When your child suffers a serious injury, it’s natural for you to experience various emotions. Grief and anger will combine to form a deep-seated desire for justice, and your fear regarding your child’s future will drive you to search for every option for securing your child’s well-being.
Fortunately, parents of minors can direct a child injury attorney to pursue compensation from those responsible for injuring their children, meaning you can act on your child’s behalf. Any compensation you earn can ease your financial burdens and ensure your child receives the necessary medical treatment.
A Bronx child injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond has honed their knowledge and gained the experience needed in dealing with insurers and at-fault parties to successfully get the compensation your child deserves under the law.
What Are Leading Fatal and Non-Fatal Child Injuries?
The leading cause of death for children in the U.S. is unintentional injuries. The leading causes of these fatal child injuries include suffocation, drowning, and traffic accidents. Millions more suffer non-fatal injuries.
Often, non-fatal injuries are the result of ongoing neglect. Children, particularly toddlers, require supervision at all times, but sadly, supervisors occasionally fail to look after them, allowing them to be injured in what could have been easily-avoidable accidents. Worse yet, children can suffer injuries due to being bullied by other children or due to forms of physical and psychological abuse.
The direct causes of non-fatal injuries are very different from those of fatal injuries, and they include:
Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children of all ages, and fall injuries can result from a same-elevation fall or a fall from a height.
Same-elevation falls include both slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents happen when a child loses their footing and their feet slip out from underneath them. Typically, the child falls backward, hitting their head, neck, and back against the ground.
Slip and fall accidents can occur on (and because of) any slick substances, such as:
- Liquid spills
- Snow or ice
- Sand, dirt, or gravel
Trip and fall accidents happen when your child’s foot catches on something, and they lose their balance, causing them to tumble forward and hit their head or face and scrape their knees. They can also injure their hands, wrists, elbows, or shoulders if they instinctively reach forward in an attempt to grab something and stop their fall. Trip and fall incidents often occur due to loose carpets, uneven sidewalks, unmarked steps, or unexpected objects on the ground.
Children also suffer falls from a height, otherwise referred to as elevated falls. These happen when a child falls from any above-ground-level location, including playground equipment, stairs, ladders, walls, or trees. An elevated fall magnifies the blow and can cause brain injuries, or paralysis should the fall be significant enough that the child fractures their skull or spine on impact.
Whether an infant rolls off their new bed or a teenager botches the landing of a skateboard trick, the injuries they may sustain can cause severe head, neck, and back injuries. A hard impact after a fall can fracture bones, tear soft tissue, and shake your child’s brain.
Struck by Objects
Children often lack the reflexes to move out of the way of oncoming objects, and they may also lack the situational awareness to even notice the danger they pose.
Common struck-by accidents include being:
- Run over by a vehicle
- Hit by a ball, bat, or another form of sports equipment
- Crashed into by other children
- Struck by falling, rolling, or swinging objects
These collisions and ensuing falls can cause bruises, lacerations, abrasions, broken bones, and even brain injuries depending on the severity. Broken bones can pierce organs and tear nerves, leading to permanent disabilities.
Choking, Drowning, and Suffocation
Should lose oxygen for whatever reason, they can die or suffer permanent brain damage in an alarmingly short time. Unconsciousness occurs within just a minute or two without oxygen, and permanent brain damage can be inflicted in as little as four to five minutes. Brain death happens in as little as eight to ten minutes of oxygen deprivation.
For children, oxygen deprivation can occur in several ways, including:
- Choking on foreign objects or food
- Suffocation in tight spaces
Suffocation is the leading cause of accidental death in infants, and it often happens when infants fall into gaps in something, like an improperly designed crib, and lack the strength to get out.
Fires can endanger your child in many ways, including from:
- Unsecured matches or other flammable materials
- Faulty smoke detectors or fire sprinklers
- Blocked fire exits
Fires pose two dangers. Burns, first and foremost, happen when the tissue gets destroyed due to hot objects or flames, potentially causing infections, dehydration, nerve damage, and scars. Secondly, smoke inhalation can cause suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Your child can suffer brain damage after just a few minutes of consistently inhaling smoke.
Cuts are common injuries for children, but a serious laceration can cause severe blood loss, leading to shock or even death. A deep laceration can sever nerves, causing permanent nerve damage.
Furthermore, nerve damage can produce:
- Loss of sensitivity to temperature or pressure
Cuts can also be infected, which takes place when your body is invaded by bacteria or viruses. These microbes multiply and overwhelm your cells as they compete for resources.
In response, your body triggers swelling and fever. Though these uncomfortable changes are supposed to trap and kill microorganisms, they can also make you very sick. You may suffer low blood pressure and organ damage, and you can even go into septic shock and die.
Children often ingest things they undoubtedly should not, but thankfully, most of the time, these substances cause no harm. Still, in some rare cases, they can cause serious injuries. Caustic chemicals can burn the digestive system, while others can cause problems that range from respiratory distress to cancer.
Several scenarios can cause poisonings, including:
- Tainted food or medication
- Defective child safety caps
- Improper product storage
- Inadequate warning labels
Poor responses can worsen poisonings. For example, if a caretaker ignores the child’s symptoms, the hazardous substance could get carried deeper into the child’s bloodstream and through to vital organs and the brain.
