Chicago Child Injury Lawyer
There are few things worse than watching your child suffer from an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, even more so if that injury causes life-long complications.
If your child suffered injuries from the negligence of another, your family might be entitled to legal compensation. Having the right child injury lawyer to fight for your case is imperative to get the fair settlement that your child deserves.
The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC represent children injured in almost every conceivable accident in Illinois and the Midwest. For a free and confidential consultation, contact (888) 424-5757 or fill out the contact form on our website.
National and State Statistics on Child Injuries
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), hundreds of thousands of children suffer serious injuries that require emergency care every year.
About 9 million minors are treated in an accident and emergency department for non-fatal injuries every year, making it the fifth leading cause of death among US youths.
Auto crashes remain one of the deadliest causes of injuries to children. The AAP reports that in 2017, 2,338 fatalities occurred among children under 13 years old as occupants in motor vehicle accidents, almost two-thirds (64%) of which were passengers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), overall deaths for this age group increased by 10% from 2018 to 2019, accounting for 2,443 child passenger deaths in that year.
Non-fatal Childhood Injuries
In 2019, there were 193,500 emergency department visits by victims with non-fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes involving children under 15 years old. In the same year, another 1,079 fatalities occurred among this age group as occupants in an auto accident, making it the number one cause of death among youngsters under 14 years old.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among children. A yearly average of 1,831 emergency department visits occurred in the state due to TBIs sustained from motor vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Shockingly, the CDC reports that about 22 children are injured in motor vehicle crashes each day. The agency also estimates that collisions with another object account for 53% of fatalities involving children under 13 years old.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reports that in 2018, crashes were the second most common cause of TBI-related emergency department visits for children up to 14 years old.
Common Accidents in Child Injury Cases
Child injury cases involve an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, whether a business owner, a corporation, an educator, or a person to whom you’ve entrusted your child’s care.
The following are some of the most common accidents resulting from someone’s negligent behavior:
- Falls: Fall-related accidents can result from many factors, including wet floors, uneven grounds, trip hazards, and lack of supervision. A child’s injury from a fall can range from mild to severe, with more severe cases resulting in broken bones or head injuries.
- Spilled Hot Water: Water at 60 °C (140 °F) can cause a scalding injury in less than three seconds. This type of accident typically occurs when someone fails to secure a hot beverage near a child.
- Accidental Strangulation: Seven percent of pediatric and adolescent strangulation are accidental. This type of tragedy usually occurs when children are left unattended with loose clothing, hammocks, slings, and jewelry.
- Choking or Asphyxiation: Young children should never be given food that is too big for them to chew properly. The same goes for circular foods and small toys that increase the risk of choking. In about four minutes, a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by choking can lead to brain death.
- Poisoning: A child injured from accidental poisoning was usually left unattended with a potentially hazardous substance, such as cleaning materials and pesticides.
- Car Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of fatal injuries to children. A car accident can lead to a child’s fractures, TBI, spinal cord trauma, etc.
- School Bus Accidents: Children may be injured while their school buses are dropping them off or loading them on board. However, most school bus accidents occur when the bus is on the road and may be caused by the bus driver or another motorist.
- Accidental Drowning: Drowning is the second most common cause of death in children ages 0-14. This type of accident usually happens when a child is left unattended in a swimming pool or bathtub. Besides the parents, babysitters, lifeguards, and pool owners without proper fencing around their pools may be held liable for a child’s drowning.
- Medical Malpractice: A medical professional’s negligence can lead to a child’s injuries. Common incidences of medical malpractice include giving the wrong dosage of medicine to a child, mishandling a birth, and misdiagnosing a severe injury.
- Dog Bites: Children should not be left alone with dogs, especially if the dog is untrained or is unfamiliar with the child. If a child was injured from a dog bite, the owner could be liable for the damages.
- Accidental Impact: These accidents involve a child being hit by an object, such as a baseball bat, a ball, or a falling object.
Common Child Injuries
Since their bodies are still developing, children are more prone to accident-related injury and death than adults. Some of the most common injuries associated with child injury cases:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Children have structural limitations that make them more susceptible to head injuries and their effects. A TBI can occur when there is a significant blow or jolt to the head, such as the rapid backward and forward movement in a car accident.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Catastrophic injuries to the spinal cord can lead to partial or total paralysis in a child, which may be permanent or temporary. Either way, spinal cord injuries are especially traumatic for a child’s delicate physique.
- Fractures: Broken bones are common childhood injuries, ranging from mild to severe. They typically result from falls and car accidents. Minor fractures usually heal without permanent consequences, but more severe breaks can result in a limited range of motion.
- Lacerations: Deep cuts can lead to significant loss of blood in children. In some cases, a laceration on the hand can even cause nerve damage.
- Scalds and Burns: These injuries usually happen when a child is left unsupervised with a hot drink, an open flame (campfire), or a firestarter (matches). Scalds and burns are more severe in children because of their thinner and more sensitive skin.
- Birth Injuries: Birth injuries can occur before, after, and during birth. These usually stem from acts of medical malpractice, such as handling a baby too roughly, failing to spot birthing risks during pregnancy, and using tools incorrectly when assisting the fetus during the birth process.
Filing a Child Injury Lawsuit
The families of injured children can file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party that caused the accident. If the family chooses not to settle with the other party’s insurance company, they may pursue the case in court on their child’s behalf.
Who Is at Fault for Your Child’s Injuries?
The negligent party (defendant) may be any of the following:
- School or Daycare Facility: Your child’s learning institution owes a duty of care to your child. If their actions (or lack thereof) result in your child’s injury, they may be held liable in a court of law.
- Bus Company: If your child is injured in a school bus accident, you can file a case against the bus driver and their employer.
