There are few things more frightening than being in an accident with children in your car. Not only is there the violence and noise of the initial crash, but you may also have air bags exploding and filling the car's interior with a thick "smoke"-like cloud. While adults can typically understand and mentally process what has happened in an automobile accident, children may have a much harder time doing so. In addition, it can be difficult to understand the extent of a child's or baby's injuries, especially if they are non-verbal. And, unfortunately, a child's injuries could end up lasting them their entire life or even be life-threatening. That is why it is so important to take the following steps.
After the Accident
The first thing you should do after an accident -- if possible -- is move your vehicle to safety. Once you are out of harm's way, you should:
- Check on your children. If you can't get them out of your vehicle to a safe location, make sure that they keep their seat belts on or remain in their car seats.
- Call 911. Even if the accident appears minor, it is in your best interest to report the incident. You may need a police report later on if you file a lawsuit.
- Take your children to see their doctors even if you can't see any signs of injury. This is especially important if your passengers included a baby or small children who cannot express their pain in words to you.
- Watch your children over the next few days. If they are injured, it may take some time for them to experience or to exhibit symptoms. According to Nolo, endorphins produced by your child's body immediately after the accident can hide any pain that they may be experiencing.
- Look for signs of concussion. Your child does not have to actually strike their head on an object to suffer a concussion. This type of head injury can also be the result of sudden deceleration such as what can occur in a violent car accident.
- Be aware that a car accident can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some children. Car accidents can be very traumatic so it's important to listen to what your child is saying in the days, weeks and months after the accident. If they are having numerous nightmares about the accident, having trouble forgetting about the incident or are much more stressed out after the collision than they were before it occurred, then you may want to consider taking your child to see psychiatrist or a child psychologist.
Call an Attorney
If your child has suffered an injury, you should contact an auto accident attorney who could help you receive a settlement for any medical costs that your child has incurred. An experienced attorney could also help you:
- To recover payment for any pain and suffering that your child may have or will experience, as well as for any lasting conditions that may have resulted from the collision. A good attorney will not just help you recover payment for the actual bills you have incurred, but also for problems that your doctors suspect your child may suffer in the future.
- Find doctors that can work with you if you don't have insurance. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident even if you don't have insurance. Why? Because the attorney for the defendant's insurance companies will use this information against you either at trial or during settlement. They may try to claim that your child was not really injured because you waited to seek treatment.
Hopefully, you and your children will be fine after a car accident, but it is always smart to be prepared just in case you discover that they have been injured.