Even with modern safety measures and an increased public focus on protecting children from avoidable harm, accidents involving minors unfortunately still occur. If your child was recently hurt in an accident caused by a reckless or careless adult, you may have many questions about what legal options you have available and what course of action to take.
Personal injury cases filed on behalf of underage accident victims can be uniquely complex, so it is crucial for parents to seek help from a skilled injury attorney when pursuing this process. At Smith Hulsey, a knowledgeable Oakwood child injury lawyer could work tirelessly on your family’s behalf to ensure the person responsible for your child’s accident is held accountable.
To a large extent, lawsuits for child injuries work the same way as claims based on injuries to adults. In both circumstances, the party seeking compensation must prove that their named defendant(s) engaged in legally negligent behavior by breaching a duty of care owed to someone else and directly causing their injuries as a result.
However, because children under 18 cannot take legal action on their own behalf, their parent(s) or guardian(s) generally must do so for them. When a parent or guardian acts as plaintiff in this sort of case, they may seek recovery solely for the benefit of their injured children, which means they can only factor their own losses into the claim if those losses stemmed from the care they needed to provide to their child after their injury. For example, a parent could seek compensation for medical expenses paid on the child’s behalf, or time missed from work to care for the child while they were recovering.
Furthermore, as an Oakwood attorney could explain, adults may sometimes owe duties of care to children that they would not owe to adults who were injured in the same way. For instance, property owners with “attractive nuisances” on their land like swimming pools have a duty to secure that property so curious children do not trespass and hurt themselves. A property owner could bear liability for an injury to a trespassing child when they would not be at fault for an injury to a trespassing adult.
Another unique element of child injury claims involves the filing deadlines applicable under state law. For most personal injury claims, Official Code of Georgia §9-3-33 sets a deadline of two years after the date of the accident for an injured victim to bring a lawsuit.
This same filing period applies to parents and guardians filing suit on their injured child’s behalf. However, an injured minor who wants to eventually file suit on their own behalf may have up to two years after their 18th birthday to start the litigation process, regardless of when their injury actually occurred. A child accident lawyer in Oakwood could further explain the applicable deadlines for a particular claim during a confidential consultation.
Every parent’s worst nightmare is their child getting hurt in an accident, especially if that accident was preventable. If you find yourself in this situation, you may have a right to hold the person who harmed your child financially liable for every consequence of their actions.
An Oakwood child injury lawyer could stand by your side and help pursue legal action on behalf of your family. Call Smith Hulsey today to learn more.
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