Child injury claims are unique in many ways, which is why it is so important to work with a skilled personal injury attorney. At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to obtain justice when they are harmed by negligence. Our attorneys have helped numerous families protect their rights and obtain compensation in cases involving accidents, defective products, and more.
Below, we provide information for parents and guardians about child injury claims and how to get help. As always, you can contact us directly for more information.
What Makes Child Injury Claims Unique?
Child injury claims are unique in a number of ways. Here are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind:
- Children are not legally competent to file a lawsuit on their own. This means that a parent or legal guardian must file the claim on the child’s behalf.
- The statute of limitations for child injury claims is often longer than for adult claims. This means that you have more time to file a claim after your child is injured.
- The damages that a child can recover in a personal injury claim are different than those that an adult can recover. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, children can also recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of future earnings.
- Children are more vulnerable to injury than adults. This is because they are smaller, less experienced, and less able to protect themselves.
- The long-term effects of a child’s injury can be significant. This includes physical and emotional problems, as well as educational and economic setbacks.
It is important for child injury claims to be handled by an attorney who understands the unique nature of these cases.
What are Some Common Causes of Child Injury Claims?
There are many causes of child injury claims ranging from accidents to certain types of products to animal-related injuries. Some of the most common causes of child injury claims that we see include:
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15. Children are more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident than adults because they are smaller and less able to protect themselves.
Falls are another leading cause of child injury. Children are often more active than adults and they are more likely to take risks, which can lead to falls. Falls can cause a variety of injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children under the age of 5. Children should never be left unattended near water, even if they know how to swim. Drowning is often preventable, such as by installing a fence or cover, and ensuring that children always have supervision near water.
Fires and Burns
Fires and burns can cause serious injuries, including burns, smoke inhalation, and even death. Children should be taught about fire safety and they should never play with fire.
Dog bites are a leading cause of injury for children. Children should be taught to be respectful of animals and to avoid approaching strange animals.
Defective Children’s Products
Toys and other products can be dangerous if they are not properly designed or manufactured. Children have been injured by toys that have sharp edges, small parts that can be choking hazards, and other dangerous features.
Medical malpractice can cause serious injuries to children, including brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and birth defects.
If your child has been injured due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a child injury claim. Our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options and can fight for the compensation your child deserves.
What is the Process for Filing a Child Injury Claim?
Every injury case is unique and will vary somewhat based on the injury, applicable laws, and the complexity of the case. There are, however, some general processes that most injury claims will move through, such as:
- Investigation and Evidence Gathering: The attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury, gather evidence, and determine liability. This may involve collecting medical records, witness statements, photographs, and any other relevant documentation.
- Assessing Damages: The attorney will evaluate the full extent of the child’s injuries, including medical expenses, future medical needs, pain and suffering, and any other applicable damages.
- Filing the Claim: Once the attorney has gathered sufficient evidence, they will prepare and file a personal injury claim on behalf of the child. This typically involves submitting a complaint or lawsuit to the appropriate court or insurance company, depending on the circumstances.
- Negotiation or Litigation: The defendant or their insurance company may enter into negotiations with the attorney to reach a settlement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to litigation, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
- Approval of the Settlement: In many cases involving a child’s personal injury claim, court approval of the settlement is required to ensure that it is fair and in the child’s best interests. The court will assess the terms of the settlement and make a determination.
It is important to remember that every case is different and may require an individualized approach to resolution. The goal of a personal injury attorney is to find the best means of resolving your legal matter successfully.
Who Can File a Claim on Behalf of a Child?
In most cases, a child’s parent or legal guardian can file a personal injury claim on behalf of their child. This is because children under the age of 18 are not considered to be legally competent to file a lawsuit on their own.
The parent or legal guardian who files the claim is known as the “next friend.” The next friend is responsible for representing the child’s interests in the legal process. This includes gathering evidence, negotiating a settlement, and, if necessary, going to trial.
If the child’s injuries are serious and the settlement amount is large, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the child’s interests. The guardian ad litem is an independent person who is appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests.
The parent or legal guardian who files the claim is entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and legal fees. The child is also entitled to be compensated for their injuries, including pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Compensation Available After a Child Injury
After a child sustains an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, various types of compensation may be available to cover the damages and losses. The specific types of compensation can vary depending on the circumstances of the case, but some common types of compensation sought in child injury cases include:
- Medical Expenses: This includes reimbursement for past and future medical expenses related to the child’s injury, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, medication, surgeries, therapy, rehabilitation, and any necessary assistive devices or modifications to the home.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation may be awarded to address the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced by the child as a result of the injury. This can include both the immediate impact and any ongoing or long-term effects.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the child’s injury significantly impairs their ability to participate in activities they previously enjoyed, compensation may be sought to address this loss of quality of life.
- Disability and Impairment: If the child sustains a long-term or permanent disability or impairment due to the injury, compensation may be awarded to account for the impact on their daily life, future opportunities, and potential earning capacity.
- Educational Expenses: If the child’s injury affects their ability to attend school or requires special educational accommodations, compensation may be sought to cover educational expenses and support services.
It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in child injury cases to understand the specific types of compensation available in your jurisdiction and how they may apply to your child’s situation. They can help evaluate the damages and losses incurred and seek appropriate compensation on behalf of the child.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
Watching a child suffer for any reason is difficult for parents, guardians, and loved ones. But knowing that the injury was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions amplifies the tragedy and emotion. During such a difficult time, it can be very helpful to have an attorney on your side to help protect your rights and pursue justice for your child.
If your child is suffering from an injury like those we discuss above, Kherkher Garcia wants to help. Our personal injury lawyers are highly-rated for their compassion and tenacious pursuit of justice and compensation. Find out how we can help you by calling 713-333-1030 for a free consultation.