Males between the ages of five and nine years old get bitten by dogs more than any other demographic group. About 50 percent of children are bitten by dogs before they turn 18. And 80 percent of dog bites involve the head or neck.
Children often lack the discretion needed to avoid provoking a dog, and they also lack the strength to fight off an attacking dog. As a result, children experience dog attack injuries far more often, and the bites they suffer are usually more serious.
Who Is Liable for Child Injuries?
When your child is injured, you may be able to pursue a claim against the individual or business that caused your child harm. To do this, you must have a legal theory for how their actions led to your child’s accident.
Some entities that could bear liability for child injuries include:
- Caretakers, such as babysitters
- Daycare centers
- Sports leagues
- Recreation centers
- Public or private schools
- Product manufacturers
- Parents of other children
- Business owners
- Transit operators
The party you seek to sue will depend on how your child was injured. For example, if your child sustained an injury as a victim of a school or private bus accident while on a field trip, you can look to sue the school, the bus company, and the driver who caused the crash.
Proving Liability for Child Injuries
The law grants you three ways to sue for child injuries, and your course of action will depend on how your child was injured. The three options include:
Most child injury claims assert negligence, and to prove negligence, your child injury lawyer must show:
- The other party owed a duty of care to your child
- They breached their legal duty
- Your child suffered damages
- The breach of the party’s duty was what caused the damages
The duty of care refers to the reasonable prudence that a person or business must act with in regard to safeguarding your child’s safety. A landlord, for instance, must take reasonable measures to inspect and repair playground equipment at an apartment building, so if they fail to do so and any damaged equipment injures your child, you can pursue an injury claim.
Intentional torts, such as battery and the deliberate infliction of emotional distress, require you to prove that the person intended to act in a harmful way toward your child.
For example, in a battery case, you must prove the other party intended to make harmful contact with your child, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress, you must show that they intentionally acted in such a way that it directly caused your child’s emotional distress.
Intentional torts do not require that the other party specifically intended to cause your child’s exact injury, but they do require that the party acted intentionally with regard to causing some sort of harm in general.
For instance, suppose that a sports coach shoves your child and causes them to sustain a broken arm in the resulting fall. Your child injury attorney would only need to prove the coach intended to shove your child, as opposed to them having accidentally tripped and fallen into your child. You do not need to prove the coach intended for your child to fall or break their arm, just that they intended to shove them.
Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability means you do not need to prove the other party’s intent or duties. Instead, you only need to prove that they controlled something dangerous and that the dangers or risks involved injured your child. The two most common strict liability claims for child injuries are product liability and dog bites.
When your child is injured by a product, your child injury attorney must prove that the product was defective and that the defect was what caused your child’s injury.
Product defects fall into three categories:
- Defects in the product’s design that make it inherently dangerous
- Defects in the product’s manufacturing process that make the particular product unsafe
- Defects in the warnings or instructions included with the product
In New York, dog bite laws use a combination of strict liability and negligence torts. To recover medical costs for a dog bite injury, your child injury lawyer only needs to prove that the dog bit your child but to receive compensation for any other losses, such as pain, suffering, and disfigurement, you need to prove the owner was negligent in restraining their dog, given the dog’s known viciousness.
Damages Recoverable for Child Injuries
You can recover compensation for two forms of damages for injuries to your child:
Economic losses include all the financial costs involved in your child’s injury, such as:
- Medical expenses for treatment, surgery, therapy, and medication
- Out-of-pocket expenses for home modifications
- Medical equipment rentals
- Wage losses sustained as you care for your child
Your child injury attorney will prove your economic losses with financial statements confirming your costs.
Non-economic losses cover the impacts of your child’s injury on their quality of life.
Some examples of non-economic losses include:
- Physical pain & suffering
- Disfigurement and dismemberment
- Lost sleep
- Disability from going to school or even playing
- Reduction in the enjoyment of life
You do not need to prove the value of your child’s non-economic losses, as, by definition, these losses do not have a readily ascertainable value. Instead, claim adjusters or jurors must reach a reasonable value for these losses based on the severity of your child’s injuries.
Injuries of greater severity will merit greater non-economic damages. Third-degree burns could justify greater compensation than a broken arm. Similarly, your child will receive greater compensation for permanent injuries. Loss of vision in an eye, for example, would result in a larger award than a concussion.
Hire Our Bronx Child Injury Attorney Today
Your child faces an uncertain future after suffering an injury. In the short term, you need to find a way to get your child the medical assistance they need while still earning a living. Over the long term, your child may need therapy, mobility assistance devices, medication, and even a caretaker to help them through their daily life.
These expenses can add up quickly, and if your child’s injuries prevent them from completing school or getting a job, you may need to provide significant assistance for their entire life.
A child injury lawyer knows injury laws inside and out. Through evaluating your case, a child injury lawyer can help determine how much you could pursue on behalf of your child. Contact us at The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond today at (718) 588-2000 for your free case evaluation and learn how we can secure your child’s future with a child injury claim.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
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