Children deserve the full protection of the law to prevent injuries and get justice when someone harms them. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee their complete safety. However, as a parent or guardian, you can hold negligent and reckless individuals and businesses liable for actions that injure your child.
After years of recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for injury victims, our compassionate team at Emroch Kilduff has seen the deep impact physical and psychological injuries can have on children.
We fight hard to ensure that insurance adjusters provide the funds our young clients need to live as full a life as possible under their circumstances.
To speak with a Virginia child injury attorney about the harm that has occurred to your child, contact Emroch Kilduff today. We offer a free and confidential initial consultation to all new potential clients.
Table of Contents
- How a Child Injury Lawyer Can Help You?
- How Children Are Commonly Injured?
- Common Child Injuries
- Seeking Compensation for Child Injuries
- Important Child Injury Care Considerations
- Seeking Representation After a Child Injury in Virginia
How a Child Injury Lawyer Can Help You?
Child injury cases are delicate for many reasons, most notably because of the severe legal repercussions that liable parties face, both criminal and civil.
Several parties may cause a child injury, each of whom will likely seek an experienced lawyer to avoid or reduce their potential liability. A child injury attorney will look after the child's best interests during this process.
Your attorney will collect the necessary evidence for your case. Because children are often under the care of institutions, the production of evidence is frequently more complicated than many adult personal injury cases.
Institutions such as schools and recreation centers often follow strict protocols when receiving and fulfilling requests for evidence. They also have attorneys ready to defend against and sometimes stonewall evidence collection efforts.
An experienced child injury attorney knows how to counter evasion and other trickery to get the evidence they need, be it the production of documents, surveillance video, or the recording of depositions.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Initially, a claim for compensation for a child injury will typically go through an insurance company. It may be a homeowner’s policy, a car insurance policy, or the policy of a school or business that is the source of the compensation, depending on how and where the injury occurred.
It is during these negotiations that a fierce advocate can significantly increase an insurance company’s offers of compensation.
If your child was injured and you speak with an insurance company without a child injury lawyer, the adjuster will attempt to pass some blame for the accident onto the child. If they are successful, the compensation claim may get dismissed.
Your adjuster will also likely try to get you to accept a settlement offer below what you deserve by tempting you with quick payment.
To get the maximum compensation for your child’s injury, consult with a child injury lawyer before accepting any offer from an insurance company. Additionally, don’t sign any paperwork without consulting with an attorney to evaluate your case.
How Children Are Commonly Injured?
Adults and children are vulnerable every day to injury from accidents, even when exercising reasonable care. The negligence of others can render safe behavior useless and put unsuspecting individuals in peril of harm.
For children, the danger is greater, given their still-developing bodies and minds. An accident that might slightly injure an adult could kill a child.
Adults must take great care when transporting children in vehicles. The extreme forces involved in even the smallest crash can cause severe damage to young riders. Although society has come a long way in protecting kids in cars, children still suffer far too many accident injuries.
According to the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), approximately 183,000 children (14 years old or younger) suffered injuries, and 1,053 died in car crashes in 2019. Sadly, nearly 20 percent of the fatalities were caused, at least partly, by someone driving under the influence of alcohol.
Children are also at risk in traffic while walking or bicycling. Based on the NHTSA numbers, nearly 200 pedestrian children died in one year, as well as 40 children who were on bicycles.
Lack of Supervision
Depending on their age, children need varying levels of supervision throughout the day to stay safe and out of trouble. Whether you are a parent, guardian, babysitter, teacher, or daycare operator, you must provide the requisite level of supervision of the child in your care.
In Virginia, negligent supervision typically plays out in two situations. The first involves the child suffering an injury due to lack of supervision. The second deals with the child causing harm to another person or damaging property without intervention from a supervising adult.
Sports and Recreational Activities
Physical exercise is important for growing bodies. Schools, community centers, and youth leagues give children many opportunities to engage in sports and other similar activities.
However, safety must always take precedence to help prevent injuries. Schools, coaches, leagues, and game officials must all know and enforce concussion protocols, for instance, or brain injuries can worsen. Summer pre-season football practices must give student-athletes time to cool down and rehydrate to prevent deadly heat stroke.
Any sport or activity can harm a child. According to the Yale School of Medicine, over 2.6 million kids up to 19 years old go to the emergency room due to a sports- or recreation-related injury every year. The numbers demonstrate that some sports, such as football and soccer, lead to more injuries than others.
The number of domesticated pets in the U.S. has increased dramatically in the last 30 years, which means more contact for children with dogs, cats, reptiles, and other animals. The U.S. counts nearly 200 million dogs and cats nationwide, up nearly 100 percent since the mid-1990s.
