Childhood is a time for exploration and risk-taking, sometimes leading to injury. However, people entrusted with supervising children, caring for their medical needs, or producing products children use are responsible for ensuring their safety. If a party’s negligence caused an injury to a child, that party could be responsible for paying monetary damages.
Seeking financial recovery for a child’s injury is not as straightforward as when the injured person is an adult. Because children are still growing and developing, determining the injury’s long-term impact could be difficult. Damages awards to children are also handled differently than awards to adults.
A Red Bank child injury lawyer has experience securing appropriate damages for the benefit of injured children. Contact a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury for the best chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Children could get hurt doing almost anything. Their coordination is still developing, their judgment is faulty, and their risk-assessment skills are almost non-existent. Every child is likely to sustain an injury at some point as they grow up.
However, certain situations that cause harm to children arise regularly in a personal injury practice. An experienced Red Bank attorney handles injuries to children resulting from:
This is a short list of the common situations that could lead to a child’s injury, but almost any preventable injury could form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit in Red Bank.
The responsible parties in a child injury case vary depending on the circumstances, but pre-schools, private schools, and school districts often have responsibility. A manufacturer could be liable if a defective product led to an injury. Doctors and hospitals, recreational sports leagues, and even other children’s parents could be liable for a child’s injury depending on the circumstances.
Statutes of limitations are laws defining the timeframe allotted for bringing a lawsuit. When the suit seeks damages for personal injuries, the state of Tennessee requires an injured person to file a claim within one year of the injury.
When the injured person is not a legal adult, the statute of limitations tolls, meaning the clock does not begin running until their 18th birthday. Someone who suffered injuries as a child could pursue civil litigation seeking monetary damages anytime between their 18th and 19th birthdays.
However, waiting for a child to become a legal adult before seeking compensation risks weakening a case. Parents can sue on behalf of their injured children, and allowing a skilled legal professional in Red Bank to help immediately after an accident usually produces better results than waiting for the child to turn 18.
Parents have one year from the date of injury, or the date they discovered an injury, to bring a lawsuit seeking financial recovery for their child. If the injury was related to medical malpractice committed during the child’s birth, the parents have no more than three years from the birth to file a claim.
Most injury claims settle before a trial. When a parent settles a claim on behalf of their child, Tennessee Code Annotated §29-34-105 requires a judge to review the settlement and determine whether it is in the child’s best interest. If the settlement is for less than $10,000, the parent can send a letter outlining the child’s injuries and the settlement. If it exceeds $10,000, the court will meet with the guardian and the child at a hearing to approve the settlement.
Assuming the judge approves the settlement agreement, they might release the funds to the parent. Though, they often expect the parent to purchase an annuity for the child’s benefit. In other cases, the court holds the funds in trust until the child turns 18 years old. A parent could petition the court to access some of the money, but the judge could refuse unless the parent could prove the expense was outside of normal parental obligations.
Parents must pay for a child’s food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, and educational costs. However, if the child has extraordinary medical expenses not covered by insurance or special educational needs, the court could allow a parent to access some of the child’s money to cover those costs. A well-practiced child injury lawyer in Red Bank could help a parent navigate the process of settling a lawsuit and segregating special expenses from the normal costs of raising a child.
Coping with a child’s severe injury can push parents past the breaking point. Watching your child suffer is heartbreaking and worrying about how they will fare in the future could be devastating.
A Red Bank child injury lawyer could explain your legal options and pursue a settlement that will meet your child’s future needs. You have very little time to exercise your right to sue on behalf of your child, so reach out today.