Injuries to Children

It’s a parent’s worst fear to hear his or her child has been injured in an accident. While not all accidents can be prevented, there are steps parents can take after the accident to ensure their child receives the medical care and compensation he or she deserves.

Injuries to children can result from defective products, automobile accidents, drowning, fires and burns, environmental hazards, falls, violence, poisoning, choking, suffocation and negligence. According to the Safe Kids organization, childhood injuries are the leading cause of death among children age 14 and under and account for $175 billion in spending for medical expenses and other costs. These injuries take a huge toll on a family’s financial and emotional well-being.

My Child Has Been Injured: Who Can File a Claim?

In Pennsylvania, if an accident occurs when the child is a minor, the normal two year statute of limitations is extended to two years from the date the minor turns 18 years old. However, to avoid any potential problems be sure to see your lawyer well in advance of the two year anniversary of the accident. To file a claim, minors must have a legal guardian, usually a parent, file the claim on their behalf. The injured minor can receive damages for physical injuries, pain and suffering, future medical expenses and future wage losses. In Pennsylvania, any settlement or recovery in a personal injury claim for a minor must be court approved, with the proceeds to go into a restricted account for the child's benefit. Parents of an injured child can file a separate claim to collect damages for medical expenses and other costs they have incurred or will incur until the child reaches his or her 18th birthday.

Attractive Nuisances: What Every Property Owner Should Know

Property owners should take additional steps to protect themselves from liability. Children may be exempt from many of the negligence laws and trespassing laws. Younger children pose a greater liability for property owners since they may not be as aware of potential dangers of “attractive nuisances” such as a trampoline, a well or an unfenced swimming pool. Owners should follow all local and state rules and use good judgment to avoid creating a potentially dangerous situation.

What Steps Should I Take After My Child Has Been Involved In an Accident Involving a Motor Vehicle?

If your child has been struck by a vehicle while walking or riding a bike, recording details about the accident could go a long way in setting the record straight later. The driver’s insurance company or the driver’s lawyer may claim the child ran out in front of the car, leaving the driver no chance to react and avoid the accident. Parents should note the type of neighborhood where the accident occurred. If there is a playground or school nearby or signs warning drivers that children are in the area, motorists are expected to take extra care if they are warned of children in the area. They should also get the names and addresses of any witnesses and photographs of the accident scene. It is also important to show how long the child was visible to the motorist. If the driver saw the child for more than a few seconds, the motorist may have had enough time to avoid hitting the child.

Remember, adults are expected to take extra care when dealing with children or when driving in areas where they are present. If your child has been injured due to the negligence of an individual or a product, I may be able to help.  

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