My son was in an auto accident with very minimal minor injuries, canI sue for pain and suffering?

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2011

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My son was in an auto accident with very minimal minor injuries, canI sue for pain and suffering?

He is 5 years old and had whiplash which isn’t severe enough for a chiropractor at least I think. I do not want a lawyer but I did file claim with the at-fault driver. However the insurance company is giving me the runaround. Can I sue for emotional distress, as well as pain and suffering?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Personal Injury, Louisiana


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In order for a personal injury claim to be filed with the other driver's insurance company, you will need to document your son's injury.  He will need to go to a doctor.  When he completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor, obtain his medical bills and medical reports.  The personal injury claim filed with the other driver's insurance company will consist of these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your son's injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills. As for emotional distress, your son would need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist in order to document emotional distress, obtain the medical reports and medical bills when released by the doctor when treatment is completed and include those with the personal injury claim.  If you are talking about an emotional distress claim for yourself because your son was injured, you would need to document it by going to a psychologist or psychiatrist and obtaining the medical bills and medical reports when you are released by the doctor.  Your claim would be separate from your son's claim against the other driver's insurance company.

With regard to your son's claim and if applicable your claim, if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file the lawsuit for negligence against the other driver.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your son because a minor cannot file a lawsuit himself.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is settled with only you or your son but not both, then the lawsuit would only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a plaintiff.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file the lawsuit for negligence against the other driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son and/or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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