When car accidents involve children, they touch a nerve deep within every parent’s heart. Our children’s safety is a non-negotiable priority, and when the unthinkable happens and a car accident injures them, the world suddenly becomes a much scarier place. In New Mexico, personal injury cases involving children require special attention due to the unique legal complexities they present.
Your child’s well-being and future should always be the top priorities, and a skilled attorney can help you secure the necessary medical care and financial compensation to support their recovery. At Dominguez Law, we are skilled in handling personal injury cases stemming from car accidents, including those that involve children.
The Importance of Child Safety in Vehicles
New Mexico, like many other states, has strict laws in place to protect children in vehicles. Here are the key regulations:
- Child safety seats: All children, up to their 7th birthday, are required to use a child safety seat, regardless of their weight. Additionally, any child who is under 60 pounds, regardless of their age, must also be secured in a child safety seat.
- Booster seats for ages 7-12: For children aged 7 to 12, New Mexico law mandates the use of a booster seat until they can be safely restrained by the adult seat belt.
- Rear-facing requirement: All children must remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach at least one year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. The recommendation is to keep children rear-facing for as long as possible, ideally until they reach around 35 pounds.
- Forward-facing child safety seats: Once a child outgrows the rear-facing seat in terms of height or weight, they should transition to a forward-facing child safety seat equipped with a harness. Most models support children up to 40 pounds, though some can accommodate weights of up to 60 pounds or more.
- Booster seat usage: Children should continue to ride in booster seats until the vehicle seat belt fits them properly. Importantly, booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belts and cannot be used with a lap belt alone.
Compliance with these regulations is essential for the safety of your child while traveling in a vehicle.
Child Injury Claims in New Mexico
In New Mexico, personal injury claims for children follow a different process than those for adults. Here is what you should know:
- Parental consent: A child cannot file a lawsuit or consent to a settlement. As a parent or legal guardian, you will act on their behalf and provide the necessary consent for legal proceedings.
- Time limits: New Mexico has a statute of limitations that limits the time within which a personal injury claim can be filed. This time frame is typically three years from the date of the accident, but it is essential to consult with an attorney to ensure you meet all deadlines.
- Insurance coverage: New Mexico law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. However, insurance companies may try to minimize payouts. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate this process and confirm your child receives the compensation they deserve.
- Establishing liability: To pursue a personal injury claim, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent and that their negligence caused the accident and your child’s injuries. This can be a complex process, and legal representation is invaluable in building a strong case.
- Compensation: Compensation may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical costs, and more. An attorney can help you assess the full extent of your child’s injuries and calculate appropriate damages.
When a child is injured in a car accident, it is essential to act swiftly, seeking immediate medical attention and taking the necessary steps to protect their rights. Navigating the legal process in New Mexico can be complex, but having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side is crucial.
Contact an Albuquerque, New Mexico Child Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident
If your child has been injured in a car accident, contact a reputable personal injury lawyer with Dominguez Law in New Mexico to discuss your case. They can provide guidance, build a strong case, and fight for the compensation your child deserves. Our team also speaks Spanish.