What Does Comparative Fault Mean in Child Injury Claims?

Some accidents are clearly the fault of just one party. In other cases, several people may have done something careless that contributed to the accident. Indiana law still allows victims to recover damages for their injuries so long as they were less than 51 percent to blame for the accident.

This concept is referred to as “comparative fault.” How fault is assessed among responsible parties is a critical factor because it may affect the amount of compensation that a claimant can recover. For example, if someone were determined to be 25 percent at fault in a case with $100,000 in damages, their recovery would be cut by $25,000, reducing it to just $75,000.

This can produce a harsh result in many cases. What about when a child is accused of doing something wrong that contributed to his or her injury? Depending on the age of the child, Indiana law may treat the comparative fault of a child differently from that of an adult.

Legal Guidance May Be Necessary for Children's Comparative Fault Claims

Complex matters like this make it critical to work with an experienced Indiana lawyer who understands the unique aspects of cases involving injured children. The children’s injury attorneys at Sevenish Law Firm in Indianapolis can help you seek maximum compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries.

Since our firm was established in 1985, we've assisted numerous families in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana with seeking compensation for their children’s losses associated with serious personal injuries.

If your child has been harmed by someone else’s negligence—even if you think your child contributed to the accident—contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options. We can provide a free consultation to answer your questions and discuss a strategy for seeking just compensation for your child.

Indiana Law on Children and Comparative Fault

As anyone who has spent time with youngsters knows, children do not have the same understanding and appreciation of right and wrong as is expected of adults. Their sense of responsibility and caution are not as well-developed as a responsible adult’s.

Indiana law recognizes these differences and holds that children should not always be held to the same standard when it comes to determining their fault for causing an accident. Instead of treating children the same as adults when apportioning responsibility for comparative fault purposes, the law in Indiana follows these guidelines according to the Indiana Pattern Jury Instructions — Civil:

  • Children less than the age of seven (7) may not be assessed any fault for their actions, even if those actions proximately caused their injury or damages.
     
  • Children aged seven (7) through fourteen (14) may be assessed fault. Fault is to be judged by a standard of care considered reasonable for children of the same age, knowledge, judgment and experience under the same or similar circumstances.
     
  • Children over age fourteen (14) [absent special circumstances] are held to the same standard of care as an adult.

In simple terms, this means that comparative fault does not apply to children under 7, while the fault of children ages 7-14 is compared to what a reasonable child of the same age would do in similar circumstances. Children older than 14 are treated like adults for comparative fault purposes unless there is a special reason to treat them otherwise.

Help for Children Hurt by the Negligence of Others

As a father and grandfather, attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish is a passionate advocate for the rights of injured children. All the lawyers at Sevenish Law Firm understand the complex laws regarding comparative negligence and how they apply to children who have been hurt in accidents. We are prepared to stand up for your child’s best interests.

Even if you think your child might have done something careless that contributed to his or her accident, talk to us before you discuss the situation with the insurance company. Our child injury attorneys will give you their honest, professional opinion about your situation and discuss what your options are.

Are you ready to get help for your child? Let’s talk about your situation now. Contact the child injury attorneys at Sevenish Law Firm. Your consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no strings attached. Our child injury attorneys will aggressively pursue the compensation your child deserves, and we will act with honesty, fairness, and integrity when seeking a result that is in your child’s best interests.