As a father, grandfather and eldest of nine children, attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish understands and appreciates how our children are our most precious assets. When our children are hurt or injured in any way, the pain spreads to us as their parents and protectors. As an Indianapolis child injury attorney, and Karate Sensei, Randy Sevenish has a long history of protecting children, and to that end, has actively instructed hundreds of children not only in practical and karate techniques of self-defense and in “anti-bullying” techniques but has reinforced in them important traits such as honor, integrity, and character.
At the Sevenish Law Firm in Indiana, our child injury attorneys in Indianapolis are committed to helping parents to seek justice when their children have been harmed by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. We understand how to work through the unique issues that arise in child injury cases, and we are aggressive in pursuing compensation that young victims and their families deserve.
To educate others on issues surrounding children who have been physically and/or psychologically injured in a crash or other negligent events, we founded Sevenish Law’s “Kids Injury Center©” in 2014.
Sevenish Law also will soon start up the “Sevenish Kid’s Foundation©,” with the main goal of assisting uninsured or indigent parents in the payment of some portion of their injured child’s medical bills while directly working with medical providers in the negotiation of outstanding medicals that have been incurred.
As a beginning point, we have sponsored educational coloring books for parents and children to interact on issues relevant to how having insurance shows responsibility, as well as coloring books concerning practical issues that arise when kids have been injured. For your free copy of any of our educational coloring books for kids, call us at 1-800-278-9200, or fill out our online form.
To discuss your child’s injury case with our firm, contact us by phone or through our online form. Our personal injury lawyers serve clients throughout Indianapolis and Indiana. We can provide a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Common Types of Child Injuries in Indiana
Children are susceptible to accidents and injuries due to their active and playful nature. Curiosity and thrill-seeking can, and often does, lead to trouble.
Child injuries: common causes
However, a child injury case goes beyond a mere cut, scrape or bruise. Serious child injuries that warrant the attention of an Indianapolis child accident lawyer can result from:
- Auto accidents – Children may suffer catastrophic injuries in auto accidents as passengers, pedestrians or bicyclists. Negligent drivers can be held accountable.
- Sports-related injuries – Children may suffer a brain or spinal injury or other serious harm when they are not given proper safety equipment, or when they are allowed to participate in games or practice when still hurt. Coaches, trainers, administrators or school systems should be held responsible if this occurs.
- Swimming pool accidents – Children can suffer head or spinal cord injuries from diving into a pool or falling in the pool area. They may also suffer a drowning or near-drowning or injuries related to dangerous pool chemicals. Pool owners may be liable for failing to maintain safe premises or to provide proper supervision.
- Dog bites – Children are susceptible to serious injury, including permanent scarring and disfigurement, when attacked by dogs or other animals. Pet owners can be held strictly liable under Indiana law.
- Defective products – Manufacturers owe parents and children the duty to produce and distribute safe products or to provide proper warnings about a product’s dangerous qualities. Children can be harmed by defective toys, cribs or car seats or by-products that contain hazardous chemicals.
- Accidents at School – There are dangers of riding the school bus, being exposed to hazardous chemicals, slip and fall accidents, food poisoning and more while children are at school.
- Property hazards – When children visit another person’s property, they may be exposed to unsafe conditions including swimming pools, swing sets, ATVs, and more.
Compensation in Child Injury Cases in Indiana
A child injury case is, in many ways, no different than any other personal injury lawsuit in Indiana. The case requires establishing another’s party’s negligence, proving a connection between the negligence and the child’s injury and showing the amount of harm suffered by the child.
However, in many other respects, child injury cases are unique and require the assistance of an experienced Indianapolis child accident attorney. Issues that may arise are:
- Forecasting damages – If an injury leaves a child with a permanent disability, experts will need to be consulted in order to show how the child’s future has been impacted. For example, will the child need a lifetime of around-the-clock care? Will the child’s earning capacity be significantly impaired?
- Filing legal claims – A minor (child under age 18) cannot file a lawsuit in Indiana. This means that the child’s parents will need to file a legal claim on behalf of the minor. In some cases, a guardian ad- litem may be appointed to look after the child’s best interests – not the best interests of the parents – while a claim is being litigated. However, most of the time a parent or parents can file the lawsuit “as next friend” of their child and be appointed “Guardians of the Estate of …” the child.
- Getting court approval – A court must approve any settlement offer that is made to a child that exceeds $10,000, although a Guardianship set-up may be required by the Court even if less than $10,000. The settlement funds will belong to the child and must be placed into a “restricted bank account for minors” whether in the form of a structured settlement, savings, CD or other financial product. A carefully “structured settlement” can protect those funds so that they are available well after the child reaches the age of 18.
As a matter of course, an insurance company for an at-fault person often denies a claim involving a child, alleging the cause to be the child, and even routinely blames the parent(s) for “negligent supervision of a minor child” rather than the at-fault person or insurance company taking responsibility. Although this may be true sometimes, it often is not. Depending on the age of the child, there is a range of fault assessment to children that is unlike the fault assessment of an adult. There can be an assessment from none (even if the child was technically at fault) to the same as an adult.
However, there is a strategy to this approach. As such, the child advocate attorney must be the first to communicate with the insurance company or at-fault person directly – and not the parent. By so doing, you could be seriously damaging the claim your injured child would have had otherwise.
Overall and generally speaking, the Courts are much more lenient, and the rules of law are a bit more relaxed, when it comes to children, who the Courts have recognized to be innocent, naïve and inexperienced in life.
To find out our thoughts on your child’s claim, as known advocates for the rights of children, contact us first before contacting or discussing this claim with any claims adjuster. Our Indianapolis child injury attorneys will talk straight with you and discuss what your options are.
Generally, a personal injury claim must be settled or filed in court within two years of the date of an accident. However, the Indiana statute of limitations for auto accidents does not begin to run in a child injury case until he or she turns age 18. Still, you should not wait that long to take legal action. If your child has been harmed by another, you should act while evidence is fresh and readily accessible.
Indianapolis Child Injury Lawyer
Contact our Indianapolis child injury lawyers at Sevenish Law Firm today. Our consultations are free and confidential. 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. In addition, depending upon the amount of the child’s settlement, the claim must be taken before a judge to approve the settlement, which requires the assistance of an attorney in most cases.