By Mel Chaudhary
Lawyer – Simpson, Thomas & Associates
When a child is hurt in a motor vehicle accident, parents are faced with a lot of extra responsibility. Caring for a seriously injured child takes a big financial and emotional toll. Already overwhelmed parents are surprised by how long it takes to settle their child’s ICBC claim.Infants’ ICBC claims take longer to settle because there are special considerations for injured children. Here is what parents should know.
Different Time Limits Apply to an Infant’s ICBC Claim
The general rule is that an adult has two years from the date of the accident to start a personal injury lawsuit. If the person is under the age of majority (19) at the time of the accident, the running of the two-year limitation period is postponed. That means aninfant must file their lawsuit before their 21st birthday, or within 2 years of the accident, whichever is later. That being said, there may be good reasons to start the child’s ICBC claim right away, even if settlement does not occur until after the child reaches the age of majority.
It Takes Time to Know the Full Nature and Extent of a Child’s Injuries
Children often have difficulty communicating how they are feeling, especially young children. This is a particular concern when it comes to detecting concussions and brain injury in children. Impairments might not become apparent until the child is older and takes on new challenges at school, in sports or recreational activities, etc.
A Seriously Injured Child Needs Time to Recover
Long-term outcomes for children’s injuries are more difficult to predict because children’s brains and bodies are still developing. Will injuries be permanent? What will maximum recovery look like? Have all treatment options been explored? Until injuries have settled and long-term effects are known, it is unwise to attempt to settle.
Proving a Child’s Damages Can Be Challenging
There are many unknowns when a child is seriously injured. For example, consider a child whose ability to work is impacted by the injuries. Compensation for this loss of future earnings may be significant, as a child has their entire working life ahead of them. But how is the loss valued if the child had not yet started work or even chosen a career? It takes time to gather evidence to substantiate a child’s damages.
Safeguards Ensure Children Are Treated Fairly But Lengthen The Process
Children are vulnerable and must rely on others to protect their rights and interests. Because of that, special rules apply to infant ICBC claims. For example, the Public Guardian and Trustee (“PG&T”) must approve all settlements in personal injury or wrongful death claims involving infants. If the settlement exceeds $50,000 the BC Supreme Court must approve the settlement. These extra steps take more time.
Get Help with Your Child’s ICBC Claim
It takes longer to settle an infant’s ICBC claim. These types of claims are complex. Guidance from a dedicated personal injury lawyer can make the process easier. We at Simpson, Thomas & Associatesare knowledgeable in this area and serve clients throughout the Lower Mainland and the rest of BC. Please contact us at (604) 689-8888 to book a free legal consultation and visit us on www.simpsonthomas.com to learn more and advance your child’s ICBC claim.