Children are just as prone to serious injuries from accidents as adults, if not more so. Motor vehicle collisions, school and daycare accidents, falls, dog attacks, defective toys, playground accidents, and drowning lead to thousands of child injuries each year.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, approximately 12,000 children are killed by unintentional injuries annually. If your child was injured by someone else’s careless or reckless act in Missouri, you may be able to file a personal injury case for financial compensation for your losses.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
Bringing a personal injury claim for an injury to a child could lead to monetary compensation for both the losses your child suffered and the losses of your family. If another person or party is found liable (legally responsible) for your child’s injury, that party will have to pay for your present and future related expenses. The financial compensation, or damages, that could be recovered with this type of claim include:
- Medical costs (past and future)
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Disability accommodations and special education
- Your lost wages from having to take time off of work
- Your child’s pain and suffering
- Your emotional distress
- Punitive damages (for a defendant’s egregious wrongdoing)
- Legal expenses and out-of-pocket costs
- Funeral and burial costs, in the case of wrongful death
The value of your personal injury case is based on the severity of your child’s injuries, whether your child will suffer long-term symptoms from the injury, the cost of your medical expenses, your child’s age and overall health, the amount of insurance available, and many other factors.
What Elements Are Needed for a Child Injury Case?
Before you and your family can recover compensation, you or your child injury lawyer must establish negligence. Negligence is the grounds on which most personal injury lawsuits are based in Missouri. The legal definition of negligence is failing to act with a reasonable degree of care, resulting in injury or harm to others. Your lawyer must establish four elements to prove negligence in a child injury case:
- Duty of care. The at-fault party (defendant) must have had an obligation to act in a reasonable manner toward your child.
- Dereliction of duty. There must be evidence that the defendant acted outside of his or her duty of care. In other words, that the defendant was negligent.
- Direct cause. The defendant’s act or omission must be the direct cause of your child’s injury, illness or death.
- Your child and/or family must have suffered specific damages as a result of the defendant’s actions.
The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, or clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is at least 50 percent responsible for the injury. An attorney can help you meet this burden of proof by preserving and gathering evidence, hiring qualified experts, and taking other steps to build a compelling claim on your child’s behalf. An attorney can also file your lawsuit by Missouri’s deadline – when the child reaches age 21.
What If I Can’t Afford an Attorney’s Legal Fees?
Hiring an attorney is an important part of a child injury lawsuit. If you are worried about how your family will afford an attorney’s legal fees, find an attorney who operates on a contingency basis. With this fee setup, your family won’t pay attorney’s fees unless your lawyer obtains financial compensation on your behalf.
At Dickerson Oxton, LLC, our No-Win, No-Fee Promise means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t pay – guaranteed. If we do win, we will deduct our fees directly from the settlement or jury verdict obtained rather than billing you out of pocket. This ensures that every family has access to high-quality legal representation for a case involving a child injury. Contact us today for more information.