Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Construction Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Premises Liability
St. Louis
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Construction Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Dangerous Drugs
Defective Products
Chemical Exposure

Injuries to Children in Car Accidents: Special Considerations

Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

A Guide to Legal Action for Child Passengers Injured in Car Accidents

On this page, we’ll discuss Children in Car Accidents, different types of car accident injuries suffered by children, the importance of car seats for child safety, what to do with a car seat after a car accident, and much more.

Children Are at Risk of Serious Injuries in Car Accidents

Car accidents are traumatic and physically and mentally stressful, but they can be exacerbated with a child involved.

Injuries to Children in Car Accidents Special Considerations

Going through a traumatic car accident could inflict catastrophic physical, emotional, and psychological damage.

The situation is also challenging on the legal front.

Various factors, such as parental liability, medical treatment cost, and insurance coverage extension, can complicate legal action.

Hiring a specialized lawyer with expertise in car accidents involving children could help parents and guardians navigate the intricacies of such cases.

TorHoerman Law can help you understand the legal process and fight for your child’s rights.

Contact us now for a free case consultation.

You can also use our chatbot for a free, instant case review.

Table of Contents

Common Types of Child Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can lead to a variety of injuries in children, ranging from minor bruises to severe trauma.

Understanding these common types of injuries is crucial for effective prevention and management.

Some of the most common car accident injuries in a car crash may include:

  • Whiplash or neck injuries
  • Concussions
  • Fractures
  • Internal injuries
  • Blunt and sharp force trauma
  • And more

Whiplash or Neck Injuries

Whiplash is a common injury in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions.

Whiplash occurs when the head suddenly jerks forward and then backward, straining the neck muscles and ligaments.

In children, whiplash can lead to neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

While it’s often considered a minor injury, severe cases can result in long-term complications such as chronic neck pain and decreased range of motion, affecting the child’s quality of life and physical activities.


Concussions frequently occur in car accidents when a child’s head forcefully strikes an object or when there’s an abrupt jolt causing the brain to hit the skull.

Symptoms of a concussion may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and cognitive difficulties.

Long-term effects of concussions can include cognitive impairments, memory problems, mood disturbances, and increased risk of future concussions.

This injury could impact a child’s academic performance, social interactions, and overall well-being.


Fractures, or broken bones, are common injuries in car accidents due to the force exerted on the body upon impact.

Children are particularly vulnerable to fractures because their fragile bones are still developing and may be more prone to injury.

Depending on the nature of the accident, fractures can occur in various parts of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and spine.

While many fractures heal with proper medical treatment and rehabilitation, severe fractures or those affecting growth plates can lead to long-term complications such as impaired bone growth, joint problems, and chronic pain.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries, such as damage to organs like the spleen, liver, kidneys, or lungs, can occur in car accidents due to blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries from broken glass or sharp objects.

These injuries may not always be immediately apparent and can worsen if left untreated.

Internal bleeding, organ dysfunction, and infection are potential complications of internal injuries, which can be life-threatening if not promptly diagnosed and managed.

Even if treated, internal injuries can have lasting effects on a child’s health, leading to chronic pain, organ dysfunction, and reduced quality of life.

Blunt and Sharp Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma, caused by the impact of the body against hard surfaces within the vehicle or external objects, can result in bruises, lacerations, and contusions.

Sharp force trauma, often from broken glass or debris in the car, can cause cuts, puncture wounds, and deep tissue injuries.

While these injuries may seem less severe than fractures or internal injuries, they can still have significant consequences, including scarring, nerve damage, and psychological trauma.

Children may also develop a fear of driving or experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a car accident, impacting their emotional well-being and mental health.

Other Injuries

Children involved in car accidents may also experience other types of trauma.

Other types include:

  • Soft tissue injuries (sprains, strains, and contusions)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Facial injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chest injuries
  • Head injury

The Long-Term Impact of Car Accident Injuries

Car crash injuries can leave a lasting impact on car accident victims, particularly children.

Car accidents can inflict a range of injuries on children.

From a simple soft tissue injury to a fatal car accident injury (i.e., traumatic brain injury), car accident injuries can negatively impact a child’s development and quality of life.

On a physical note, these injuries could impair a child’s motor skills.

Spinal cord injuries could lead to paralysis, which could cause long-term partial or complete paralysis, depending on the accident’s severity.

Car accidents could also cause mental and emotional damage.

Car crash survivors often develop trauma associated with cars or driving a car.

This form of injury could result in lengthy therapy sessions.

Keeping Your Child Safe in the Car

Ensuring the safety of children in the car is a top priority for parents and caregivers.

Implementing proper safety measures, including installing age-appropriate car seats, transitioning to booster seats, ensuring snug-fitting seat belts, and enabling child safety door locks, significantly reduces the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

Install Age-Appropriate Car Seats

Installing age-appropriate car seats is fundamental in protecting children during car journeys.

It’s crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines and local regulations regarding weight, height, and age limits for each type of car seat.

