Accidents and other incidents involving adults usually result in a personal injury case. But what about cases when a child causes the injury or ends up being injured? According to Personal injury law, children don’t yet have the same well-formed judgment that adults do. And because of this, Personal injury law has created rules for compensation and liability regarding accidents where a child was involved.
Injuries to children
Accidents can happen. Every parent can confirm this. However, some injuries to children can result in a personal injury claim, especially when the cause of the injury is someone else’s carelessness. For injuries caused to your children, a school might be liable. That’s just one example.
Even though getting compensation for a minor (generally a person younger than 18) can be different from state to state, in general terms, a minor has the right for compensation for the same types of injuries/damages you will find in a personal injury claim for an adult. This includes, but it’s not limited to, payment for pain and suffering, permanent injury, emotional distress, and disability. Furthermore, the parent of the injured child can also have the right to be compensated, for medical expenses paid on behalf of its child.
Since a child cannot negotiate a settlement for a personal injury case, the parent usually negotiates on behalf of the child or hires an attorney. Some states require a judge’s approval before the claims can be settled. The approval process is usually very simple and straightforward. You fill out a few simple forms and file them with the court for approval.
Accidents Caused by Children
Liability for accidents caused by minors is established on the same idea of care and carelessness as accidents caused by adults. However, the same standards of care, that are normally expected from an adult, cannot be expected from a minor. Furthermore, carelessness implies that someone understands the risks, and minors don’t comprehend risks the way adults do.
When it comes to establishing liability for accidents caused by a minor, the law applies different standards to different age groups. Very your children (younger than 7) are generally not liable for accidental injuries. They’re simply too young to comprehend that they were careless and in what manner. This of course, doesn’t exclude the child’s parents or legal guardians for negligence and failure to control the child.
The child can be held liable for injuries it causes intentionally, once he/she is old enough and able to tell right from wrong. If one child intentionally hurts another child or causes material damage to a vehicle by throwing a rock at it, both the child that committed the intentional act and the negligent parents, may be liable.
In case of older children, they can generally be considered as liable for their negligent conduct and if they don’t behave carefully, which is measured by what their peers consider reasonably careful. Once the child reaches its mid-teenage years, he / she is held to almost the same standards as adults. For example, when driving a car, the minor is held to the exact same standards as adults are.
Since children don’t normally have a lot of their own money, and in case a minor is found liable, there are various ways an injured person can be compensated. First and foremost, actions caused by minors are usually covered by insurance. So if a minor is driving a car, the minor’s own car insurance or the owner’s car insurance (if the car is owned by the parent or employer) will cover the accident.
In cases where the accident doesn’t involve a vehicle, the homeowner’s insurance policy may cover the accident. In those cases, the victim will be dealing directly with the parent’s insurance company.
When there is no insurance that covers the minors conduct and you are seriously injured, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the minor. If you get a judgment from a court which says how much the minor owes you, he/she will be paying for the damages as soon as he/she turns 18 (in most states) and starts earning income. However, these processed can take long and are only worth pursuing when the injury is extensive. In these cases, this will require help from a skilled attorney.
Parents’ Liability for Minors’ Car Accident
Minors driving a car or a motorcycle are usually covered by the vehicle’s insurance policy or if the car/motorcycle is owned by their parent, by the parent’s insurance policy.
When a minor is the registered owner of a vehicle but has no insurance, the majority of states hold the parents liable for the damages (from $5,000 to $25,000) caused by the minor. So when you’re involved in a car accident when the minor has no coverage or very little, you might be able to collect compensation from both policies (parent’s and child’s).
When dealing with a personal injury case, it’s nice to know what’s going on. This allows you to have confidence in what’s occurring during your case and not just trusting an attorney blindly. Although it’s important to pick an attorney that’s good at what they do and whom you can trust, it’s still important to be prepared and knowledgeable yourself. Having tabs on your own case and understanding the steps as they come allows you to make an informed decision when presented with one. Below covers some topics on personal injury cases when you are the one who has sustained the injuries.
What Does a Typical Personal Injury Case Look Like?
When an injury occurs at the negligence of another party, most states have laws that allow the person injured to recoup costs. This can include emotional trauma connected to the injury. Negligence can be from a workplace being unsafe or not kept up to code which resulted in an injury. Negligence can also include careless driving, malpractice by a doctor, and more. A typical case will have an injured party and a negligent party seeking to prove whether negligence was indeed the issue.
What Happens After Filing a Case?
The assumed negligent party is then served papers of the notice and becomes the defendant while you become the plaintiff. The next step is called “discovery” as lawyers on both sides gather evidence, ask questions, and build a case. Once this mode has ended, offers can be made before the case is taken to trial. If the offer is refused, it will go to trial and be decided by a judge. However, it’s common for personal injury cases to be settled outside the courtroom.
What Happens if I Win?
A judge or jury will decide an amount for damages and you will be rewarded this amount of money. Those deciding the amount will take into account the injury, grief caused by the injury, future wages lost, etc. All angles will be considered in order to fully cover the plaintiff. This is why cases like this are often settled outside of court.
How Long Do I Have to File a Case?
Each state differs on the length of time following an injury that you have to file a claim. This is referred to as the “Statute of Limitations.” Your attorney should be able to help you with this amount of time for your state. However, it’s always best to file a claim as quickly as possible following the injury. This often helps with evidence trails and the case in general.
