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Delaware Car Accident Law: A Child’s Legal Rights to Medical Bill Coverage (PIP Benefits)

Children are often injured in auto accidents in Delaware. In fact, children and minors account for roughly 15% of auto accident injuries each year. In 2017, children and minors (age 18 and under) accounted for 1,379 injuries in Delaware car accidents (including car, truck, pedestrian and bike accidents). In 2018, that number decreased by about 1,000, to 1,285. *Delaware State Police Annual Traffic Statistical Reports, 2018 and 2017 (released Sept. 2019)

Parents or guardians whose child or minor is injured in a Delaware car accident often want to know how their child’s medical bills will be paid. The article below is provided by our Delaware car accident lawyers. The legal info and examples discussed only apply to car accidents in Delaware involving car insurance policies issued in Delaware. The examples below do not apply to accidents involving out of state vehicles.

Child Car Accident Injuries – PIP Benefits for Medical Bills

car crash heavy damageDelaware’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law applies to every car insurance policy issued in this state. It provides a minimum amount of coverage for medical bills, lost wages and related expenses in the event of an auto accident. Delaware law requires a minimum of $25,000 per person (max of $50,000 per accident). Delaware is a no-fault state which means that PIP benefits are made without regard to fault. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the individual making the PIP benefit claim caused the accident.

Related: Making a DE PIP Claim for Medical Bills After a Car Accident – What to Know

In Delaware, PIP eligibility differs depending on the type of accident. As a general rule, PIP claims are made under car insurance policies involved in the accident.

Child Injured as Passenger

In Delaware, children injured as passengers will typically make a PIP claim under the car insurance policy covering the car they were riding in. In the most common instance, a child injured in an accident while in their parent’s car would be eligible for PIP benefits under their parent’s policy, i.e., the policy covering the car involved in the accident. Read more about PIP eligibility in Delaware car accident cases.

What happens if the child is riding in a car driven by a friend/neighbor/non-parent relative? In that case, the child would be eligible for PIP benefits for medical bills under the policy covering the car.

These same principles apply to older children who drive their own cars, a parent’s car or a car belonging to someone else, like a friend. For example, a 16 year old is driving their friend’s car and is involved in an auto accident in Wilmington. The minor/driver would be eligible for PIP benefits under their friend’s auto policy.

Child Injured as Pedestrian or Bike Rider

When a child is injured as a pedestrian or while riding a bike, the above principles still apply. An injured child would be eligible for PIP benefits under the policy covering the car that hit them. For example, a child is hit by a car while crossing the street in Rehoboth Beach. The child would be eligible for PIP benefits under the policy covering the striking vehicle.

What happens if the car the child is riding in or hit by isn’t covered by any car insurance policy? Let’s say the owner of the car forgot to renew their car insurance policy, or the driver of the striking vehicle in a pedestrian accident took off from the scene of the accident. In either case, the child would be eligible for PIP benefits under a parent’s policy, i.e., as the family member of a named insured.

Delaware Car Accident Injury Lawyer – Offices in Wilmington, Dover & Newark

For a free consultation, please call our law office at (302) 658-1717. Our car accident lawyers have over 40 years of experience handling bicycle, pedestrian and truck accident cases.

*Disclaimer: This website page does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in Delaware. Any discussion of results is no guarantee of the same or similar results in current or future cases.

*Use of the contact form on this website or emailing one of our lawyers does not create any attorney-client relationship. In addition, confidential information should not be sent through the contact form.

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