Rear-facing car seats are recommended for infants and young toddlers, as they provide optimal support for their developing neck and spine.

As children grow, they should transition to forward-facing car seats with harnesses.

Switch to Booster Seats

Transitioning to booster seats is the next step as children outgrow their forward-facing car seats.

Booster seats elevate children to the correct height, allowing the seat belt to fit appropriately across their chest and lap, reducing the risk of injury in a crash.

Parents should ensure booster seats are used until their child meets the recommended height and weight requirements for adult seat belt use.

Keep Their Seatbelts Snug-Fit

Once children have outgrown booster seats and are using adult seat belts, it’s crucial to ensure that the seat belts fit them properly.

Regularly check the fit of seat belts as children grow to ensure ongoing safety.

The lap belt should lay on the child’s upper thighs and not constrict their stomach.

The shoulder belt should cross the chest and shoulder, not the neck or face.

Most manufactured seat belts are adjustable, so make sure to change the length of their seat belts for a snug fit.

Enable Child Safety Door Locks

Activating child safety door locks prevents children from accidentally opening car doors while the vehicle is in motion.

This auto-lock feature helps prevent falls, ejections, or other accidents.

Parents should activate child safety locks on all rear doors to prevent children from opening them from the inside.

It’s also essential to remind children not to play with door handles and to exit the vehicle only when it’s safely stopped and supervised.

What To Do With a Car Seat After an Accident

What should you do with a car seat after an accident?

In most cases, throwing it away is the answer.

Car seats are expensive, and throwing them away after a minor car accident can be impractical.

Some points to help you decide include:

  • Inspect the Car Seat for Damage: Look for cracks, dents, bends, or other structural damage to the frame, shell, or base of the car seat. Check the harness straps, buckles, and adjusters for signs of stress, fraying, or damage.
  • Check With Car Seat Manufacturers: Refer to the car seat’s instruction manual or contact the car seat manufacturer directly for guidance on whether to replace the car seat after a crash.
    • Many manufacturers have specific criteria for replacing car seats after a crash, and they may offer replacement programs or discounts for crash-involved seats.
  • Follow Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with local regulations and legal requirements regarding replacing car seats after crashes.
    • Some jurisdictions have laws mandating the replacement of car seats after certain types of crashes or impact severities.

Challenges in a Car Accident Involving a Child

Car accidents involving children present unique legal challenges for families, which could further complicate the case.

Child Safety Seats and Seat Belt Laws

In many jurisdictions, there are laws regulating the use of child safety seats or booster seats for children of certain ages, heights, and weights.

Parents must comply with these laws to ensure the safety of their children while traveling in a vehicle.

Failure to use appropriate child safety seats or seat belts may result in legal penalties, fines, or citations.

Establishing Liability

Determining liability in a car accident involving a child can be complex.

Liability may fall on one or more parties, including drivers, vehicle manufacturers, road authorities, or other negligent parties.

Factors such as speeding, distracted driving, intoxication, or failure to obey traffic laws may contribute to establishing liability.

Extension of Insurance Coverage

Families involved in car accidents may rely on insurance coverage to address medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.

Insurance policies typically include provisions for coverage of medical costs and liability for injuries or damages caused by the insured party.

Families should review their insurance policies to understand the extent of coverage and any applicable limitations, exclusions, or deductibles.

Potential Criminal Charges

In cases involving severe injury or death of a child in a car accident, there may be potential criminal charges against the responsible party.

Criminal charges could include offenses such as vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or child endangerment.

Families may need to navigate both civil and criminal legal proceedings simultaneously, requiring legal representation to protect their rights and interests.

How Car Accident Claims Differ When a Child Is Involved

As shown above, car accidents involving a child present different legal challenges and considerations than regular car accidents.

General differences between normal car accidents and those with a child include:

  • Assessment of Damages: Children may require extensive long-term care and rehabilitation following a car accident, especially if they suffer from severe injuries or disabilities.
    • Damages for future medical expenses, ongoing therapy, assistive devices, and adaptive equipment must be carefully calculated to ensure the child receives adequate support for recovery and well-being.
  • Emotional Impact: Children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of car accidents due to their age, developmental stage, and limited coping mechanisms.
  • Guardian Ad Litem: In personal injury claims involving children, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interests.
    • The guardian ad litem is a legal advocate for the child, ensuring their rights are protected and that any settlement or judgment obtained in the case is fair and equitable.
  • Liability to the Parents: In some cases, parents may be held liable for injuries sustained by their child in a car accident, mainly if their negligence or failure to ensure the child’s safety contributed to the accident or exacerbation of injuries.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorney

Selecting the appropriate car accident attorney is crucial, especially when handling cases involving child injuries.

The attorney’s expertise can navigate complexities, protect the child’s rights, and secure essential compensation for medical expenses, recovery, and long-term support.

Navigating the Complexities of the Case

It’s worth reiterating that car accident cases involving child injuries are often intricate due to factors like liability determination, assessment of damages, and legal procedures involving minors.

A seasoned attorney understands these complexities and can navigate them efficiently, ensuring the case progresses smoothly.

