October 8, 2020 | Personal Injury
One of a parent’s worst nightmares is their child being injured. The first priority is to obtain medical care for the child and provide emotional support. However, it is also important to protect a child’s legal rights.
Children injured in an accident can sustain life-threatening and permanent injuries. When a negligent party causes those injuries, the child is entitled to compensation for injuries and damages. However, a child does not have the legal right to file a personal injury claim.
Parents can file a personal injury claim on behalf of their children. However, personal injury cases involving a minor are a little different from personal injury cases for adults.
Common Types of Accidents That Injure Children
A child can sustain injuries in many different ways. Common accidents involving children include, but are not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accident
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Pedestrian accidents
- Swimming pool accidents, playground accidents, and other premises liability accidents
- School accidents
- Defective toys, defective furniture, and other defective products
If you suspect that your child’s injury was the result of negligence or other wrongdoing, talking with a personal injury lawyer is wise. An attorney can review the case and advise you of your child’s legal rights.
What Damages are Available in a Childhood Injury Case?
Children injured in an accident have the right to receive compensation for all damages and injuries, just like an adult. They can receive economic damages and damages for pain and suffering.
Common damages included in a childhood injury claim are:
- Costs of medical care and treatment
- Mental trauma and emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of future wages and benefits caused by a disability or impairment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- The cost of modifying a home for a disability
- Cost of future medical and personal care
The value of a personal injury claim depends on several factors.
Parents never want to settle a child’s personal injury claim until after the child completes medical treatment. You cannot know the severity of your child’s injury or the potential for future damages until the child’s doctor releases him or her from medical care.
Childhood Injuries Can Cause Future Problems
When a child sustains a brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury, or other injuries, there could be catastrophic consequences. A childhood injury could result in cognitive or developmental impairments. A child might need to see one or more medical experts to determine the extent of future damages.
A personal injury lawyer who handles childhood injury claims can help you locate experts who can evaluate your child’s injuries. An attorney can also retain experts who can provide detailed estimates of how much future medical and personal care may cost, as well as the projected loss of income.
Who Receives the Money From a Child’s Personal Injury Settlement?
When you file a personal injury claim on behalf of your child, the money recovered is held in trust until your child reaches 18 years of age. The court must approve the settlement to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interest. A judge might also issue specific orders about how the settlement is structured and what types of accounts must be used to hold the funds for the child.
A child injury lawyer understands the laws related to settlements for children. They understand the steps for obtaining court approval for settlements and can help you set up accounts to hold the funds until your child reaches 18 years of age.
What Should You Do if Your Child Is Injured?
If your child is injured in an accident, seek immediate medical assistance for your child. Your child’s injuries must be documented for a personal injury claim. You also want to make sure that your child receives the best medical care to help him or her recover from the injuries.
Report the accident as soon as possible. Call 911 to report car accidents immediately when they occur. If a dog injures your child, notify the dog owner and animal control. For injuries that occur on another person’s property, report the injury to the property owner.
Keep detailed records and copies of all documents you receive regarding the accident or your child’s injuries. When your child’s condition stabilizes, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your child’s case. Contact an attorney before discussing the claim with an insurance company or other party is generally in your child’s best interest.
Do not delay in contacting a personal injury lawyer. Statutes of limitations apply in childhood injury cases. You want to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect your child’s right to receive fair compensation for their injuries and suffering.