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Car Accident Claim Brought for Child Injured In Serious Crash
Nothing is worse than a car accident injury to a young child. Our firm is often contacted by parents who are seeking to recover for injuries suffered by their son or daughter. In those circumstances, the parents are acting as guardians of the minors and selecting the attorneys to represent those minors’ best interests.
We are always honored when a parent entrusts us with the handling of their child’s case. To be clear, the claim and compensation belong to the child. However, the relationship is often formed between the attorney and the parent. The parent is the one who is taking control for the child and making decisions in the child’s best interest. Of course, the attorney is as well.
The parent is the one who is taking control for the child and making decisions in the child’s best interest.
One such case we were recently selected to handle is for an eight-year-old girl. She was involved in a high-impact car accident and suffered serious oral injuries. Those injuries are permanent and she will be dealing with them for the rest of her life.
Details About the High Impact Car Accident
On April 30, 2023, at approximately 5:30 PM, our minor client was a passenger in a vehicle traveling Northbound on 75th Avenue in Glendale. Another driver was traveling on the opposite side of the street in the other direction. The other driver attempted a left turn into a parking lot across the Northbound lanes on 75th Avenue. When he did so, Northbound traffic was not clear.
This caused a major impact collision. The vehicle our client was riding in could not anticipate the at-fault driver’s illegal turn. As a result, he did not have time to brake or stop his vehicle. The front of his vehicle slammed into the passenger side of the at-fault driver’s car. This was at approximately 45-50 miles per hour.
This caused significant damage to both vehicles. Airbags deployed in both vehicles. There was considerable cabin penetration to both vehicles. The occupants of both vehicles were injured.
The client was seated in the back middle passenger seat with her seatbelt buckled. She was not expecting the impact and was unable to brace for it. When the impact occurred, she was thrust forward and her chin and lower jaw smashed into the middle console in front of her.
What Happened After the Car Accident
Emergency responders arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after. Traffic was stopped and diverted. Firefighters, paramedics and police all reported to the scene. Several of the individuals involved were transported to the hospital by ambulance.
The client’s mother was called to the scene. She found her daughter with injuries and in distress. The client’s mother immediately took her to the emergency room.
Medical Treatment Received after the Car Accident
At the Emergency Department a physical evaluation was performed and it was noted that the client had no memory of the events. The medical treater concluded that the client likely sustained a direct blow to her face and chin. Due to the blow to her chin, the client had lost her first right molar on her right lower jaw. Her front bottom teeth were also loosened.
The medical treater noted soft tissue swelling and a laceration on the client’s gumline due to penetration of the left incisor into the lower aspect of her jawline. The medical treater also noted an abrasion to the chin and swelling. Due to the severity of the client’s symptoms, the medical treater ordered a maxillofacial CT scan.
The client was diagnosed with the following:
- Contusion of jaw S00.83XA
- Laceration of mouth S01.512A
- Loose teeth K08.89
- Jaw pain R68.84
The client was admitted to the hospital overnight due to the extent of her injuries. Upon discharge, she was advised to follow-up with a dental professional as soon as possible. She was also instructed to take over the counter medication to control her pain.
The Permanent Oral and Dental Injuries
The next day, the client presented to her dentist with lower jaw trauma. She was placed on a soft food diet. Two days later, she was evaluated by a medical doctor who noted that she suffered broken teeth and was unable to fully open her mouth. She also presented with bruising on her chin and facial abrasions. She was instructed to follow up with an endodontist.
Two weeks later she met with an endodontist who performed a Cone Beam CT scan of her jaw. He noted that the client had five bottom teeth that were displaced and loose. This was attributed to the impact causing her teeth to be push backward and causing corresponding bone loss in her jaw. She was then referred to an oral maxillofacial surgeon.
Four days later, the client met with the oral surgeon. He concluded that the teeth could not be moved back into place due to the amount of time that had passed. He opined that the teeth would likely be lost and would need replacement with implants and prosthetic teeth. However, such a procedure was not advisable until her jaw was finished growing which would be sometime after she reached the age of 18. In the short term, the oral surgeon splinted the teeth and recommended root canals. The client continues to treat for her injuries.
The Client’s Oral Injuries are Permanent
The client will be dealing with the injuries for the rest of her life. Dental implants carry an increased risk of infection later on in life as the gum line and facial bones are disrupted. The client is also now at an increased risk for developing gum recession and nerve damage. A prosthetic tooth can often become cracked, chipped or weathered and require painful treatment to restore them.
The client will be dealing with the injuries for the rest of her life.
Future Dental Treatment will Be Required
A prosthetic tooth on average lasts 12 years before needing to be replaced. As a result, the client can expect to have each of her prosthetic teeth replaced at least 4-5 times in her expected approximately 63 years of remaining life after she turns the age of 18.
In addition, the implants will be compromised as the posts are likely to require replacements at some point over the client’s remaining years of life. Posts can become loose due to bone loss as one ages. The client has already experienced bone loss as a result of the car crash. This is likely to exacerbate her natural bone loss as she ages. When the bone loss is significant, bone grafting is required to hold the implants in place. It is likely that the client will require one to two post replacements per tooth during the 63 years of life she is expected to live after she turns 18 years old and receives the initial implants.
The surgical procedures for an implant and prosthetic tooth are with significant risk. They are performed under anesthesia which could result in complications and even death. Moreover, they are burdensome and the recovery is painful and disruptive. It is a multi-step process which involves the placing of the implant into the bone, with subsequent capping and torque tests procedures. Finally, the prosthetic tooth must then be inserted. This may require significant reworking to make sure there is no malocclusion and a proper bite is achieved.
These procedures are also expensive. The surgery to place an implant currently runs between $3,500-$4,500. The current costs of a prosthetic tooth and installation currently is $3,000-$4,000. These costs will only increase in the future.
Multiple Injured Individuals with Claims Against the Same Policy
There were multiple individuals riding in the vehicle that the client was in. All of those individuals suffered some type of injury. Each of those individuals is asserting a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
When multiple individuals are advancing injury claims against a single insurance policy, the payment of benefits is often delayed. The usual process involves assessing the injury claims of everyone advancing a claim. Those claims are then valued. If there is not enough insurance coverage available, the available amount is pro-rated between the individuals based upon the assessed value of their claim.
How Pro-rating Multiple Claims Against a Limited Insurance Policy Works
Here is an example of how this works in practice. Assume three individuals are injured in a car accident. The insurance company receives all the information it needs to value the claims. The insurance company values the claims as follows without accounting for the amount of insurance money available:
- Injured Individual #1 – $100,000
- Injured Individual #2 – $50,000
- Injured Individual #3 – $50,000
The total of all three claims is $200,000. Injured Individual #1’s claim is valued at 50% of that total ($100,000/$200,000). Individuals #2 and #3 are valued at 25% of that total ($50,000/$200,000). These amounts are then prorated based upon the available insurance policy amount.
If the total insurance policy limit available was $50,000, then Injured Individual #1 would receive 50% of it which is $25,000. Injured Individuals #2 and #3 would receive 25% of it which is $12,500 each.
Since this process cannot be performed until each individual has submitted all claim information, all individuals must wait until every other claimant has finished their medical treatment and provided their claim information to the insurance company.
Contact an Experienced Scottsdale Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a serious injury accident, contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers today. We have experience representing both adults and children in a variety of injury cases. Our extensive experience allows us to achieve maximum results. This includes both understanding the medical and legal aspects of a case.
We only earn a fee if we obtain a recovery. A consultation is free. An attorney will discuss your case and provide his opinion and advice during the initial consultation.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Previously Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.