Ensuring That the Child’s Rights Are Protected

Children require special protection in legal proceedings, and a knowledgeable attorney ensures their rights are safeguarded throughout the process.

Lawyers work with parents and the child to protect their rights and compensation.

Securing Adequate Compensation

An experienced car accident attorney understands the full extent of damages that may arise from a child’s injuries, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, emotional trauma, and long-term care needs.

They leverage their expertise to build a strong case for maximum compensation, ensuring the child receives the financial support necessary for their recovery and well-being.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiating with an insurance company and other opposing parties can be challenging, especially when advocating for a child’s rights.

An experienced car accident attorney possesses astute negotiation skills honed through years of experience.

The attorney can effectively negotiate settlements that reflect the true value of the child’s injuries and future needs without compromising their rights or well-being.

Resources and Network

Experienced car accident attorneys have access to a vast network of resources, including medical experts, investigators, and child development and rehabilitation specialists.

They leverage these resources to strengthen the case, gather evidence, and provide comprehensive support to the child and their family throughout the legal proceedings.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident If You’re With a Child?

After a car accident involving a child, parents or caregivers should take specific steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the child, as well as protect their legal interests.

Steps to take after a car accident involving a child include:

  • Ensure Immediate Safety: Move to a safe location away from traffic, if possible. Check yourself and the child for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
  • Assess the Child’s Condition: Check the child for any visible injuries or signs of distress. Keep them calm and reassure them that help is on the way.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Get their names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy details.
  • Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant landmarks or signage. You could also document any visible injuries the child or other passengers sustained.
  • Notify Authorities: If the law requires, notify the police or relevant law enforcement agency about the accident. Cooperate with law enforcement officers and provide them with accurate information about the accident.
  • Contact Legal Representation: Consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney specializing in children’s cases. An attorney can help protect your legal rights, navigate insurance claims, and seek compensation for the child’s injuries and damages.

TorHoerman Law: Protect Your Children’s Legal Rights With Competent Representation

Car accidents often result in long-term injuries.

In children, these injuries could cost them a huge portion of their childhood or their entire lives.

We understand the severity of this situation, and we know that no amount of money could ever compensate for the pain and suffering experienced by parents.

We can help you get justice for the injuries and hard times you and your child are going through.

At TorHoerman Law, we have a team of experienced attorneys dedicated to handling car accident cases involving children.

Contact us now or use our chatbot for an instant case review.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the most common injuries children sustain in car accidents?

    In car accidents, children can sustain various injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.

    Facial injuries and internal damage to organs are also serious concerns due to the impact and collision forces.

  • How do car seats protect children during accidents?

    Car seats are designed to provide crash protection specific to children’s physiques, reducing the risk of severe injuries.

    They work by securing the child firmly and distributing crash forces across the strongest parts of the body, such as the back and pelvis, while minimizing movement during an accident.

  • What should be done with a car seat after an accident?

    After an accident, it’s crucial to replace the car seat if the crash was moderate or severe to ensure it retains its protective capacity.

    Consulting the car seat manufacturer’s guidelines or contacting them directly can provide specific advice on whether a replacement is necessary.

  • How does a child's age impact their injury risk in car accidents?

    The age and size of a child significantly impact the types of injuries they might sustain.

    Younger children, particularly infants and toddlers in rear-facing seats, are typically better protected from severe injuries but may still suffer from soft tissue injuries or whiplash.

    Older children using booster seats are more exposed to injuries from seat belts and airbags.

  • What legal steps should be taken if a child is injured in a car accident?

    Parents should seek immediate medical attention for their child to document all injuries sustained, which is vital for any insurance claims or legal actions.

    Consulting a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents involving children can help ensure that all potential compensation for medical expenses, future costs, and emotional distress is pursued.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

Do You
Have A Case?

Here, at TorHoerman Law, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

Since 2009, we have successfully collected over $4 Billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals.

Would you like our help?

About TorHoerman Law

At TorHoerman Law, we believe that if we continue to focus on the people that we represent, and continue to be true to the people that we are – justice will always be served.

Do you believe you’re entitled to compensation?

Use our Instant Case Evaluator to find out in as little as 60 seconds!

$20 Million
Toxic Tort Injury

In this case, we were able to successfully recover $20 Million for our client after they suffered a Toxic Tort Injury due to chemical exposure.

$103.8 Million
COX-2 Inhibitors Injury

In this case, we were able to successfully recover $103.8 Million for our client after they suffered a COX-2 Inhibitors Injury.

$4 Million
Traumatic Brain Injury

In this case, we were able to successfully recover $4 Million for our client after they suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury while at daycare.

$2.8 Million
Defective Heart Device

In this case, we were able to successfully recover $2.8 Million for our client after they suffered an injury due to a Defective Heart Device.

Guides & Resources
Do You
Have A Case?

Here, at TorHoerman Law, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

Since 2009, we have successfully collected over $4 Billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals.

Would you like our help?


Related Guides

What Our Clients Have To Say