If my 13 year old son was hit by a car this summer, what steps do I need to take now?

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If my 13 year old son was hit by a car this summer, what steps do I need to take now?

My son was hit by a car this summer. The auto insurance company of the person who hit my son is now seeking payment from me for the damages to their car. They believe we are partially responsible because it was at night and he had dark colored clothing and no helmet. We have also incurredmedical bills of about 5k after my medical insurance paid their 80% portion. What steps do I need to take now? Should i speak with a personal injury attorney? In Burlington County, NJ.

Asked on November 13, 2011 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, definitely speak with a personal injury attorney right away. In theory, even the victim of a car accident *could* be liable for the damage he causes the other vehicle, if he was at fault--but this typically applies to two-car collisions, where one driver is mostly at fault, but the other is not blameless. It is very rare to try to recover from a pedestrian, bike rider, or skateboarder, etc. who is injured by being hit by a car, and this may  be an attempt to put you on the defensive to keep you from suing their client, rather than a legitimate claim. An attorney can help you address this.

Moreover, even if your medical insuranc paid 80% of your son's costs, if the driver was at fault (e.g. careless, negligent, driving too fast, on handset phone while driving, drunk, etc.), you could potentially sue him for:

1) All out of pocket (unreimbursed) medical costs, both to date and projeted future;

2)  Lost wages (if you or  your spouse has had to take time out from work)

3) Your son's pain and suffering, if he he suffered long last severe injury, or long last disability.

4) Other out of pocket costs (have you had to take cabs to a hospital? hire an aide or  nurse? hire a tutor, if you son missed school? etc.).

5) Even property damage (e.g. was your son on a bike--and if so, what happened to it?).

In short, you could have failure significant claims--at least $5k, from what  you write--and you should discuss these with a personal injury attorney.


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