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WHAT SHOULD A PARENT DO WHEN THEIR CHILD IS INJURED?
When a child is injured, the initial focus of all parents will be to do whatever they can to ensure that their child recovers as completely as possible from their injury.
WILL MY CHILD BE TRAUMATIZED IF WE BRING A LAWSUIT FOR THEIR INJURIES?
No. The laws have changed dramatically in recent years to protect child injury victims. Even in civil cases involving molestation, the identity of the child will be protected and the child will not be able to be cross-examined in the way people sometimes see on TV and in the movies. The parent or guardian for the purpose of the litigation will be more involved in the lawsuit, and the child will usually be able to live their normal life without the lawsuit interfering in any significant way.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS DIED DUE TO THE FAULT OF ANOTHER?
In this tragic situation, the parents, whether still living together or separated, each have a right to bring a lawsuit for their loss of comfort, society, and care of a child. Most parents feel a certain amount of empowerment from this type of lawsuit and it can help to deal with the overwhelming grief to know that some type of justice was attempted or done.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS PARTIALLY AT FAULT FOR CAUSING THEIR INJURY OR DEATH, CAN I STILL SUE?
A person sues for serious personal injury even if they are partially at fault. As long as they can prove that one or more other parties are also at fault. The amount of a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the amount of their fault.
WHAT IF THE DEFENDANT BLAMES US FOR CAUSING OUR CHILD’S INJURY OR DEATH?
It is true that if at all possible, the defense will attempt to blame the parents for injury or death to their child. This may occur in a case which the defense will attempt to claim that the parents should have supervised their child more closely and that supervision would have avoided an accident or sometimes a molestation.
WHAT DAMAGES ARE RECOVERABLE IN A CHILD INJURY OR DEATH CASE?
The survivors are entitled to the value of future monetary contributions from the decedent and the value of any personal service, advice, or training that would have probably been given if the decedent had lived. This is determined by projecting the amount of money the decedent would have earned in the future but for their death and subtracting from that the amount that the decedent would have “consumed” on their own expenses. The parents will have to establish that the child would likely have contributed to the injury.
HOW SOON MUST WE BRING A LAWSUIT ON BEHALF OF OUR CHILD?
If your child is injured, you generally have until he or she is 18 to bring a case on behalf of your child, and once your child turns 18, they have an additional one year until their 19th birthday to bring a lawsuit. It is generally not a good idea to wait very long to bring a case because important evidence will be lost and the case of a younger child will be worth more than an older child who has generally recovered well from the injuries.
WILL MY CHILD’S INJURY OR DEATH CASE SETTLE OUT OF COURT?
Probably. Over 90 percent of child injury and death cases do settle at some time before trial.
DO I NEED TO RETAIN AN ATTORNEY?
Except in cases of very minor injuries, you will probably want to hire an attorney to handle your child’s case. Any settlement involving a child’s case of more than $5,000 must be approved by the court, and attorneys will be able to help walk you through the process of having the guardian appointed and the settlement approved.
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