As hard as most parents try to protect our children, it is not always possible to prevent injuries—especially injuries caused by another person's negligent or deliberate act. When another person is responsible for causing the injury, whether because of a car accident, dog bite, unsafe condition in a playground, school, camp, daycare center, or park; or another act or omission that caused the child to be hurt, the child has the right to recover compensation for damages. Because a child under the age of eighteen lacks the legal capacity to bring a lawsuit, the claim has to be initiated by an adult, usually a parent or a guardian, usually with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Child Cases Are Different
If your child has been seriously injured and you want to claim a monetary recovery for damages for the child, you should consult an attorney who restricts his or her practice to personal injury and wrongful death cases and has extensive experience in handling cases involving children. Child cases can be different from adult cases. One example is in situations where a defense is raised that the child was partially responsible for the accident. Generally, a child under the age of 7 is considered by law to be legally incapable of contributory negligence, and only rarely does this defense succeed when the child is between 7 and 14. Furthermore, your attorney must familiar with drafting a minor's compromise petition that meets the requirements of the court.
The Insurance Company
Your lawyer will handle all dealings with the insurance company in order to protect your child's best interest. It is important that you as parent or guardian of an injured child avoid giving an insurance adjustor a statement or signing any releases unless your attorney has instructed you to do so, or you could damage your child's case. If you accept an offer and later find out your child's injuries are worse than you first realized, you can't claim additional compensation. You should refer all requests for information by insurance company representatives to your lawyer.
Minor's Compromise Petition
The settlement offered in a child injury case, called a minor's compromise petition, has to be approved by the court. The minor's compromise states in writing the amount offered in compensation, where the money be held in trust for the child, and the name of the trustee. The compromise also states the amount to be applied toward medical bills, to reimburse parents for out-of-pocket expenses, and to the attorney. The balance is held in trust until the child reaches the age of 18, although in some situations the court may approve accessing it for the child's benefit prior to the 18th birthday.
New York and Pennsylvania Child Injury Attorneys
In Northern Pennsylvania and New York's Southern Tier, the attorneys at the law firm of Steve Proudfoot in Elmira, N.Y. offer the legal knowledge and years of experience to be able to negotiate a settlement that will cover all of your child's damages, both physical and psychological, and to structure the minor's compromise to best protect your child's interests. If the insurance company doesn't offer a fair amount to cover the full range of losses your child has suffered, we'll take it to a jury. We're committed to justice for children and adults alike, but are especially passionate about giving our youngest clients the help they need to ensure the best possible future after suffering a serious injury. Call Proudfoot Law today. We accept cases on a contingency fee arrangement, so you pay nothing until we win money for your child.