Dogs bite over 4.5 million people each year, over half of them children, many of whom need emergency medical attention. As is often the case with dog and other animal-related child injuries, a negligent adult is often to blame.
Toys and Other Household Products
Children are perhaps the most targeted demographic for marketers. Thanks to commercials and word of mouth, thousands of different toys and gadgets make it into millions of homes nationwide. And sadly, some of these products contribute to the injury or death of many children every year.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 198,000 toy-related injuries needed emergency medical treatment in one recent year, with 75 percent of these injuries affecting children younger than 15. Nine toy-related deaths of children under 15, all of which involved choking or suffocation, took place that year.
Besides toys, common household products also lead to child injuries. Products designed for adults or older kids are sometimes hazardous for young children, such as tools, kitchen utensils, and cleaning products.
Common Child Injuries
It is unrealistic to expect any child to remain injury free. Cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises are a part of growing up. However, no child or parent should face the consequences of a serious injury, especially when it is preventable.
Unfortunately, families every day face the overwhelming burdens associated with caring for an injured child.
Some of the serious injuries that children typically suffer include:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations and skin scraping
- Sprains and torn ligaments and joints
- Facial injuries, including eye and mouth injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Sickness from food products
Because of their still-developing bodies, medical care for young children sometimes requires extra care to allow their bodies to heal properly and to prevent them from exacerbating their injuries.
Seeking Compensation for Child Injuries
Children have the same (and sometimes more) rights and protections regarding personal injury and other civil claims as adults. If your child becomes injured, you as the parent can file a claim for compensation on their behalf. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit.
Negligence and Causation
In child injury cases for compensation, negligence is frequently the basis of the claim. It requires your attorney to prove that the injurer failed to exercise the proper care that any reasonable person would have under the circumstances in question.
For example, in a car injury accident case, your child injury attorney could use traffic video surveillance or witness testimony to show that the driver ran a red light or failed to yield.
The next step is to demonstrate that the negligent act caused the injury. Being in a crash with a negligent driver is not enough. The same evidence used to prove negligence is often helpful in proving causation.
When seeking compensation on your behalf, your child injury lawyer will provide evidence of specific damages your child has suffered.
Under Virginia law, you may recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Long-term care expenses
- Loss of future earning ability
- Costs related to home and vehicle alterations related to the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Because they are so young, these damages tend to have a deeper impact on children versus adults.
For example, losing the ability to be gainfully employed throughout adult life results in decades of lost income earning potential and should be figured into calculations for damages when appropriate.
In the same vein, a young child facing a long-term disability may miss out on many of the usual occurrences in life that bring joy, such as participating in sports and starting a family.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a claim. However, the special statute of limitation rules applies in cases involving minors.
Under normal circumstances, injured parties have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for their damages. Accordingly, insurance negotiations outside of trial occur within this time. After the two years have elapsed, the claim is likely invalid.
However, when a child is the victim of a personal injury, the statute of limitations does not begin running until the child becomes an adult if the child personally brings the claim or lawsuit. However, if the parents bring the claim on behalf of the minor, then the normal statute of limitations applies.
For this reason, speaking with an attorney soon after a child injury is important for preserving your claim. Every day, valid claims go uncompensated because of the statute of limitations. Don’t lose out on the financial resources you need to cover your damages. Contact Emroch Kilduff today to speak to a child injury lawyer.
Important Child Injury Care Considerations
Young children’s bodies have remarkable healing capabilities. Sadly, some children suffer long-term and permanent injuries that affect them most of their lives. Parents have the overwhelming burden of providing the care their injured children need, which is a responsibility that could last for years or even decades.
As such, an experienced child injury lawyer works diligently and fights hard to get clients the resources to cover their medical care throughout the years and compensate them for their lost income.
Unfortunately, insurance companies typically do not have the best interests of the injured child in mind when making settlement decisions. It takes a seasoned child injury lawyer to force them to pay the proper compensation.
Seeking Representation After a Child Injury in Virginia
An injury to a child can turn a family’s life upside down. During the subsequent chaos, parents want nothing more than to spend more time with their children but must allocate some of their precious daily hours to the claims process.
Having an advocate represent you will remove the pressures of seeking compensation and allow you to spend more time attending to your family.
Emroch Kilduff fights for and wins maximum compensation for clients. Let our child injury attorney review your case to see what compensation is available.
Resolving a personal injury claim' a "good experience?" Absolutely! The E&K Team brought exceptional knowledge, skill, and resource as we moved through my case step by step. Issues were resolved with timeliness, quality, and integrity, always focusing on me as the client. E&K was a gift, and I would recommend them with the highest regard. Thank you, Ward, Marla and all! - Maia Kling