Car accidents can cause serious harm to babies and may result in spinal cord injuries and permanent brain damage. However, many injuries can be prevented by using a child safety seat that is properly installed.
Common Types of Injuries Infants Sustain in Car Accidents
When compared to children in other age groups, head injuries are more common in children under the age of one, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analysis of child injuries from motor vehicle accidents released in 2010. Contusions and lacerations were the most common head injuries for all children. However, concussions and unconsciousness were more common with infants than other children.
Infants also had higher incidences of thoracic injuries, specifically rib fractures, than children in other age groups. They are also more at risk of sustaining a spine injury and pelvic fractures.
The risk of incapacitating injuries is higher when an infant isn’t inside a child safety seat. But the type of crash also impacts the likelihood of incapacitating injuries. They occur more often with rollovers.
Long-Term Impact of a Head Injury in a Car Accident
With infants under one year old having higher incidence of concussions and unconsciousness than other age groups, it’s important to consider the long-term impact of a serious head injury. Symptoms of a concussion can be much more difficult to detect in a baby.
However, you can consider the following symptoms as indicators of a head injury fi your child has just been in an accident:
- changes in sleeping patterns;
- restlessness; or
- the infant is inconsolable.
Because of the long-term impact of a serious head injury, it’s critical to carefully track the infant’s development. Unfortunately, it can take years before the impact of a concussion becomes fully evident; sometimes not until the child is in school.
The following are some of the impairments an infant can suffer later after a serious head injury:
- physical – motor coordination, speech, fatigue, vision, seizures, balance;
- cognitive – memory problems, reading, writing, communication, attention; and
- emotional – problems controlling control emotions, mood swings, anxiety and depression.
Importance of Seeking Legal Help after a Baby is Injured in a Car Accident
The future can be uncertain when an infant has suffered serious injury in a crash. Parents may be wondering what legal options are available and if any action they take will be enough to address long-term needs.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim from a motor vehicle accident in Colorado is three years to recover economic losses that cover medical treatment and more. But when an infant suffers injury, the repercussions may not be fully known even then. However, it might be possible to extend this timeframe. Further, a claim for noneconomic losses may be tolled until the child turns 18.
To ensure you file your claims on time and to determine if you can extend the statute of limitations, it’s important to talk with an attorney. In fact, it’s in the best interest of both the infant and the family to learn what to do to protect their rights. Set up an appointment with D.J. Banovitz to go over your questions and for help pursuing fair compensation.