Most parents do their best to protect their children from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes dangerous situations arise that are beyond your control .
When another party’s conduct contributes to a situation or incident that harms a child, the parents often have options for legal recourse. A Lafayette child injury lawyer could offer support throughout the process and ensure you receive a settlement that appropriately compensates your child’s injuries. Discuss your case with a dedicated injury attorney at Tomeny | Best today.
Potentially Liable Parties in Child Injury Cases
Anyone whose negligence contributes to a situation that harms a child could be liable for damages. A Lafayette child injury attorney must prove that the defendant did not use the degree of caution or care that a reasonably careful person would have used in similar circumstances.
Who is liable in a particular case depends on how the child sustained the injury. Vehicle accidents are a common cause of child injuries. When a child is hurt in a crash, depending on the specifics of the incident, the liable parties could include the:
- At-fault driver
- At-fault driver’s employer if they were working when the accident happened
- Vehicle manufacturer, if mechanical failure was an issue
- Car seat or child restraint manufacturer, if the device malfunctioned
If road design or maintenance was a factor in the crash, or the accident involved a public school bus, a local government also could be a liable party.
Many accidents involving children happen while the child is at daycare, school, or an after-school activity. Teachers and others with a responsibility to care for children must demonstrate appropriate caution in supervising them, considering the age of the child. A degree of care that is reasonable when supervising teenagers is not adequate when supervising elementary-aged children or younger. Someone who fails to exercise appropriate supervision could be liable in the event that the child becomes hurt.
Filing a Child Injury Claim
Louisiana allows an adult one year from the injury date to file a lawsuit against the responsible party seeking damages. However, this law does not apply to minors. When a minor reaches age 18, they have one year from their birthday to file a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries that occurred when they were underage.
A parent can file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor child, and if they do so, the one-year statute of limitations applies. Parents should consult a Lafayette attorney as quickly as possible after their child suffers an injury. In some cases, such as birth injuries, it might not be apparent that a child suffered an injury until they miss developmental milestones more than a year later. In such cases, Louisiana Revised Statutes § 9:5628 may give parents three years to discover the injury and bring a lawsuit on behalf of their child.
Available Damages in a Child Injury Lawsuit
When a parent brings a lawsuit on their child’s behalf, they have the authority to settle the action, and most lawsuits settle before trial. Some go to trial, and the child receives a jury verdict for damages. Courts have an interest in ensuring the injured child receives the benefit of a settlement or verdict, so special procedures apply to handling the money in these cases.
If the award is less than $10,000, the money goes directly to the parent or whoever cares for the child. If the parent sought reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages while caring for the child, the court might agree that a portion of settlement funds go to cover those expenses. Other funds, such as money to compensate for the child’s pain, disability, lost opportunities, limited joy in life, future medical expenses, reduced future earning capacity, and other losses, belong to the child.
In many cases, a court will appoint a third party to manage a child’s settlement until they reach the age of 18. Sometimes, parents can access some of the money to meet a specific need, such as a therapy pool for the child or a vehicle that can transport a wheelchair. Parents should discuss the nature of their child’s settlement or verdict with a Lafayette attorney so they are prepared and can make realistic plans for their child’s care.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lafayette Child Injury Attorney
Children have limited legal rights, but as a parent, you could act for them. If someone’s careless or reckless act harmed your child, you have options.
Do not allow a negligent party to get away with harming your child. Contact a Lafayette child injury lawyer today. Our team at Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers is here to make things right for your family.