Childhood is a time when injuries are common. Kids spend a lot of time in physical play which can result in cuts, scrapes, and even broken bones.
However, if someone else’s negligence caused a significant injury to your child, a Johnstown civil attorney could hold the at-fault party responsible for his or her wrongdoing. A Johnstown child injury lawyer could help you seek funds to cover your child’s medical needs and provide compensation for the emotional impact of your child’s suffering.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
An individual cannot file a lawsuit until they are 18 years old. Someone who is injured in childhood has two years from his or her 18th birthday to bring a lawsuit seeking damages, regardless of how old he or she was when the incident occurred. However, with the passage of time evidence gets lost and witnesses could die or move away. Delay often weakens a personal injury case.
On the other hand, parents could seek reimbursement for the cost of the child’s medical care and related expenses, and parental income lost while caring for the child. 42 P.S. Code §5524 requires parents to file their lawsuit, seeking damages their own losses (such as medical bills for which the parents are responsible) within two years of their child’s injury, regardless of the child’s age. This is a more stringent deadline on parents, because the child’s claim arising from the injuries can be filed as late as the child’s 20th birthday Parents could also bring suit on behalf of their child and receive damages for his or her pain and suffering, diminished capacity to enjoy life, disability, disfigurement, and other results of the injury.
Notably, if parents choose to file a claim on behalf of their child, their child will lose the right to sue for these losses as an adult. Deciding when to file a child injury suit and what losses to claim are complex decisions that parents should make in conjunction with a seasoned Johnstown lawyer.
Determining Negligence When a Child is Injured
Parties are negligent in the legal sense if they do not behave with the ordinary care others would apply in the circumstances, and a verifiable loss to someone else results. Under the law, a negligent party is responsible for paying the losses of anyone harmed by his or her careless behavior.
When a child is involved, parties have an enhanced duty to be careful. The law recognizes that children lack the self-control, perception, and judgment to perceive risk and respond prudently. For example, products meant for children’s use must not have choking hazards, because children have the well-known tendency to put objects in their mouths.
Depending on the cause of the minor’s injury, a Johnstown attorney could file a civil claim against a:
- School or daycare
- Club or camp
- Public pool
- Property owner
- Product manufacturer or pharmaceutical company
- Health care provider
- Local government
It is essential to contact a local lawyer as soon as possible in order to preserve evidence.
Could a Minor be Considered Partially At-Fault?
The behavior of an adult plaintiff might be an issue in a personal injury lawsuit. Under the theory of comparative negligence, plaintiffs are responsible for the portion of their damages they caused through their own carelessness. If the injured person is a child, the analysis is different.
A child age 7 or younger cannot be negligent under any circumstances. A child between ages 8 and 14 might be found negligent, depending on the circumstances, but a court will not hold a child to the same standards of prudent behavior expected of an adult. Instead, that child’s conduct will be compared to that of the average child of similar age.
A court could find a child age 15 and older to be negligent. However, a capable injury attorney in Johnstown could present evidence showing that the teenager lacked the maturity and judgment to be held fully responsible for his or her actions.
Schedule a Consultation with a Johnstown Child Injury Attorney
The stress and pain of witnessing your child’s suffering is devastating for parents. Although you might feel helpless, you are not. A lawsuit against the negligent parties who caused your child’s accident could provide funds necessary to properly treat your child.
A compassionate Johnstown child injury lawyer understands what you are going through and wants to help. Schedule a consultation at Marcus & Mack as soon as possible to discuss your case.