’s injury. If the child sustains a significant injury that results in permanent disability, their parents may file a filial consortium claim. Florida is one of the few states to recognize this type of claim. According to FS 768.0415, any person who negligently causes a significant permanent injury to a child is liable for damages to the parents. This includes permanent loss of services, companionship, comfort, and society.

How to Secure Evidence

One of the most important aspects of your case is evidence. In Florida, a car accident settlement for a child usually depends on the evidence showing the defendant’s negligence. Here are some steps you can take to collect the evidence you need after the accident.

1. Photograph or Take Video of the Scene

If it’s safe to do so, try to take pictures at the scene of the crash. This includes any vehicle damage, injuries, and road conditions. Make sure to also include any photos of tire marks as well to assist with accident reconstruction. These details serve as important evidence in your case. 

2. Collect Copies of Medical Records

When you get treatment for your child’s injuries, try to get copies of their record of treatment. Many insurance companies try to minimize or deny a claim if the claimant doesn’t immediately seek medical attention. If possible, ask the doctor to include statements about the severity of your child’s condition and whether it requires further care.

3. Ask Witnesses to Provide a Statement

If your accident occurs during the day on a busy road, chances are there may be witnesses. If you can, ask any potential witnesses for their contact information. Their statements may help bolster your claim, especially if it coincides with other evidence.

Was Your Child Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us Today

If the negligence of another caused your child’s injuries in a car accident, you don’t have to fight alone. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we know how terrifying it is to see your child go through a serious injury. Our goal is to passionately advocate for you and your family so you don’t have to worry about the legal process. 

The car accident attorneys at our firm have decades of experience representing over 20,000 clients. No matter what questions you may have, we are here to help 24/7. To schedule a free consultation, give us a call or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout Florida from our offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Brandon, and surrounding communities.