Children are uniquely vulnerable to personal injuries. Not only are their bodies smaller and less able to withstand trauma and shock, but they may also not understand the risks that they take with certain behaviors. Injury is actually the leading cause of death among children. Accident injuries to their child are a parent’s worst nightmare fulfilled.
The United States has among the worst child injury fatality rates in the developed world. Preventable injuries and deaths occur every day. For every child who dies in an accident, hundreds more suffer injury. These accidents can cause lasting injuries that can damage a child for the rest of their lives, all because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If this happened to you or your child here in Zephyrhills, call Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers right away. We’ve won millions of dollars in damages for people just like you.
We can talk to you about the accident and investigate to see if you have a good legal claim for compensation. If you decide to hire us we can work to recover the money your child needs for medical and other treatments as well as pain and suffering.
Children Are in a Uniquely Vulnerable Position
Children can suffer an injury at any part of their daily lives. Every year, about 12,000 children younger than 19 die of unintentional injuries. Countless more are injured and require hospitalization and medical treatment.
What is worse is that they often can't control their circumstances. This includes the cars in which they travel and even the toys that they play with every day.
It is bad enough when someone else’s negligence harms a parent. It is even more upsetting when carelessness and negligence hurt your child. Not only do parents incur a large number of expenses to treat their child’s injury, but they also want justice for what someone else did.
The personal injury legal system allows them to receive compensation. While that does not undo the harm to a child, it can at least help the family deal with the financial ramifications of the injury.
Ways That Children Can Suffer Injury in Their Daily Lives
Here are some common ways that children can suffer personal injury:
- As a passenger in a car accident
- As a passenger in a school bus accident
- When they are out riding their bicycle
- From the toys that they play with every day
- Drowning in swimming pool accident
- Playground accidents
- As a pedestrian crossing the street
- In slip and fall accidents
- At amusement parks
Falls are one of the most common causes of accidental death among children. Children’s bodies are less developed than adults, and a fall may more severely harm them. These can happen on playgrounds or even just walking down the street. Younger children are the most at risk. The most common cause of child fatalities is motor vehicle crashes. Children’s bodies are even more likely to suffer serious injury from the impact of an auto accident.
Where Children Suffer Injuries
Children can be injured anywhere. Common locations for injuries include friends’ homes and school. If your child was at another child’s home, their parents have an obligation to supervise the children. They must also provide safe premises for the children. Play accidents can be the fault of the parents, even when another child has injured your child.
Children are also injured often in daycare when providers do not exercise the appropriate amount of care. Daycare providers must maintain insurance, and this will cover injuries that children suffer when the provider is at fault for the injury. While there is not a higher duty of care for children, the expectations about what the provider should have done depend on the circumstances.
How You Can Receive Financial Compensation For An Injury to Your Child
Legally, you would need to prove that someone else was responsible for your child’s injuries before you could be in a position to receive financial compensation. This requires that you demonstrate that someone else was negligent. The facts of each case will determine what constitutes negligence. Everything depends on the facts and what you can prove.
Specifically, you must prove:
- Duty of Care - the defendant owed your child a duty to act with reasonable care
- Breach of Duty - the defendant breached that duty by acting unreasonably under the circumstances
- Injury - your child suffered an injury
- Causation - your child would not have been injured had it not been for the actions of the other party
The Outcome of Your Claim or Lawsuit Depends on Unique Facts
What is reasonable depends entirely on the circumstances. There are times when others have a heightened obligation when a child is involved. Most people do not expect children to have the judgment necessary to avoid accidents. For example, there is an even higher duty of care for property owners in premises liability cases when something on their property is an attractive nuisance for children.
In addition, courts may be less likely to find that the child contributed to their own accident. In some cases, plaintiffs cannot collect when they were negligent themselves. A court would be less likely to find a child accident victim responsible for their own injury. Few people expect children to use the same level of judgment and caution as adults. If the defendant tries to argue otherwise, an attorney can fight back.
