When a child is injured because of another’s negligence or intentional torts, the child might have a legal claim for damages against the at-fault party. The child could be entitled to compensation for injuries, financial losses, emotional distress, and other damages.
However, minors (children under the age of 18 years old) do not have standing to file a lawsuit or enter a personal injury settlement on their own. A legal guardian or a parent must bring a Chicago personal injury claim on behalf of a child.
Common Accidents and Incidents That Result in Injury to Children in Chicago
A child can be injured at any time and in any location. However, common accidents and scenarios that often result in child injuries include:
Falls are another common cause of childhood injury. Slip, trip, and fall accidents can occur on playgrounds, amusement parks, and schools. A lack of experience, poor coordination, and balance issues while running and walking can increase the risk of falls for children.
Property owners throughout Illinois have a duty of care to inspect their property for hazards and dangers that could injure invitees and guests. However, special rules can apply when a child is lured onto a property because of an attractive nuisance.
Drowning and swimming accidents are another leading cause of injury and death for children. A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Unsupervised bodies of water, swimming pools, and containers of water pose a significant risk of injury for children.
Children bitten or attacked by dogs can suffer long-term impairments and significant disfigurement. Many children do not understand the dangers dogs pose, so they may innocently approach a dog or encroach on its territory. Property owners and dog owners have a duty of care to protect others, including children, from being bitten or attacked by their dogs.
Birth injuries impact thousands of families each year. However, labor and delivery errors are not the only cause of medical malpractice claims by children. Children can be the victims of the same medical negligence as adults, including diagnosis, prescription, and surgical errors.
What Damages Can My Child Receive for a Personal Injury Claim in Chicago, IL?
Children are entitled to compensation for compensatory damages and punitive damages. However, punitive damages are only awarded in a small number of cases that meet specific criteria.
Compensatory damages are the most common types of damages awarded in personal injury cases. Your child could receive compensation for economic damages that include:
- Past and future medical bills and expenses
- The cost of rehabilitative therapy
- Diminished earning capacity
- Past and future lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Long-term nursing and/or personal care
- Expenses related to special education and services
Your child can also recover compensation for non-economic damages. These damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Impairments and disabilities
- A decrease in quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
Generally, cases involving catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments increase how much a case is worth. Do not allow an insurance company or other party to convince you that your child’s case is not worth as much because your child is partially to blame for the cause of their injury.
Always talk with a Chicago child injury lawyer before accepting a settlement offer for a child injury case. In addition to ensuring the settlement offer is fair, an attorney understands the special steps parents must take to settle a child’s personal injury claim. Sometimes, court approval may be required to settle a child injury case, even if you do not file a personal injury lawsuit on your child’s behalf.
Proving Liability for a Child Injury in Chicago, Illinois
Numerous parties could be liable for a child’s injury in Chicago. Potential parties you might sue for a child’s injury include, but are not limited to:
- Negligent drivers
- Schools and daycares
- Religious institutions
- Property owners (premises liability claims)
- Resort and amusement park owners
- Government entities
- Distributors, sellers, and manufacturers (product liability claims)
- Doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers (medical malpractice claims)
- Dog owners
- Sports and recreational facilities
You have the burden of proving the party intentionally or negligently caused your child’s injury. Specific types of personal injury claims could fall under strict liability or vicarious liability laws.
Generally, you must prove the following element to win a personal injury claim for a child:
- The party you are suing owed a duty of care to your child
- The party breached the duty of care owed to your child through the party’s actions or omissions
- The party’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of your child’s injury
- Your child has suffered harm and damages because of the party’s actions
A Chicago personal injury lawyer handles all aspects of the investigation to gather evidence proving liability, including working with expert witnesses when necessary. Your attorney also handles all communications with parties and prepares and files all documents and paperwork. You can focus your entire attention on helping your child recover from their injuries.
What Are the Deadlines for Filing Personal Injury Claims for Children in Illinois?
Most personal injury claims in Illinois have a two-year deadline to file lawsuits. With few exceptions, the court will dismiss lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations expires.
There are exceptions when the injured party is a child. The law extends the statute of limitations for two years after the child’s 18th birthday for many personal injury claims.
However, it is always in your child’s best interest for you to consult with a Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your child’s accident or injury. The statute of limitations can be complicated. Waiting to seek legal advice could cause your child to lose their right to pursue a legal claim.
Furthermore, the longer you wait to pursue a personal injury claim on behalf of a child, the higher the chance that crucial evidence could be lost or destroyed. Prompt action on a parent or guardian’s part can increase a child’s chance of receiving just compensation for a personal injury claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Child Injury Lawyers
At Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers, our legal team works diligently to protect your child’s best interests as we seek justice for your child. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a Chicago personal injury lawyer. Let us help you recover the compensation your child deserves for an accident or personal injury, call us today at (312) 929 2884.