For a parent, few moments are more stressful and upsetting than learning their child has been involved in a car accident. Simply figuring out how to proceed is difficult. What do you do for your child first? How do you handle the legalities? Who is responsible for paying for your child’s medical bills?
Here are some steps you can take in those stressful moments to ensure your child gets appropriate care and you protect your rights to receive compensation due for your child’s injuries.
Step One: Seek Medical Care
When your child has been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, the first priority is securing appropriate medical care, even if you don’t think your child has been seriously injured. Motor vehicle accidents can cause a range of injuries from whiplash to traumatic brain injury—and in some cases, symptoms may not show up immediately. Often, someone will have called 911 at the accident scene and your child will already have been checked out by a first responder (and perhaps even transported to a hospital). If that has not happened, however, take your child to an urgent care clinic or a hospital emergency department as soon as possible after the accident to be checked out. Even minor bumps and bruises may be a sign of more significant injury.
Taking your child for medical care as soon as possible is also one of the most effective ways to preserve evidence that may later become important for recovering compensation for your child’s injuries.
Step Two: Collect Evidence
If your child’s medical condition is stable enough, and you can respond to the accident quickly enough, it can be helpful for you to collect evidence at the scene of the accident. Important evidence can include:
- Taking pictures of the accident site and your child’s injuries as well as any damage to the vehicle or other items. Consider the situation. If your child was riding their bicycle when they were hit, for example, you may want to include pictures of the bicycle; if they were riding in another vehicle, you’ll need to take pictures of that vehicle.
- Collecting information from the drivers involved, including contact information, insurance information, and any other relevant data. When one of the drivers works for Lyft, you may also want to collect information from that driver’s passenger(s), if any, since they may later be witnesses to the facts of the accident.
- Collecting the contact information of any other witnesses at the scene, particularly those that had a good view of the accident.
Summon the police to the scene of the accident immediately, especially if there is serious injury or substantial property damage. The police will put together a report, interview witnesses, and help ensure that your child gets the medical care they need. It’s not your responsibility to collect witness statements at the scene of the accident. That will be taken care of by the police. You can, however, make sure that you have copies of relevant information from the scene of the accident.
After the accident, continue to gather evidence concerning the accident, which may include:
- The police report
- Documentation of any medical visits associated with injuries from the accident
- Pictures of your child’s injuries as they heal
- Any information reported by the doctor concerning your child’s injuries
- Documentation of lost work time due to taking your child to medical appointments or caring for your child in the aftermath of the accident
Step Three: Contact a Lawyer
If your child has been injured in an accident involving a Lyft driver, contact a lawyer with experience representing victims of ridesharing accidents. A skilled Lyft accident lawyer can help you:
- Deal with the insurance companies involved. In Florida, which is (for now) a “no-fault” insurance state, your own “personal injury protection” (PIP) insurance, if you carry it, may be the primary insurance for your child’s medical costs and other expenses. Keep in mind that if your own PIP insurance covers your child’s injuries, under Florida law you must seek medical attention for those injuries within 14 days of the accident or risk losing coverage altogether.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the insurance Lyft drivers must carry under Florida law may also be available to pay for a significant portion of your and your child’s costs and damages. There may be limitations on when and whether you can recover against this insurance, however. An experienced Lyft accident lawyer can advise you about which insurance coverages may be available to compensate you, and how to go about filing a claim with them. A lawyer can also take over interactions and negotiations with insurance claim adjusters, relieving you of that stressful burden so you can focus on your child’s recovery.
- Understand how to proceed against other parties. Your own or Lyft’s insurance coverages may not be the only sources of potential compensation for your child’s injuries. Other parties may potentially bear legal liability as well, such as the manufacturer of the Lyft driver’s car, or a non-Lyft driver. An experienced rideshare accident attorney can investigate the particular facts of your child’s accident and advise you about whether and how to pursue other potentially responsible parties (and their insurers) for compensation.
- Learn how to proceed with other items concerning your case. What can you post on social media about your child’s accident? How should you respond to inquiries from the press? An experienced Lyft accident lawyer can help answer these questions and guide you in a manner that protects your rights.
Don’t Wait: Get the Help Your Child Deserves
In the aftermath of a Lyft accident, you want to be sure that your child receives all the help and compensation they’re due for their pain and suffering and the medical bills associated with their injuries. Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Contact us online or at (305) 964-8806 to schedule a free consultation about how we may be able to help.