Most children experience various injuries when they are young, and minor accidents are a normal part of childhood. Unfortunately, children sometimes suffer severe injuries that result from someone else’s negligence. In the worst circumstances, these injuries could permanently impact the child’s ability to participate in everyday activities.
If negligence causes an injury, the at-fault party is liable for compensating the injured person for their losses. When the victim is a child, the parents could seek damages on their child’s behalf with the help of a skilled attorney. If your child has been harmed because of someone else’s negligence, a Lancaster child injury lawyer could counsel you about your legal options and help you select the best course of action
Accidents are often the result of negligence, the failure to use reasonable caution to protect others from situations that could cause an injury. Although many childhood injuries are the result of the child’s lack of caution, other parties’ actions might be a contributing factor. In such cases, the negligent parties could be liable for damages resulting from the child’s injuries.
For example, children are often injured in car accidents due to the at-fault driver’s negligence. If a property owner does not prevent children from gaining access to their pool, playset, or other dangerous feature, they could be considered negligent. If a public pool does not properly staff the facility with qualified lifeguards, the local government that runs the pool might be held liable if a child is injured.
An attorney from McDonald at Law who has experience with childhood injury cases could determine whether a specific accident was due to someone else’s negligence. If so, they could seek compensation for the child from the responsible party.
When parents choose to enter into a settlement agreement to resolve an injury claim they brought on behalf of their child, 231 Pennsylvania Code Rule 2039 requires a judge to approve the settlement before it can be finalized. The law imposes this requirement to ensure that any settlement adequately addresses the child’s needs.
If the amount of the settlement is less than $25,000, it could be paid directly to the child’s parent or guardian for the benefit of the child. If the settlement exceeds $25,000, there are several options for handling the money. A knowledgeable attorney in Lancaster could assist parents in establishing a mechanism for managing the settlement funds that best suits the child’s needs.
The settlement money usually must be held for the benefit of the child, who will have access to it when they reach the age of 18. However, in cases where the money is required to help parents meet the child’s ongoing need for treatment or care, a parent or guardian might get access to the funds with court approval
According to state law, parents who wish to assert a claim on behalf of an injured child must do so within two years of the child’s injury. If they opt not to bring a claim on a child’s behalf, the child may do so within two years of their 18th birthday.
These are critical dates to keep in mind, because the possibility of a lawsuit can strengthen the injured party’s negotiating position. Insurers are usually not eager to go to court over child injury claims and these cases often settle out-of-court, and acting quickly generally benefits the claimant. Evidence will be fresh and more readily available than it may be months or years after the accident, and securing legal representation early in the process may signal that the injured person intends to assert their right to compensation aggressively.
If you are a parent whose child has suffered a severe injury, you are likely facing overwhelming stress. It is wise to focus on helping your child heal and rely on a professional to handle the legal and financial matters of an injury claim.
A Lancaster child injury lawyer could identify potentially responsible parties, negotiate with their insurers, and ensure that any settlement agreements are legally binding and protective of your child’s best interests. Schedule a consultation today and learn more about your legal options.