Can I Sue If My Child Is Injured In An Accident?
An injured child is every parent’s worst nightmare. An entirely preventable injury is even worse. These may include slip and falls, drownings, burns, poisonings, suffocation, dog attacks, product malfunctions, and motor vehicle accidents.
Each year, these mostly preventable accidents cause more than 9.2 million emergency room visits and over 12,000 deaths among children under 19, according to the CDC. For children under four years of age, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death. Motor vehicle collisions represent the leading cause of death of children ages 5-19.
If your child has suffered an unintentional injury arising from the negligence of another party, New York State allows parents to seek compensation on behalf of their child. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London for a free consultation to learn more.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child
Since children are too young to seek legal representation, they need the help of a parent or legal guardian to file the lawsuit in their stead. Even while a child is still recovering from an injury, the demand for medical bill payments, physical therapy, and other expenses can be overwhelming. Chronic conditions and permanent disabilities could result in a need for lifelong care.
It is also possible for the child to pursue a claim on their own behalf upon turning 18, as the state’s three-year filing deadline begins upon a child’s 18th birthday. This tolling of the statute of limitations is helpful in cases where improper healing has occurred, causing lasting complications. In most cases, a timely resolution– while the evidence is still fresh– will be preferred. Your family deserves justice sooner rather than later. Negligent parties must be held accountable for their actions or inaction to prevent harm from befalling others.
What Damages Can Be Sought in a Child’s Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Minors are allowed to pursue damages such as:
- Medical bills – past, present, and future (which includes mental injuries and psychotherapy costs)
- Lost past and present wages (for teenagers of working age) and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering (which includes physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, etc.)
Parents may be entitled to a portion of settlement funds if they are expressly included in the settlement to receive reimbursement for paid medical expenses. In some cases, parents may have to file a separate claim for:
- Medical bills – past and present
- Lost wages due to the time taken off to care for the injured child
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress (if the parents were witnesses to the accident).
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to address your concerns and ensure that your family seeks maximum recovery for losses suffered.
When Can a Child Access the Money from a Personal Injury Settlement or Jury Award?
In New York, any recovered compensation is put into a trust or court-approved investment vehicle, where it may accrue interest until the child reaches the age of majority (18). Settlement money can be paid in a lump sum, structured payments, or periodic payments. The settlement agreement will explain the rules of distribution and how the funds are to be used if there are any limitations.
Who is Liable When a Child is Injured?
Liability issues are unique to each case. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits may include:
- Apartment complex owners
- Commercial property owners
- Event planners
- Foster care agencies
- Medical caregivers
- Motor vehicle maintenance providers
- Motor vehicle manufacturers
- Product manufacturers
- School districts
Many of these entities are insured and able to provide substantial compensation for your child’s recovery. It is important to note that New York State allows accident victims to collect damages even if they were partially to blame. This is important with cases involving minors because children often act recklessly by nature.
For instance, if your child is playing with a ball and darts out into the street without looking, they may be deemed somewhat responsible for being hit by a car. However, if the driver was texting at the time, drinking and driving, speeding, or rolling through a stop sign, some liability may be assessed there as well. The amount of compensation is simply reduced based on the amount of liability the court assigns the victim.
Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer in New York
For more than two decades, Douglas and London have helped New Yorkers pursue claims of negligence on behalf of minors. While most cases result in a settlement, we have the resources necessary to seek maximum compensation, particularly when the injuries are long-lasting or permanent. Contact Douglas and London to speak with an experienced New York City personal injury lawyer. We understand the financial burden that accompanies the injury of a child, which is why we work on a contingency basis. You pay nothing to meet with us or file your lawsuit. We cover all the upfront expenses of litigation, and you pay the standard legal fee upon the successful resolution of your claim.