How to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim for Your Child

May 2, 2024 | Personal Injury

Is there anything more terrifying than your child getting hurt? When accidents happen, it’s not just the physical wounds that need healing; the emotional and financial strain can be overwhelming. If your child has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to pursue a child injury claim. In the following article, we’ll help you understand how to navigate this complex process to secure the compensation and justice your child deserves.

Understanding Child Injury Claims

A child injury claim is a legal process where a parent or guardian seeks compensation on behalf of their child who has been injured due to another’s negligence. These claims can arise from various situations, such as car accidents, injuries at school, medical malpractice, or accidents on public or private property. Unlike adult personal injury claims, a child injury claim involves additional considerations, like long-term impacts on the child’s health and development, and they often require a guardian to represent the child’s interests legally.

Steps to Take After Your Child’s Injury

When your child is injured, the steps you take immediately afterward can be critical in building a strong child injury claim. Here’s what you should do:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your child’s health is the priority. Immediate and thorough medical treatment not only supports your child’s recovery but also provides medical records that serve as evidence for your claim.
  • Document the Incident: As soon as possible, document the incident in detail, including where, when, and how the injury occurred. If possible, take photographs of the injury and the location where it happened.
  • Gather Witness Information: Collect the names and contact details of anyone who witnessed the incident. Their statements could be vital in establishing what happened and proving negligence.
  • Preserve Evidence: Keep any physical evidence related to the incident, such as torn clothing or a defective product that caused the injury.
  • Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: Speak with a lawyer who specializes in child injury claims. They can guide you through the legal process, making sure that your child’s rights are protected throughout.

Determining Liability

Determining who is legally responsible for your child’s injury is a crucial component of the claim process. Liability depends on proving that the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional harm. In child injury cases, multiple parties can be held liable. 

For example, in the case of a car accident, the driver at fault can be responsible. If the injury occurs due to a defective product, the manufacturer might be held accountable. In cases of school injuries, the school or staff could be liable if it is found that they did not provide a safe environment. Proving liability requires demonstrating that the party had a duty of care toward your child, that they breached this duty, and that the breach directly caused the injury.

Navigating the Legal Process

Navigating the legal process for a child injury claim involves several key steps that differ from adult personal injury cases. First, you must file a claim before your child reaches the age of majority, after which they may have a limited time to file on their own. The process typically starts with your attorney sending a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company, outlining the details of the incident and the damages being claimed.

Your attorney will handle the complexities of legal proceedings, including filing the lawsuit in court if necessary. Throughout the process, they will manage negotiations with the insurance company to reach a settlement that adequately compensates for the injuries. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome based on the evidence presented.

Special Considerations for Child Injury Claims

Child injury claims require special consideration due to the nature of dealing with minors. These considerations include:

  • Legal Representation: Minors cannot legally represent themselves. A parent or legal guardian must act on the child’s behalf throughout the legal process.
  • Assessing Long-Term Impact: Children’s bodies are still developing, and injuries can have long-term or permanent effects on their health and growth. It’s crucial to consider future medical needs, including surgeries, therapies, and any necessary accommodations for their education and daily life.
  • Court Approvals: Settlements in child injury cases often need court approval to ensure that they are in the child’s best interest. This typically involves a hearing where the judge reviews the terms of the settlement to assess if they adequately cover the child’s needs.

Maximizing Compensation for Your Child

Maximizing compensation in a child injury claim involves ensuring that all current and future aspects of the injury are accounted for. This includes:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation should cover all medical treatment related to the injury, including emergency care, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any ongoing or future medical expenses.
  • Pain and Suffering: Children may not always communicate or fully understand their pain or emotional distress. It’s important to consider both the physical pain and the psychological impact when seeking compensation.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: If the injury affects the child’s ability to enjoy daily activities or hobbies they once engaged in, compensation for loss of quality of life can be sought.
  • Future Earnings: In severe cases, an injury might impact the child’s future ability to work. Compensation for potential future earnings may be considered.

An experienced child injury lawyer will work with medical professionals and economists to accurately estimate these costs and ensure that the compensation reflects the full extent of the impact on the child’s life.

Ensuring Justice for Your Child

Ultimately, pursuing a child injury claim is not just about collecting compensation; it’s about seeking justice for your child and holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions. It’s about confirming that your child’s future is safeguarded and that they receive the necessary support to overcome the challenges posed by their injuries. By understanding the legal process, considering the special aspects of child injury claims, and striving to maximize the compensation, you can play a crucial role in securing a fair outcome for your child.

If your child has been injured and you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Greaney Scudder Law Firm. Serving all of Puget Sound, our experienced team is here to advocate for your child’s rights and help you through the legal process. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.

What actions to take when a child is injured?

If a child is injured, immediately seek medical attention to assess and document their injuries. Next, gather evidence from the scene of the accident, including photos and witness contacts. Consult a lawyer who specializes in child injury cases to understand your legal options and any necessary steps to protect your child’s rights.

Can I claim compensation for my child?

Yes, you can claim compensation for your child if they have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The claim typically covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, and potentially long-term care needs. It’s advisable to work with an attorney who can help navigate the complexities of filing a claim on behalf of a minor.

How much compensation do you get for personal injury?

Compensation for personal injury varies based on the severity of the injuries, the impact on the victim’s life, medical costs, lost wages, and future needs. Pain and suffering are also considered. The final amount can vary widely, as each case is unique and subject to the specifics of the injury and the laws in your jurisdiction.

What do you have to prove in a personal injury claim?

In a personal injury claim, you must prove that the defendant was negligent, that this negligence caused the injury, and that the injury resulted in losses or damages. Evidence may include medical records, witness testimony, expert opinions, and documentation of financial losses due to the injury.