Children and Personal Injury Cases
What are the particular legal challenges and legal protections that come into play when children are injured in accidents? How does the law treat these especially vulnerable people?
When children are involved in accidents, generally they have the same rights to compensation for damages—pain and suffering, permanent injury, or disability—as in personal injury claims filed by adults. A parent also has a separate right to be compensated for medical bills paid on behalf of a child. Personal injury law, however, generally assumes that children, unlike adults, have not yet developed the ability to form reasoned judgments (alllaw.com). Obviously, children cannot negotiate personal injury settlements, so parents or a personal injury attorney are allowed to negotiate on behalf of the child.
Who is responsible for the injury to the child? “When a child is injured, it’s easy to point fingers,” says enjuris.com. In some child injury cases, parents and guardians can be held legally responsible for “negligent supervision,” that is, negligence in their actions or failure to act. Negligent supervision applies to cases where a child is harmed due to improper care, but it also applies when children intentionally harm other children, and the adult responsible for them did not intervene or prevent the injury.
Cases of negligent supervision commonly include:
- Failure to secure dangerous items such as guns, chemicals, weapons, poisons
- Allowing the child to use equipment, vehicles, machinery or other items unsuitable for children
- Failure to protect the child from physical or emotional harm from another child, animal or other known danger
- Failure to protect the child from threats in their environment, such a traffic, pools, or open windows
- Improper care of a sick or injured child
Keeping a gun in an unsafe container accessible to children, or failing to have proper pool safety equipment, for instance, are situations where causation will be satisfied fairly quickly.
Daycare workers, school personnel and other responsible caregivers are at risk of negligent supervision lawsuits. The Texas penal code also has a section dedicated to statutes covering “Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual” in group care settings.
At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.