An unexpected call from your child’s school sets off your alarm bells. You hear the words every parent dreads: “Your child is hurt. Please come as soon as you can.” As you run for the car and start driving, all you can think about is taking away your child’s pain. You know that once the crisis is over, there will be plenty of time to place blame.
Who Is at Fault in a Child Injury Incident?
Because they are more impulsive and less experienced than the average adult, children are more susceptible to injuries. For example, they may rush to pet an unknown dog with no fear of being bitten. Unfortunately, their fearlessness often leads to injuries.
When it comes to children, adults must act with a reasonable standard of care. People who fail to take normal safety precautions as well as those who harm a child intentionally are liable for any resulting injuries. Liable parties can include:
- Property owners
- Toy manufacturers
- Pet owners
- School officials
- Sports coaches and/or players
- Health care professionals
- Playground equipment manufacturers
- Other parents
Determining liability for your child’s injury is often a complicated matter. Seeking the help of a qualified child injury lawyer is the best course of action once your child is out of danger. An experienced attorney has the necessary knowledge and skill to investigate the incident in question, interview witnesses and build a strong case for compensation.
Differences in the Law for Child Injury Cases
A child injured by the actions or inactions of an adult is entitled to the same types of compensation as a grownup:
- Payment of present and future medical expenses
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for mental trauma
- Payment for loss of future wages due to disability
- Payment of funeral expenses in the case of a wrongful death
However, the law recognizes that injured children are different than adults. For example, a child under 18 cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. Only a parent or legal guardian may do so in the child’s behalf.
The law also differs in the degree of responsibility it assigns to children. A judge in a court action considers whether the child acted in an age-appropriate manner in the injury incident, or if an inappropriate degree of negligence on the child’s part contributed to the injury.
Also, liability law treats a trespassing child differently than a trespassing grownup. For example, if a property owner knows a hazard exists that poses danger to curious children, such as an unfenced swimming pool, the court may consider the owner liable for a child’s resulting injury. In contrast, adults who get hurt while trespassing typically cannot recover damages.
Other factors in California law that apply exclusively to child injury cases include:
- Different statutes of limitations, depending upon the victim’s age and type of injury
- Priority scheduling for court dates for children under 14 years of age
- Requiring a judge’s approval for a child injury settlement
- Requiring the damage award, less repayment for the parents’ out-of-pocket expenses, to be held in trust until the child reaches the age of 18
How a Child Injury Lawyer Can Help
As a parent, you want to ensure that your child receives just compensation for current and future expenses related to the injury, and you expect repayment for your child’s medical bills. Given what is at stake, you need a child injury lawyer in your corner. Call Rizio Law Firm at 888-292-8888 or fill out our contact form to get expert legal assistance. Your initial consultation is free.