Fortunately, there are many resources available to those injured children in California who have suffered injuries and disability as the result of someone’s negligence. These available resources exist at the local, state, and federal level. Also, there may be resources available through private insurance, depending on the type of insurance coverage that exists, and also on the factual circumstances giving rise to the child’s injuries—every injury case is unique. This chapter is not intended to be an exhaustive list of examples, and parents are advised to do their own research on the specific needs of their injured child. However, this chapter should give you, as a parent, a good overview and insight into some of the more common resources available to children who have sustained traumatic injuries.

Private Insurance Coverage for your Child’s California Injury

There is a difference between what is called third-party insurance coverage, and first-party insurance coverage. A third-party insurance company is the carrier for the at-fault party (hence the term third party) or the person or institution alleged to have negligently caused the injury. Some people mistakenly believe that the third-party insurance carrier will automatically volunteer and pay the injured child’s medical charges because they are incurred by the child. In reality, that rarely happens.

If there is adequate evidence to show that the insured person was legally at fault for the incident giving rise to the child’s injury, then the third-party carrier will usually only pay one time to settlement for the entire claim at one specified time. Usually, any settlement should be resisted until the full extent of the child’s injuries is known, which is why it is important to treat the child first and then learn about his or her injuries. This rationale exists because the value of an injury is dependent on multiple factors, including the nature and severity of the injuries incurred (documented by ICD-9 codes), the duration, frequency, and intensity of medical care, the time it takes for recovery, the need for any and all future treatment, and whether the injuries are permanent to any particular body part. In my injury law practice, I utilize the American Medical Association 5th Edition guidelines to help prove any permanent impairment to any particular body part. Also, read my book The 10 Secrets You Need to Know About Your Injury Case Before You Call A Lawyer, available for free on my website, www.blanelaw.com. Yet the answers to those questions regarding your child’s specific injuries may take many months or even years to provide, depending on the extent of injuries.

A first-party insurance company is one that is contractually obligated to provide policy benefits (medical or otherwise) to its insured or family members of the insured. One good example of a first-party insurer is the parents’ private health insurance carrier. Most parents already know that they can submit medical bills through a private health insurance policy that one or both parents may have through their respective employers. Another good example is California Medical Pay insurance on your personal automobile liability policy.
Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer