Kids often suffer various minor, and not-so-minor, injuries. Scrapes, cuts, and broken bones are almost inevitable as the combination of a growing body, an undeveloped brain, and a need for active play puts children in dangerous situations.
However, sometimes children suffer severe injuries due to the negligence of other parties. In such cases, the law makes the responsible parties liable for the injured child’s losses. Although, assessing the extent of a child’s losses is complicated and often requires the knowledge and skills of a Cambria County personal injury attorney. If your child suffered an injury due to another person’s carelessness, you could benefit from speaking to a legal professional. A Cambria County child injury lawyer could help you explore your legal options and initiate a claim
When a child is injured, one of the most important considerations is whether the parents should sue on the child’s behalf or wait until the child reaches the age of majority, when he or she could bring their own lawsuit. Each option has pros and cons. Faced with such a critical matter, it could be beneficial for parents to discuss the alternatives with a seasoned Cambria County child injury attorney to make an informed decision.
Parents could file a claim on behalf of their child and seek damages for the cost of the child’s medical treatment, time lost at work to care for the child, loss of the child’s companionship, and other expenses. They also could seek compensation for the child’s pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and other intangible factors. The statute of limitations, according to 42 P.S. § 5524, grants parents or legal guardians two years to bring a lawsuit seeking damages for a child’s injury.
Conversely, a child who suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence may bring a lawsuit within two years of his or her 18th birthday. It does not matter how much time has passed since the accident occurred. Waiting for the child to come of age before filing a lawsuit could be favorable because the long-term results of the injury are likely to be apparent. However, if the injury occurred when the child was quite young, evidence to prove negligence might not be available when the child comes of age.
An injured person must prove negligence to support a claim for damages. In general, negligence is failing to use reasonable caution to avoid a loss to someone else. However, there is an enhanced duty of care for situations involving children. A Cambria County child accident attorney could evaluate the circumstances of an injury to determine whether negligence had a role in a specific accident.
For example, even though property owners generally have no obligations if a trespasser is injured on their property, they do have a duty to prevent trespassing children from gaining access to dangerous features on the property that could be attractive to kids. Similarly, items designed to be used by children must be safe, and remain harmless, even if the child does not use them as intended.
The Commonwealth follows a doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This doctrine allows a negligent plaintiff to collect the portion of their damages caused by other negligent parties. When the injured party is a child, different rules apply. Because of their immaturity and incomplete development, children under age 7 are never held liable for their actions. If a child is between the age of 8 and 14, a court will consider his or her potential responsibility for an accident on a case-by-case basis.
Facing a child’s severe injury is a prospect that keeps many parents up at night. If you are in this situation, you should concentrate on getting your child the best care possible and supporting their recovery. Negotiating with insurance companies should not be on your agenda.
A Cambria County child injury lawyer at Marcus & Mack has the experience to determine the course of action that is best for your family, and especially your child. To preserve all your rights, schedule a free consultation as soon as possible after your child’s accident.
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