Minor and Child Injuries in Central Pennsylvania
CHILD INJURY ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CLIENTS IN LANCASTER & YORK
When your child is hurt in an accident, it can be hard to know what to do. Your first extinct will be to do whatever you can for your child. But after seeking medical attention, you need to consider how this accident will impact your child’s future.
Accidents and injuries to children can cause emotional trauma and physical disabilities. Your child may need years of counseling or physical therapy to live a normal life. In some cases, they may never return to life as they knew it before the accident.
This is not only hard on the child, but their family as well. Family members may have to put their lives on hold to care for the child. Parents suddenly have to make a living while they care for their children and tend to their own needs.
As the parent or legal guardian of an injured child, it’s your responsibility to seek financial compensation from the negligent party that caused the accident. If your child has been the victim of an accident or injury, you should contact Hagelgans & Veronis to speak with a child injury lawyer immediately to seek financial compensation.
Types of Accidents Involving Children
Our attorneys have represented children and their families who have suffered the effects of accidents or injuries such as:
- Car Accidents
- Amusement Park Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Birth Injuries
- Bicycle Accidents
- Drowning Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Playground Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Defective Product Injuries (car seats, cribs, toys, etc.)
- Neck and Back Injuries
- School Bus Accidents
- Daycare Accidents/Abuse
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Negligent Supervision Accidents
- Attractive Nuisance Accidents (something that is dangerous attracts the child)
Elements of a Child Injury Lawsuit
For a child injury lawsuit to be successful, here’s what your child injury attorney has to prove:
- The at-fault party had a duty to exercise reasonable care as any normal person would in the same situation.
- The at-fault party breached their duty, either by doing something they shouldn’t have or failing to do something they should have.
- This breach of duty was the actual and proximate cause of the child’s injuries.
- Your child suffered an injury deserving of compensation as a result of the at-fault party’s breach of duty.
Compensation for Your Child’s Injuries
If the above elements are demonstrated to be true, you and your child may receive compensation for things like:
- Medical bills
- Future loss of income for the child (if disabled)
- Mental anguish
- Emotional Distress
- Wrongful death
Child Injury Cases vs. Adult Personal Injury Cases
Children are not responsible in the same way an adult would be. Courts take this into account by ignoring the reasonable person standard that applies to adults and implementing a presumption of non-negligence for children. The younger the child, the stronger the presumption.
In Pennsylvania, children under 7 years old are assumed to be incapable of negligence at all. This cannot be disputed, regardless of the circumstances leading up to the accident.
Children between 7 and 14 years old are also presumed incapable of negligence but this can be disputed based on the circumstances of the accident and how close the child is to 14. Regardless of what the defendant claims, a 14-year-old will not be held accountable in the same way an adult would.
How Settlements Work in a Child Injury Case
Things are handled differently when a minor is awarded a settlement. These differences protect the best interests of the child and prevent their parent or guardian from using the money for their own purposes.
One difference is settlements awarded to a minor must be approved by the court. This requires the lawyer to file a petition stating the terms of the settlement and why it is in line with the best interest of the child. The court may or may not require a hearing to question the parties involved in approving the petition.
When the petition is approved, the parents or attorney are required to set up a trust account. This account earns interest and cannot be touched until the minor turns 18. If the needs the money before their 18th birthday, the attorney can petition the court to ask for early access to the funds.
Another big difference in child injury cases, when compared to adult cases, is the cap on attorney’s fees. Even where caps are not typically enforced by the court, they will almost certainly be in a child injury case. This is to ensure the child gets the maximum settlement they are entitled to.
When to Contact a Child Injury Attorney
The statute of limitations in a child injury case varies depending on what the family is seeking reimbursement for. Things like medical expenses and therapy costs are the parent’s responsibility since the child is too young to pay for these things. Any claim that revolves around the parent’s fiscal responsibility to the child has a statute of limitations of 2 years from the date the injury occurred.
Claims for things like pain and suffering or loss of the child’s future income may be brought to court by the child themselves. Since this cannot be done by the child until they are 18, they have until they are 20 to bring these claims before a court.
In most cases where a child is injured, there will be costs for doctor’s visits, medicine, therapy, etc. If that is the case, it is best to contact an attorney. Not only will these keep you well within the 2-year statute of limitations, but it will let your lawyer gather evidence. Gathering evidence sooner rather than later gives your child a better chance at a successful settlement.
The child injury lawyers at Hagelgans & Veronis have experience handling all aspects of cases involving personal injuries to children. There is never a charge to talk to one of our child injury attorneys. We will work for your family on a contingent-fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you do. Call to schedule your free consultation at (717) 295-7009.