Who Can Make a Personal Injury Claim for a Child?

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If your child has been injured, whether by accident or on purpose, you are within your rights to feel sad, angry, confused, and hurt.  However, the steps to take following a child’s injury are different from that of an adult’s.  Personal injury claims for children are unique in that they are unable to file for themselves.  Instead, a parent or legal guardian must file for them.  In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this and explain some of the steps involved.

Starting the Process

Personal injury cases for children are similar to cases for adults in that the same burden of proof applies, and the types of compensation they can claim for are the same.  This means that as a parent or legal guardian, you will still need to prove that somebody else’s negligence caused the injury.  Some of the things you may be expected to gather to prove this includes eyewitness testimonies, medical records, accident reports and more.  Because of the amount of work involved in taking a personal injury case to court, most parents opt to hire a law firm such as Horst Shewmaker to do the work on their behalf.

Depending on the amount of harm caused to the child, you may be able to claim for medical care, damage and suffering, emotional harm, and lost wages (if applicable).  Parents may also be able to claim additional expenses if their income has been harmed due to their child’s injury – for example, if they have had to take time off work or leave their job to care for their dependent.

The Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for a parent or legal guardian making a claim for a child injury varies depending on the state in which you reside.  In some states it is as little as one year after the accident – or after the injury becomes apparent.  Because of this, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as possible following the injury.  Children can also file a claim themselves once they turn 18.  There is usually a one to two year statute of limitations here too, again depending on the state.  As with all personal injury cases, missing a filing deadline could mean that you are unable to receive compensation.

If the Settlement is Awarded

Most personal injury cases settle outside of court.  However, in order for this to happen both parties must agree on a figure that they feel is fair.  If the case goes to court, a judge will make the final ruling.  Once a settlement has been awarded, the money will either be placed in a trust fund for the child to receive once they turn 18, or it will be awarded to the child’s parents or legal guardians so that it can be used for their care and treatment.  The options available to you will be explained by your legal counsel.

No parent wants to see their child harmed or injured due to somebody else’s negligence.  However, should the worst happen, it’s wise to know the steps to take.

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