Special Considerations in a Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuit Involving a Child


May 14, 2013

Suffering through the loss of a child or dealing with a child who has suffered serious injuries due to an accident is emotionally devastating.

We try to keep our children safe from harm but that is not always possible. When accidents happen, children can be more vulnerable to injury than adults. Children can be injured in a variety of circumstances and accidents, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Dog attacks / bites
  • Sports accident
  • Defective toys
  • Careless supervision by adults
  • Abuse
  • Swimming pool accidents

Georgia Laws and Personal Injury Claims of Minors

There are aspects of personal injury claims brought by injured minors that make them different than adult injury claims. A child under the age of 18 may have a parent or guardian pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit on their behalf or may need a conservatorship or structured settlement.

If a child and his parents are involved in the same accident and both parties are injured, the child and his parents will file separate legal claims. Both parties are allowed to sue for different types of damages resulting from the child’s injuries. A child can make a claim for pain and suffering and any accident-related expenses he expects after turning 18. The parents can pursue the expenses of medical treatment and the loss of the child's services.

The two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims may be extended for a minor, but this is a complicated issue. The consequences of failing to comply with the statute of limitations typically is a complete bar to recovery so it is critical to seek legal advice on this issue as soon as possible following an accident, which results in personal injury or wrongful death of a child.

The issues of determining fault may be different when a child is injured also. There are certain dangers and risks that it is reasonable to presume children will not appreciate and understand as readily as adults. Negligence law often allows for these differences in maturity and understanding of potential dangers.

An example of this concept is the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. This doctrine provides special protections to children who “trespass” if a certain dangerous manmade condition on a homeowner’s property could reasonably be foreseen to attract children onto the property. If the danger posed by the hazard is one that a child might not fully appreciate, the property owner may have a higher duty of care toward a child.

Settlements

Understanding the extent of the injuries of the child and how a child’s injuries will affect their future can be complicated in these types of cases. It is imperative that in a claim or lawsuit involving an injured child, that the child’s injuries be fully determined as well as any long-term or permanent physical or financial impact from an accident. The damages in a claim involving a seriously injured child may be extremely high given that it may impair a child’s future earning ability, require long-term care or result in permanent loss of use of mental or physical functions.

Depending on the situation, the fact that a child's body is still growing and developing means that certain types of injuries may make ongoing medical treatments and surgeries necessary. Ongoing therapy also may be needed for physical and mental challenges. Prosthetic medical equipment might even be necessary and this may need to be routinely modified or replaced due to the child’s physical growth.

If your child is injured, it is important to make sure that today's financial recovery for a serious injury is sufficient to provide for tomorrow's needs. An experienced Georgia personal injury attorney will use experts to project future costs and include them in the calculation of damages. If a child you love has suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death because of someone else's negligence, our caring and compassionate attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to help you as we have helped so many families since 1984.

The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have the knowledge and experience to effectively pursue the best interest of our clients and seek the best possible result. We have an experienced qualified staff that is prepared to fight for our clients’ rights. Montlick and Associates works hard to protect our clients’ interests and to seek the compensation that our clients deserve. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com.  No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.