Spokane Child Injury Attorney
When it comes to children, nothing is more important than their safety. As a parent, we buy them car seats and bike helmets and try to make sure they’re safe at all times. We put an enormous amount of effort into researching daycares and babysitters for our children, but what happens when our child is injured due to someone else’s negligence? The child is not in a position to defend their own rights, therefore it up to the parent or legal guardian to pursue a claim on behalf of the injured child. Dealing with an injury as a child is not the same as dealing with an injury as an adult. It’s important to make sure the child’s future needs are preserved as well. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can help you ensure that the child receives the maximum amount available to cover any and all current and future expenses.
Causes of Injuries to Children
Common causes and types of child injuries and deaths include:
- Premises Liability (from playground or amusement park injuries)
- Daycare injuries
- Dog bites
- Bicycle accidents
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Birth injuries
- Surgical mistakes
- Diagnosing errors
- Fireworks injuries
- Firearm injuries
- Swimming pool drowning/injuries
- Sports injuries
- Car accidents
- Bus accidents
- Product liability (injuries from toys, safety seats, etc.)
Determining Who’s at Fault in a Child Injury Incident
Determining liability for an accident in which a child is injured depends on what type of accident and who the potential liability party may be. Liability in an auto accident would be determined by reviewing the facts of the collision whereas a birth injury may require the involvement of other experts to determine the at-fault party. If your child was injured, a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney is the first step in determining who may be at-fault and therefore liable for the injuries.
How Child Injury Cases Differ From Adult Personal Injury Cases
In Washington State, a child cannot receive a settlement directly and any settlement negotiated on their behalf must be approved by a guardian ad litem and a judge. A guardian ad litem is a court appointed representative of the injured child who will review the medical records, demand process and settlement to ensure the child is receiving a fair and equitable settlement. The guardian ad litem is required even if the case was settled and no lawsuit was filed. Settlements are deposited into locked accounts or sometimes placed in structured annuities, which provide for the settlement, plus interest, to be available at dates to which the guardian ad litem, the Court, and the child’s parents, agree.
Who Has the Right to Pursue the Claim on Behalf of the Child?
A parent or legal guardian may file and pursue a claim on behalf of the child. Children under 18 may not file a claim on their own behalf until they have reached their eighteenth birthday.
Time Limits for Pursuing Child Personal Injury Claims
Washington state provides a three-year statute of limitations for pursuing a claim, however, for a minor child, the timeline is extended and does not begin until the child’s eighteenth birthday. The injured child has three years from their eighteenth birthday to settle the claim or file suit. There are instances when the date of the statute of limitations is difficult to determine, therefore you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you do not lose your right to recover for your injuries.
Knowing How to Deal with the Insurance Companies
Be careful what you say when filing an insurance claim, even if you’re speaking to your insurance company. Insurance companies are not on your side and will look for any opportunity to devalue or deny your injured child’s claim. The very people who are insuring you and who agree to pay you in the event of an accident are also the people who review your claim to see if you have grounds to recover compensation. It’s always best to have very limited conversations with the insurance company and let your attorney discuss any issues with them for you—that way you will be protected.
To learn more read our article 8 Things You Should Know About Insurance Companies.
Get An Informed Legal Perspective On Your Case
Experienced legal counsel can guide you in making choices that are in the best interests of your injured child. The legal system can be difficult to navigate and having competent, knowledgeable counsel on your side will save you the hassle and inconvenience of attempting to figure it out on your own. A childhood injury can have long-term impacts which may not be immediately apparent. It’s important to have the right advocate on your side, which is why you should call Spokane’s Personal Injury Attorney Robert Hahn. Robert Hahn is dedicated to protecting your child today and tomorrow. The consultation is free. Contact us today.