When a child suffers injuries, it can be devastating for the entire family. Adults generally do everything they can to keep children safe but it’s not always possible. Since children are small and their bodies aren’t yet fully developed, they are more vulnerable to injury than many adults. Children can suffer personal injuries in a variety of circumstances including:
- Vehicular accidents
- Sporting accidents
- Dog attacks
- Defective toys
- Swimming pool accidents
- Lack of supervision by adults
If your child suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, both you and your child have recourse. Children receive special treatment when they are the victims in personal injury cases. That’s because:
- They don’t understand the legal process
- They have limited or no ability to earn an income
- Their injuries affect them differently than they would adults
- Their parents will be responsible for their medical bills until they reach adulthood
Let’s look at some of the ways in which children’s injury cases are different. For advice on your case, speak with a lawyer that handles children’s personal injury cases.
How Georgia’s Laws Treat Children’s Personal Injury Cases
Naturally, when a child is injured, they cannot file a claim on their own. However, parents or guardians can file an insurance claim or lawsuit on their behalf. You and the child will need to have separate claims. The child’s claim can include medical expenses, income loss, and pain and suffering which are expected after they turn 18. Meanwhile, you can seek damages for medical bills and other necessary expenses up to the age of 18. You can also pursue compensation for the loss of the child’s services.
In most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years. However, this can be extended when a minor is involved. The clock doesn’t begin running until the child’s 18th birthday. This is known as tolling. It means that personal injury action can usually be brought any time before the child turns 20.
One exception to this rule is medical malpractice. If the child suffered malpractice before their fifth birthday, you must file the lawsuit by their seventh birthday. If the injury occurred after they turned five, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury.
Issues surrounding the statute of limitations can get complicated. Since failing to meet the deadline can bar you from getting compensation, you need to ensure you act promptly. Reach out to a personal injury attorney in Atlanta, GA as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Your lawyer will make sure the statute of limitations is respected and you don’t lose your chance.
As with any personal injury claim, you’ll need to prove that someone else was responsible for the child’s injuries. However, fault and negligence are also treated a little differently. Children don’t understand danger in the same way that adults do. If a child is injured on someone’s property, the attractive nuisance doctrine may apply.
This requires property owners to take steps to keep children safe from hazards that seem especially interesting to them. A good example of this is a swimming pool. While ordinary premises liability laws can also apply to children, in some cases an attractive nuisance claim may be more appropriate. Your attorney will help you to gather the necessary evidence.
Reaching a Settlement in a Child’s Personal Injury Case
Future injury-related losses are a factor in any personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, since children have so much of their lives left to live, more attention needs to be paid to this. If the child suffered serious injuries, the damages can be high. Catastrophic injuries affect an individual’s ability to earn an income and take care of themselves. Therefore, you need to factor in any long-term or permanent consequences of the injury in your claim.
Since children’s bodies are still growing and developing, some types of injuries require ongoing treatment or multiple surgeries. If prosthetic devices are required, these usually need to be replaced or modified as the child grows. Some accident victims also need therapy to address mental challenges.
Contact The Bethune Law Firm for Expert Advice and Representation
If your child gets injured, you need to ensure you recover enough money for their future needs. When you work with our Atlanta child injury law firm, you can be sure of excellent representation. We’ll calculate your past expenses and consult experts on your projected future costs. That way, you and your child can get the compensation you truly deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.