Most kids don’t get through childhood without suffering some type of injury, whether they suffer a broken bone from a fall at the playground or scraped knees from a fall. These injuries are often just a matter of regular childhood impulsiveness and daring behavior. In other situations, a child’s injury is directly linked to someone else’s negligent or intentional conduct.
If your child was hurt in an accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party – whether it be the owner of a dog who bit them, the driver of a car that caused a crash, or even a school where your child was injured. An experienced Long Island child injury attorney will help you determine who may be responsible for your child’s injuries, and whether you can file a personal injury claim. They will then fight for your right to maximum compensation.
Based in Melville, The Odierno Law Firm represents injury victims throughout Long Island – including children. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you never pay a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island child injury lawyer.
Common Child Injury Claims
Unintentional injuries are far too common among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of unintentional injury for kids and teens are motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls.
As a personal injury law firm, we have worked with families who have been injured in all types of ways, including:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle crashes
- Dog bites
- Bus accidents
- Boating accidents
We also assist families whose children have been hurt by dangerous or defective products and those whose children have died as a result of an unintentional injury.
Because children are typically much smaller than adults, they often suffer more serious injuries in these types of accidents. For example, even a child who is properly secured in a car seat or with a seat belt may be more likely to be hurt in a motor vehicle accident. Children also may have greater difficulty making safe choices, such as being careful on a sidewalk with broken concrete or being cautious around water.
Not every child injury is the result of someone else’s wrongdoing. However, if your child was hurt because of something that someone else did – or failed to do – then you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party. The personal injury attorneys of The Odierno Law Firm can help you get a fair settlement for your child’s injuries.
When to Hire a Lawyer for Your Child’s Injury
It can be hard to know when someone else is liable for a child’s injury. For example, if your child fell off of a playground structure and broke their arm, you may not be sure if it was an accident – or if there was something about the design of the playground that was dangerous. An experienced Long Island child injury lawyer can help you figure out whether you have a potential claim.
Most personal injury cases are based on a theory of negligence, which is a type of carelessness. A person is negligent when they fail to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. For example, if a reasonable person would supervise young children in a swimming pool, and a homeowner failed to do so, then they may be liable for any injuries that a child who got hurt or drowned suffered as a result.
In some cases, a personal injury claim is based on intentional or reckless conduct. A good example of such a case is a drunk driving accident. Another example is a company that knew that a particular toy was dangerous to children but chose to not make the necessary modifications because it would be too expensive.
To prove that another party is liable for the accident, your personal injury lawyers will gather evidence such as:
- Witness testimony
- A statement from your child
- A police report, if available
- Medical records
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Security camera footage
- Photos and videos of the injuries
- Medical bills and invoices
- Testimony from expert witnesses
With this evidence, your attorney will put together what is known as a demand letter for the at-fault party’s insurance company. A demand letter lays out the facts of the case, and the legal reasons why the insured is liable, and then demands compensation (damages). Insurance companies usually respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer, which starts the negotiation process.
Over the coming weeks and months, your personal injury attorneys will continue to negotiate with the insurance company. If necessary, they will file a lawsuit to preserve your rights. Once a lawsuit is filed, then the parties will exchange information through discovery and file various legal documents with the court.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. Instead, it is an opportunity for your legal team to continue to push for a fair settlement. If the insurance company won’t offer you the money that you deserve for your child’s injuries, then your lawyers will take the case to trial and ask a jury to return a verdict in your favor.
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved outside of court. While it is possible that your child injury claim will go to trial, it is more likely to settle. A skilled Long Island personal injury lawyer will keep you updated on your case status throughout the process.
Compensation in a Child Injury Case
In any type of personal injury case, the injury victim may be entitled to financial compensation for all of their losses. This may include three different types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages compensate an accident victim for their losses, while punitive damages penalize a wrongdoer who acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic damages pay for your direct financial losses, such as medical expenses, future medical treatment, medical equipment, and property damage. For child injury cases, they may also include the lost wages of a parent or parents who take time off of work to take care of their child after an accident.
Non-economic damages cover the intangible losses that your child has suffered. These damages can be harder to prove, but they are just as important. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress.
Finally, punitive damages are available in cases where the at-fault party acted recklessly or intentionally. For example, if your child’s school bus driver caused an accident while high or drunk, you may be able to seek punitive damages for their injuries. They are not awarded in cases involving negligence.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Child injuries are often devastating, both physically and emotionally. Your child may recover their physical health but may struggle for years with anxiety or other issues. As a parent, it can also be difficult to watch your child experience this kind of pain.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they deserve for their losses. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Long Island child injury attorney, give us a call at 631-973-6221 or fill out our online contact form.
Can I Sue a School for My Child’s Injuries?
If your child was hurt in a school bus accident, on a school playground, while playing sports, or in any other way at school, you may be able to file a claim against the school. However, special rules are in place for filing a lawsuit against government entities like public schools. Generally, you have to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days, and cannot file a lawsuit unless the school denies it or fails to respond within 30 days.
Cases involving state or local government agencies in New York can be complicated. At The Odierno Law Firm, our legal team is well-versed in these types of claims. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Long Island personal injury lawyers.
How Long Do I Have to File a Child Injury Claim in New York?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in New York is 3 years. With some exceptions, you typically have to file a claim within 3 years of the date of the accident. However, if you are filing suit against a government entity – like a school – then you have to follow a different procedure with a shorter time frame.
3 years may seem like a lot of time, but it can go quickly when you’re busy shuttling your child to doctor’s appointments and helping them recover. It is important that you talk to a lawyer as soon as possible about your case to preserve your rights. In Long Island, call The Odierno Law Firm to talk to a child injury lawyer.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Lawyer for My Child’s Accident?
Personal injury law firms typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing upfront and only pay an attorney’s fee if they recover money for you. The fee will be a percentage of your total recovery, capped by New York law. With a contingency fee arrangement, you can get legal help for your child even if you don’t have the extra cash to pay an hourly fee.
The Odierno Law Firm understands that a child injury can put a significant financial strain on a family, particularly if one or both parents have to take off work to care for the child. We will work hard to get you maximum compensation as quickly as possible so that you can focus on your family. Contact our law offices today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Long Island child injury attorney.