You might expect that a child will experience minor cuts and scrapes as an ordinary part of childhood, but what happens when someone else’s carelessness caused your child to suffer a severe or even life-changing injury? In that event, you will need to find out if you are entitled to compensation following a child injury.
There are many similarities between child injury cases and personal injury claims involving injured adults. There are also some notable differences that could impact your child’s case.
Child Injury Cases Have Unique Requirements
When a minor child suffers a severe injury because of the negligence of another person, company, or organization, we will have to do all the work to prove the personal injury case as we would if the injured person were an adult. We will have to establish the liability of whomever we sue for compensation.
We will also have to deal with these things that are unique to child personal injury claims:
A Minor Cannot File a Lawsuit
If your child is under the age of 18, they cannot take legal action in Indiana. That fact does not, however, mean that people can injure children and get away with doing so. Someone will have to get appointed to act in the place of the child.
Usually, one or both parents file papers asking the court for permission to file the personal injury lawsuit “as Next Friend” of the child. If granted, the court will also appoint them as “Guardians of the Estate” of the minor child. The parents can then file the personal injury case and act on behalf of the child against the defendant.
Sometimes, the court will appoint a Guardian-ad-Litem to watch over the child’s best interests during the litigation. This situation can happen when the court has a reason to have concern that a parent could put the child’s best interests ahead of the interests of the parent.
Court Approval of a Settlement Offer in a Child Injury Case
The parties must follow the requirements of IC § 29-3-9-7 when settling a child injury claim. If the defendant offers more than $10,000 to settle the child injury claim, Indiana law will require court approval of the settlement. The court might order that the Guardian-ad-Litem or Next Friend set up a Guardianship even for settlements of less than $10,000.
The settlement or jury award does not belong to the adults. The child will be the legal owner of the proceeds, which must get deposited into a financial product like a savings account, certificate of deposit (CD), structured settlement, or some other financial device that qualifies as a “restricted bank account for minors.”
You can work with a child accident lawyer on your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. They can handle the legal process while you tend to your child’s recovery.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-636-7777
Potential Compensation for Your Child’s Injury
Some accidents involving children can cause severe injuries, and the cost of medical care may continue well into the future. After a catastrophic injury like head trauma or spinal cord damage, your child might experience a permanent disability. Your potential compensation should account for the medical care your child will need for their lifetime.
Our child injury lawyers can work with medical, vocational, and disability experts to determine these costs. We can prevent you from accepting a settlement that would not fairly cover these future expenses. Our aim is to negotiate for fair compensation. If an insurer refuses to negotiate, we can take legal action on your behalf and seek a court-awarded offer.
Damages for the Parent
After your child has a significant injury, you might have to take time off from your job to provide the care the child needs. If you missed paychecks during that time, we might be able to add your lost wages to the injury claim.
You Can Seek Compensation from a Liable Party
When someone else’s carelessness caused injury to your child, you can seek compensation for the losses that stem from your child’s injuries. Types of accidents that may warrant compensation may involve:
- A distracted driver
- A hazardous condition on someone else’s property
- Someone else’s dog attacking your child
- A lack of supervision at your child’s school or childcare facility
- A dangerous product
- Carelessness at a sporting activity
- Another situation in which someone’s negligence harmed your child
An insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit can provide an opportunity to seek justice and compensation.
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We Can Help Your Family Seek Compensation
At Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., all we do is handle personal injury claims and lawsuits. We know how to deal with the unique legal requirements of child injury cases. You can call us today to get started.