Your child is hurt in a car accident on the way home from school. You were driving when another car ran a red light.

Your first thought, of course, is for your child. You spend the next few days at the hospital, never leaving the room. You're totally focused.

Then things start improving, and your child is expected to recover. You finally have time to sit back and breathe. One of the first things you think about is the cost of this hospital stay. If you want to sue for compensation, how fast do you have to act? You haven't done anything on that front in over a week. Is it too late?

State Laws

It's not too late yet, but it is important to note that there are time limits. These limits apply to most personal injury lawsuits, including the one you're considering on your child's behalf.

These are state laws, though, so they are different depending on where you live. The shortest amount of time you'd have is one year, which is true in Tennessee and Louisiana, though many states allow two or three years. Some, like Maine and North Dakota, give you six years.

18 Years Old

One other thing to note -- and this is crucial -- is that minors may have far longer to file. They often don't have to start counting down the statute of limitations until turning 18 years old.

So, if your child is just 15 years old, he or she may have an additional three years to file that lawsuit. This gives children a chance to consider their situations when they become adults in case their parents don't act properly on their behalf when they're minors.

Your Right to Compensation

Those medical bills are mounting. You have to know what rights you and your child have to compensation to help cover the costs.