Some other important notes to consider are that the defendant of the case isn’t punished. Other than paying out what’s rewarded to the plaintiff if they lose the case, a defendant won’t have to worry about aspects such as probation, jail time, etc. Further, if you decide to settle a case outside of court, this is when you and the defendant agree on a specific outcome of the case without a judge or jury. Your lawyer will handle the details.
As seasons change and various weather patterns come and go, new accidents and dangers present themselves. It’s common for some types of accidents to happen more often during certain seasons than others. One season that is popular for housing a large amount of accidents is summer. Kids are out of school, families are going on vacation, and people are more active than usual. This all is a recipe for fun and memories, but it’s also a recipe for accidents galore.
Pool or Water Accidents
Of course, you had to know this was going to top the list. Water is a large focus of fun when it comes to summertime games and time killers. However, water can be dangerous with slips, falls, head injuries, drowning, etc. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of death with a fifth of those accidents being children under the age of 14. Pools, lakes, and the beach can be a blast, but be sure to take as many safety precautions as possible to keep you and your family safe.
As mentioned above, summer is a great time for getting active and many people utilize their fun in the sun for sports. There are many summer leagues involving sports for children as well. A sport injury can be anywhere from a sprained ankle to head trauma. Sports can leave a window of uncertainty open on when or how a child could be hurt. Be sure to have all the proper safety gear in place for your child and get regular checkups to ensure there are no hidden issues that could arise from their sports involvement. Of course, don’t forget that adults aren’t exempt from sports injuries as well and should be cautious and not overlook safety guidelines suggested for the sport they’re involved in.
Bicycle and Motorcycle Accidents
When it comes to summer, there’s a lot of traveling occuring. On top of this, people like to utilize various modes of travel that aren’t possible or as popular during the cooler months. This includes mopeds, street bikes, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. These types of transportation have to share the road with motor vehicles which can get dangerous at times, especially in heavy traffic. With as busy as people are during the summer months, crashes involving these types of transportation tend to go up in number. Be careful when driving and sharing the road with these modes of transportation and ensure you’re wearing and covering as many safety precautions as possible if you operate one on a roadway.
As mentioned, the amount of travel people are doing goes way up when the summer months hit. Due to this, the amount of car accidents also rises throughout summer. Be aware that you’re not the only added traveler when summer hits and prepare/e aware of extra drivers on the road.
It’s always smart to observe safety parameters during any activity we might be involved in. This doesn’t just go for summer, but throughout the year. However, the accidents listed above are prone to happen more often and frequently when summer hits so, it’s good to be aware of this timing and up the awareness to compensate.
What Should You Do If You Slip/Trip and Fall?
You never think it will happen to you, but it very well could. More than 300,000 serious injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents just in the United States alone. Even the death statistics for this incident ranks only second to automobile collisions in overall fatalities.
With a range of common causes from uneven pathways to negligent maintenance, this type of accident can happen to anyone. And then what? If you sustain a serious injury, how will you heal and provide for yourself and your loved ones?
Here are the necessary steps to take when experiencing a slip/trip and fall incident.
If you’ve been a slip, trip, and fall accident, your first priority is to seek medical help. You want a doctor to tend to your injuries and to properly document them. All documented medical records are important pieces of evidence needed if action needs to be taken.
Report your Accident
Wherever the slip, trip, and fall accident happens, you always report it. Whether that be a manager, owner or landlord, you want them to document the details of the incident in writing and ALWAYS acquire a copy before you leave the premises.
This is the most important step. Collect all the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses (even Facebook profiles) from every potential witness at the site of the accident. If you decide to pursue a legal claim, it’s their statements that can prove your claim. With your smartphone, take pictures of the EXACT spot where your fall happened. Make sure to get all sides and any conditions that contributed to your accident.
Decline to Give Statements
Until you’ve spoken to an attorney, all communication with the property owner, manager or insurance company should be limited. Decline to give any statements unless your attorney says otherwise. Also, you shouldn’t be posting anything about your accident on social media. This is very important.
Call your Attorney
The help of an attorney is who you’ll need by your side when pursuing legal action. Slip, trip, and fall cases are very common and therefore can become tedious and sometimes difficult to prove. You want the experience of a successful law firm fighting in your corner and giving you the empowerment you need.
Premises liability is used in a personal injury case when the injury happened on someone else’s property due to an unsafe or defective condition. Like all personal injury cases, you must be able to prove that the property owner’s negligence led to your injury. There are several different types of premises liability cases and therefore, there are a number of ways to prove negligence in your case.
Types of premises liability cases
There are several different personal injuries that can be categorized as premises liability. All of the following can occur due to a dangerous condition on someone’s property:
- slip and fall cases
- snow and ice accidents
- inadequate maintenance of the premises
- defective conditions on the premises
- inadequate building security leading to injury or assault
- elevator and escalator accidents
- dog bites
- swimming pool accidents
- amusement park accidents
- water leaks or flooding
- toxic fumes or chemicals
The property owner’s duty of care and negligence
Although you may have been injured on someone else’s property, you can only get compensation if you were on their property lawfully and if the accident was due to the property owner’s negligence. Most states require property owners to exercise reasonable care in ownership maintenance of their property. If the property knew, or should have known, that their premises were in an unsafe condition and failed to fix the situation, they did not maintenance their property properly. The owner can then be proven negligent.
As owners are liable if they didn’t fix or pre-warn you about reasonably dangerous hazard on their property, you many not win the case if you weren’t on their property lawfully. Property visitors are divided into three categories: invitees, licensees and trespassers. If you fall into the trespasser category the landowner may not be liable for your injury.
If you’d like to speak to a lawyer about a premises liability case, contact us here.