Legal Options For Injury Victims Under The Age Of 18
Children and teens in the United States sustain about 14 million reported injuries every year. When a child is injured because an adult was negligent, it can powerfully impact that child’s family – either temporarily or permanently. This is where a Boston premises liability lawyer can help.
Parents may have to alter lifestyles, schedules, and even their careers to care for an injured child. The injured child’s brothers and sisters may feel like they’re being ignored. In a worst-case scenario, a family may come to believe that a “regular” life will not be possible for them again.
An injured child’s parents and siblings can suffer both emotional and financial stress, and in some cases, that combination of pressures can bring a family to the breaking point – at precisely the moment when a severely injured child needs his or her family to be strong.
IF A CHILD IS INJURED BY NEGLIGENCE, WHAT ARE A FAMILY’S RIGHTS?
When another person’s negligence is the cause of a child’s serious injury, what rights and what legal recourse does a parent or a guardian have? After a serious injury, how can parents and guardians here in Boston, Massachusetts responsibly act in their children’s best long-term interests?
The most important thing for parents and guardians to know is that if someone who is negligent – an impaired driver, a distracted teacher or coach, or even a negligent dog owner – causes a child’s injury, a guardian or parent must seek sound legal guidance and representation at once.
In the state of Massachusetts, a parent should reach out immediately to an experienced Boston personal injury attorney. An accident attorney can discuss your family’s options and negotiate for the reimbursement and justice that you and your child are entitled to and deserve.
HOW ARE KIDS MOST FREQUENTLY INJURED IN BOSTON?
What injuries are common among children? Kids suffer the majority of dog bites and swimming pool injuries as well as a big percentage of bicycle-related injuries. And like adults, they’re hurt in traffic crashes, by defective consumer items, and by negligent healthcare providers.
The most catastrophic injuries suffered by children and teenagers include:
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- injuries that require amputation
- spinal cord injuries
- multiple bone fractures
- serious neck and back injuries
Brain damage can be temporary or permanent. Paralysis can be complete or partial. The most catastrophic injuries may lead to amputation, disfigurement, and/or permanent disability. A child might face a life-long need for medical treatments, surgeries, and full-time care.
WHERE ARE KIDS INJURED? WHERE ARE ADULTS NEGLIGENT?
Playgrounds, water parks, gyms, and other commercial facilities provide fun for families – and also genuine risks. If an adult who is designated to supervise your child in any of these settings is negligent or distracted, and the child is injured, contact a personal injury lawyer at once.
Of course, schools and daycare centers are obligated to protect their students. However, if an inexperienced or unqualified adult is designated to supervise children, injuries are more likely to occur, and if an injury happens, a guardian or a parent must have sound and reliable legal advice.
When another person’s negligence is the reason for a child’s injury, a guardian or parent may file a personal injury claim on the child’s behalf. Injured victims of negligence are entitled by the law in Massachusetts to victims compensation for medical costs and all other related losses and damages.
WHEN SHOULD A GUARDIAN OR A PARENT SPEAK TO AN INJURY LAW FIRM IN BOSTON?
When a child is injured because an adult was negligent in Boston, Massachusetts, the time limit (the statute of limitations) for taking legal action is different from the standard three-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases that involve adults.
A victim has until his or her 21st birthday to pursue a personal injury case arising from an injury that happened when the victim was a child. Massachusetts law presumes that a personal injury case should not be thrown out because of a failure to bring a claim while the victim was a child.
But don’t wait three years if your child has been injured because another adult was negligent. Speak to a Boston personal injury lawyer at once.
WHY ARE SOME SETTLEMENTS SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW?
In this state, minors do not have the legal ability to sign an enforceable legal contract, including an out-of-court settlement agreement or a release of liability form, the parents have to sign on behalf of a minor. That’s one reason why personal injury cases that involve injured minors in Massachusetts are subject to judicial review.
In a case that involves an injured minor, permission must be granted by a judge before an out-of-court settlement of $10,000 or more can be finalized.
Mandatory court approval ensures that these insurance settlement agreements are enforceable and that the insurance companies will not be sued when the injury victims reach age 18.
Mandatory settlement approval also gives the court an opportunity to review the case and the settlement and to ensure that the child’s best interests are being fully protected.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST A FAMILY TO SEEK JUSTICE?
What does it cost for a guardian or a parent to take legal action on an injured child’s behalf? Personal injury attorneys in the state of Massachusetts provide the parents and guardians of injured children with a free first consultation and case review.
A lawyer will review the facts in the case – for no cost or obligation – and suggest the best way forward. When you bring a personal injury action on a child’s behalf, your attorney is paid an attorney’s fee only after you receive the compensation that your family needs and deserves.
If medical care will continue to be needed in the future, a good personal injury lawyer will fight on a family’s behalf for the maximum available compensation.
WHAT IS A PARENT OR GUARDIAN’S HIGHEST PRIORITY?
Every legal matter that involves an injured child will be complicated. Here in Massachusetts, if you are a guardian or a parent and your child has been injured because someone else was negligent, speak as quickly as possible to a qualified Boston personal injury attorney.
If your son or daughter has been injured because another adult was negligent, your family has the right to be compensated, and the law is on your side. Get legal help at once if your child has been harmed by negligence. Nothing is a higher priority than your child’s health and future.
Eric J. Parker, the Managing Partner of Parker Scheer LLP, has over 30 years’ experience representing victims in complex personal injury cases. He is active in many legal associations and has won many awards for performance and principles. Eric believes in giving back to the community and supports young scholars and law students by acting as faculty and mentor to them.