Severe childhood injuries cause devastation to the child’s family and may impact the child’s life forever. If your child has suffered a needless birth injury as a result of negligence of a doctor, nurse, and/or hospital will need help. Determining appropriate compensation requires the experience of a Philadelphia child injury lawyer. A compassionate and experienced personal injury attorney could review your case and determine how to proceed based on your unique circumstances.
Unfortunately, many children experience serious, even catastrophic, injuries due to the actions of others. When that occurs, the negligent party may be liable to pay monetary damages for medical care, pain and suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, future medical costs, punitive damages and other types of compensation for damages that are recoverable.
Proving Negligence in Cases Involving Children
In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs in personal injury claims bear the burden to prove defendant negligence. In general, an injured person shows negligence by proving that:
- The defendant owed them a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty
- An accident or injury resulted
- The claimant suffered actual harm because of it
Evaluating birth injuries for negligence, a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer will look at the actions of the doctor(s), nurse(s) and hospital throughout labor, time of birth, and stay in the hospital to determine if there is a potential medical malpractice case. Examination of the incident is done through the lens of the standard of care that is appropriate, having the child’s entire medical record reviewed by an expert to determine if the appropriate stranded was followed.
When the injured person is a child, this analysis changes in several ways. Since children lack the experience, maturity, or reasoning skills to evaluate risk, in most situations, the duty to keep the child safe is enhanced. For example, property owners must take steps to ensure that children cannot gain access to their swimming pools, trampolines, or other features that are considered an “attractive nuisance.” They could be liable if a child is injured, even if the minor was trespassing at the time.
Manufacturers of children products must also use the utmost caution to ensure the item is safe. If an item designed for children’s use cannot withstand predictable misuse and a child is injured, the manufacturer could be held liable. A Philadelphia lawyer could review a child injury case to determine if they have grounds for a suit.
Statutes of Limitations in Child Injury Cases
Decisions about when to sue are also more complicated when the injured person is a minor. People may not file suit in Pennsylvania until they reach the age of majority, however suit can be brought on behalf of the injured child by their parent(s) or legal guardian.
Children are given a significant amount of time to bring a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania. Generally a parent may bring suit for a personal injury matter at any point after the incident, all the way to two years after the child’s 18th birthday. The legislature allows for this extended Statute of limitations for minor’s because injuries can take a significant time to mature and ascertain the extent of the damages suffered. For example a small child who suffers a broken bone needs to be consistently evaluated for effects on the child’s growth plates – something that may take significant time to ascertain and will last a lifetime for the child.
A child who has reached the age of majority may bring a lawsuit for personal injuries suffered as a child within two years of their 18th birthday, regardless of how long ago the accident happened. A benefit to this strategy is that the long-term impact of the accident will be more apparent when the child reaches adulthood, which might lead to a damage award that more adequately addresses all the child’s damages.
Parents may be able to bring suit for damages for expenses they incurred in caring for their harmed child. These include the costs of medical care, wages the parents lost if they took time off work to care for the child, loss of the child’s companionship, and other losses.
Get in Touch with a Philadelphia Child Injury Attorney
Parents should not try to handle dealing with a child injury case alone. There are many complicated factors in these cases, and it takes a well experienced legal professional to obtain a settlement or verdict for damages that adequately compensates a family for an injury to a child.
Get started on your child’s claim by contacting a Philadelphia child injury lawyer. Contact our lawyers today for a free case review.