It is distressing enough to suffer an accident that causes a serious injury or even a permanent disability but that level of personal trauma is magnified when it happens to a child who has their entire life ahead of them.
Sadly, it is estimated that tens of millions of children suffer injuries each year and some of the incidents reported are life-changing for the whole family.
There are so many potential scenarios where a child could sustain an injury, such as at school or when playing outside, with trampoline injuries a noticeable source of serious spinal injuries.
You can search for more information about negligence circumstances or consult a lawyer who has experience with this type of claim. In the meantime, here is an overview of what to do if your child is injured and how you might be able to claim compensation.
Who is to blame?
Seeking medical treatment for your child is a key priority immediately after they have suffered an injury in an accident and you will want to get a professional medical assessment so that you have a clear idea about the extent of their injuries and what the long term prognosis is.
At some point, shortly after the accident, your attention will turn to determine who might be responsible for the injury.
A prime question that will need to be answered is whether the injury was caused as a result of an intentional act or whether there is a case of negligence to answer.
A clear example of an intentional act would be when your child is subjected to bullying and suffers actual physical harm. In this scenario, it could be the case that the school might be responsible for failing to prevent the incident, or the parents of the bullying student could potentially be liable.
Even if the injury seems purely accidental there is always the prospect that it might have been caused by some underlying failure to take adequate safety precautions.
Apportioning blame can be a challenging task and that is why a lawyer is often a good idea in order to handle your claim establish who might be liable.
Fun and laughter can turn to tragedy in a matter of moments and some clear examples of when this happens involve children playing on trampolines or enjoying themselves in a swimming pool.
Such is the extent of the problem with trampoline injuries it prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue guidance that recommended avoiding giving children access to a trampoline at home.
Spinal injuries are always a possibility when the equipment is not used correctly or children are allowed to play without adequate adult supervision. Injury to a child’s spinal cord could cause permanent paralysis and that means a lifetime of medical treatment and costs that need to be paid for.
It could be that your child was injured while playing on a trampoline at a neighbor or friend’s property and that opens up the possibility that the property owner might be negligent.
Proving liability is not always straightforward and there are a number of key tests and questions that can be used to confirm whether the neighbor or friend’s parent could have prevented the accident happening.
When age is a factor
Another point to consider is the age of the child and whether it could be argued that they were old enough to have appreciated the danger they were putting themselves in.
Different states have different interpretations with regard to when a child is considered capable of being negligent and the general guide is that a child is presumed not to have the ability to be negligent up to the age of fourteen.
Beyond that age, your teenage child might still avoid being considered negligent if it could be argued that they were not able to fully appreciate the danger they were putting themselves in.
It could also sometimes be argued that a parent has neglected their duties in failing to provide a reasonable level of supervision which could have prevented the accident from happening.
Again, these conditions are subject to interpretation and it again emphasizes why it is advisable to consider using the services of a lawyer who has a clear understanding of what constitutes negligence and how to counter the accusation if the finger of suspicion is unfairly pointing in your direction.
What sort of settlement?
If your lawyer is successful in proving negligence and establishing who is the liable party that needs to pay compensation the next obvious question is how much?
This is an emotionally challenging question as well as a tricky legal formula that needs to be calculated and the reality is that no amount of money can really and truly compensate your child for their future prospects being diminished so severely by a spinal or another serious injury.
The mechanics of arriving at a compensation figure often revolves around previous settlements awarded and using the amount of compensation paid as a guide to what is appropriate in similar circumstances.
Meeting their future needs
When it comes to trying to reach a suitable settlement compensation figure there are plenty of considerations that have to be factored into the calculation.
If your child will require ongoing therapy and treatment and now has special needs in terms of adapting the home to meet their needs these all come at a price.
There is also the situation where you might have to give up your job or career prospects in order to be able to care for your child, which again would create a seismic change in your financial circumstances.
You can quickly see that calculating a suitable compensation number is a major challenge and that is why it is suggested that a lawyer with experience of handling these complex cases would be a good call to protect you and your child’s financial future.
If your child suffers a traumatic or life-changing injury it is clearly a very difficult scenario to deal with and that is a good reason why you might want professional guidance on how to claim compensation while you focus on meeting your child’s immediate needs.