Q: How soon should I talk to a child injury attorney if my child has been hurt?
A: Once you have the medical issues handled, the answer is immediately. A fast and through investigation by professionals – along with preservation of evidence – is vital. The sooner that witnesses can be questioned, photographs can be taken, the scene can be investigated and other factors can be examined, the more likely it is that a valid claim can be brought. Plus, many public entities have by law limited the amount of time that claims can be made against them. The attorneys at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm can advise you in this area and make sure you file on time, if it comes to that. The last thing you want is to decide to file a claim and then find out it’s too late – or find out evidence has become “lost.”
Q: What can I sue for? What damages are recoverable?
A: For children, it is generally the same as for adults. Recoverable damages may include past, present and future medical expenses, any loss of earnings (including impairment of future earning capacity) and future and past pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be a significant factor.
Q: How long will it take?
A: That is difficult to say, but keep in mind that most child injury cases settle out of court. However, your legal team needs to prepare as if you are going to trial – the better it does at that job, the less the chance of actually getting to trial.
Q. If my child is injured through the negligence of another, can she or he bring a claim?
A: Yes. Under the law, children have the same rights – to be compensated for injuries, for example – that adults possess. The one exception many of claims for medical bills before the child turns 18. Those rights are the parent’s. But if one of your children is hurt by a defective product, in the care of others, in a car crash, because of medical malpractice or because of an unsafe condition of a building, they are entitled to recover for pain, suffering, loss of past and future earnings, and future medical expense. Our attorneys can help make sure those rights are protected.
Q: What should I do if one of my children is injured?
A: Getting the child away from any harm and immediately getting proper medical care are the two immediate objectives. Once you are certain your child’s injuries are being taken care of by a qualified professional, it’s time to ask yourself – and others – if there is a possibility that the injury was the fault of someone else. Was a defective product involved? Was there an unsafe condition of property? Did somebody in charge not do their job? Was somebody not properly trained? If the answer appears to be yes, an investigation should begin immediately. This is best undertaken by skilled investigators and experts in consultation with skilled personal injury legal counsel. They know what to look for, and they know evidence can sometimes disappear quickly. It’s critical to get all evidence as quickly as possible, to talk to witnesses if possible and get pictures.
Q: Do I have to file a lawsuit to make a claim to be compensated?
A: No. Many cases involving injury to children can be settled without the necessity of actually filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits sometimes involve delays and court proceedings, and when a strong legal team begins taking action, early favorable settlements can happen. If not, you want a legal team ready to fight for you and take your case to trial.
Q: What will it be like for my child if we need to bring a lawsuit on their behalf?
A: In most cases the involvement of a child in any lawsuit is relatively limited. Most evidence and testimony is presented by adults, including parents. In most cases the courts are sensitive to childrens’ feelings and needs. In addition, our law firm is experienced in making children feel comfortable and protecting their rights.
Q: In Florida, is the Statute of Limitations different for children and adults? Does it vary according to the type of case?
A: Yes. You will want to consult with an experienced Florida child injury attorney on this, but children in some cases may be allowed additional years to bring a claim. But, be sure to quickly consult with a skilled Florida child injury attorney so you know your rights.
Q: My daughter was hurt when our new playground equipment broke. How can I find an attorney?
A: Product liability claims such as this are complex to investigate. You need the help of a skilled attorney – one with the resources to quickly find a competent expert to examine the equipment and determine why it has failed.
Q: What about when a child dies and it’s somebody else’s fault? Can I sue or bring a claim?
A: Absolutely. Parents and perhaps other family members can file a claim for the loss of the enjoyment of life with the child who has died. Product liability, car crashes, and medical malpractice can all lead to tragedy. The right law firm can help.