How The Insurance Company Can Make Your Life Much More Difficult
However, one thing that you may need to contend with is an insurance company that may try to argue that a caregiver poorly supervised the child. They will try anything that they can to avoid paying the claim. They know that child injury claims could have higher damage awards because of the severity of the injury, and they may stop at nothing to find a way to deny the claim. This is why you need a lawyer to fight for you.
How An Attorney Can Help Your Child Personal Injury Case
An attorney in your case can:
- Investigate the accident to learn what really happened
- Gather evidence that could help prove your side of the story
- Handle the communications with the insurance company
- Calculate the value of damages
- Prepare and present the claim to the insurance company
- Negotiate a possible settlement with the insurance company
The insurance company seemingly does not care that it was a child who was hurt. They look at a child injury the same way as they do every other claim, as a way to save money by paying less than the amount to which the family is legally entitled. They are uninterested in the fact that a family is suffering hardship and is struggling to care for their child.
You Are Fighting For Your Child’s Future
When you file a claim for an injury to your child, you have an extra obligation to get the money that you deserve. The child cannot negotiate a settlement agreement with an insurance company. This is money that your child may need as an adult if they suffer from the long-term effects of their injury. You need to think of the longer horizon when you are dealing with a child’s injury. While you may need money now to care for the child, you must also think of their future.
Valuing a child’s injury claim is not always easy. You need an experienced attorney to think of all of the possible contingencies. You will only get one chance to obtain the compensation that you can. If you settle the claim, you will need to sign a release agreement, keeping your child from receiving any more compensation in the future. This is not a decision that they can make, but they are certainly affected the most by it.
How To Value Your Child’s Injury Claim
Your attorney can help value your case. This is not something that the average family can do on their own.
Your lawyer can work with these experts to come up with an appropriate estimate of damages:
- A life care planner when the child needs medical and home care for a lifetime
- A vocational expert who could predict what the child could earn in a lifetime
- An education expert, if any type of special education is necessary
- An economic expert who can predict future inflation in both general prices and healthcare.
When you are dealing with child injuries, there is a long future to consider. You have little way of knowing what may be in the future, both with your child and the cost of care. This is why you need to be as precise as possible in the face of uncertainty. This is what we do at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers.
Damages That You Can Recover
You are legally entitled to:
- All of the medical care that the child has needed and will need in the future
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages that the child could have earned in the future and that family members have also suffered by having to take off work to care for their injured child
- Any special education that may be necessary
- Home health care and other attendants necessary to help the child
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages if you lost your child in the accident
While we have focused on the insurance company and how they may handle the claim, this is not the only way that you can obtain financial compensation on behalf of the child. You are under no obligation to try to resolve the case by presenting a claim. While many families find it in their best interests to at least explore a settlement, they always have the option of filing a lawsuit. This does not keep you from settling the case before you reach that point.
In fact, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit at some point in the process. If the insurance company denies the claim or is being unreasonable in settlement negotiations, it is often in your best interest to do this. An insurance company is a rational business. They know that being in front of a jury with a case filed on behalf of an injured child is not the best place for them.
What Happens With the Settlement Money?
You may be wondering what happens to the proceeds of a settlement in a child personal injury case. This is something that you need to think about now. Of course, you need some of the money now to pay for the child’s treatment and education. However, you may need a part of the settlement after the child becomes an adult.
This money is put into an account for the child’s use after they turn 18. Without some planning and forethought, the child may go to the bank and withdraw all of the money and not spend it responsibly.
An Attorney Can Help With A Structured Settlement
This is why families need to think now about a structured settlement. This will control how the money is disbursed to the child when necessary. A structured settlement could give them monthly payments or allow them to receive a certain percentage of the money at once. The time to establish the structured settlement is now, so it is here to protect your child in the future.
Zephyrhills Child Injury Lawyers
If your child has suffered an injury in an accident, you need legal help now to protect their rights. People and companies are more than willing to take from your child and their future. An attorney can stand up for your child and fight for the maximum amount of compensation to help them, both now and in the future. This is not a phone call that you should delay.
Contact the attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers online, or call us at (813) 489-6485 for your free initial consultation. We can help you through a difficult time by handling the details of your case or claim.