- Other Driver: In a motor vehicle crash resulting in your child’s injuries, the other driver may be held liable if acting negligently. For example, you can sue a driver driving recklessly or driving while intoxicated if they cause a car crash, resulting in an injured child.
- Property Owner: Landlords and homeowners are legally obligated to ensure the safety of everyone who comes on their property. Breaching this obligation (e.g., leaving a gate unlocked, failing to secure a pool, not trimming overgrown trees) can lead to a child injury lawsuit.
- Business Owner: Similar to property owners, business owners may be held liable if a person is injured on their property.
- Manufacturer: When a defective toy injures children, families can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer. The same applies if the toy contains choking hazards, but the packaging does not have an appropriate warning label.
- Local Government: Failing to address hazards (e.g., uneven roads, improper road markings, lack of traffic lights) in public spaces counts as negligence of the local government. Families of injured children may file a case against the municipality, city, or state, depending on the case.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies to some jurisdictions. It states that a property owner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on their property if the injury was caused by something likely to attract children.
However, the parents of a child that trespasses on another’s property may also be held liable for their child’s injuries.
Attractive nuisance examples include swimming pools, construction sites, abandoned automobiles, power lines, discarded appliances, holes in the ground, and things to play on (e.g., playground sets, trampolines, jungle gyms).
Settlement Value for Child Injuries
There is no average settlement for accidents involving a child’s injuries. The main reasons for this are that no source tracks settlement values for child injury cases, and most child injury claims are settled with insurance companies. Cases settled out of court are kept confidential.
Nevertheless, your child injury lawyer can help estimate the value of your child injury lawsuit by adding up the economic and non-economic damages your family has suffered.
Damages in child injury cases are separated into two parts: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those that can be calculated in monetary terms. These include:
- Medical Bills: Child injury attorneys help families recover their expenses for medical bills, including costs for emergency room treatment, medication, surgery, therapy, and hospitalization. If the injuries caused long-term complications in your child, you might also be able to sue for future medical expenses.
- Loss of Income: You may lose income while caring for your injured child. You can recover your losses, including lost wages, bonuses, and commissions if this happens.
- Disability Expenses: Whether the disability is temporary or permanent, you can also sue for the costs associated with your child becoming disabled. These costs may include mobility aids, in-home care, and rehabilitation therapy.
- Wrongful Death: If your child died, your family might be covered for wrongful death damages, including funeral expenses and treatment costs before your child passed.
Non-economic damages are compensatory but not necessarily readily calculable. These include compensation for:
- Loss of Consortium: You may claim amounts for losing your child’s affection and companionship due to the accident. Loss of consortium does not necessarily require the death of a child.
- Pain and Suffering: Nonfatal injuries in a child can be especially painful and traumatic. A qualified child injury lawyer can help you prove the pain and suffering caused by the accident, both physically and mentally.
- Emotional Distress: You can also claim damages for the emotional toll that the injury has caused you and your child.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Childhood injuries can prevent a child from enjoying life as they usually would, resulting in a reduced quality of life.
- Disability: Aside from disability expenses, you can also sue for the non-economic effects of your child’s disability, such as loss of quality of life and life-long dependence on mobility aids.
- Disfigurement or Scarring: Some child injuries result in permanent disfigurement or scarring. If your child sustained a scar or has become disfigured from the accident, you might be able to claim damages for the effects of the disfigurement (e.g., emotional distress).
How Your Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Whether you settle with the insurance company or take the case to court, having a Chicago, Illinois child injury lawyer is highly beneficial.
A child injury lawyer can help your child’s case in the following ways:
- Negotiate a settlement with insurance companies involved
- Prove that the negligent party failed to use reasonable care, resulting in unintentional injuries
- Collect evidence for your child’s case, such as medical records, photo and video documentation, and incident reports
- File the personal injury case in court
- Calculate the value of your past and future damages
- Find a qualified person to provide expert testimony
- Help your child testify, if needed
If your child was injured due to another person’s negligence, proving the fault of the negligent party may not be easy. To find out how you can build a strong claim, start a free initial consultation with a Chicago child injury lawyer by calling (888) 424-5757.
The Statute of Limitations
Illinois residents have two years to file a personal injury case. The time limit to file starts on the date of the underlying accident or incident that led to a child’s injury. If you don’t file a case on time, the defendant may ask the court to dismiss the case.
Consult a personal injury lawyer to determine how much time you have to file your child’s case in court. Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation today.
The Role of Parents in Preventing Child Injuries
Most cases of child injury are usually out of a parent’s control. Nevertheless, parents can increase child safety in everyday activities by:
- Removing or securing potential hazards in the home, including swimming pools, cleaning products, large appliances, and stairs
- Preventing playground injuries by paying close attention to their child at all times
- Ensuring hallways, bathrooms, and children’s bedrooms are well-lit
- Fencing the yard
- Using a car seat or booster seat for their child
- Putting life jackets and other floatation devices on their child while swimming
- Giving their child swimming lessons to prevent accidental drowning
- Keeping their child away from strangers’ pets, especially dogs
- Checking toys for choking hazards and defects before giving them to their child
- Educating their child about the dangers of trespassing on someone else’s property
- Putting protective equipment on their child during recreational activities, such as skating, rollerblading, and biking
Child Injury Attorneys Fighting for Injured Children in Chicago
Everyone has a duty of care to prevent injury to all persons, including children. Parents, teachers, daycare workers, school bus drivers, and local governments all play a role in ensuring the safety of children in the community. Your family deserves financial compensation if someone fails to act within reasonable care, resulting in your child’s injury.
Was your child injured due to another person’s negligence? If so, our child injury lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you recover the losses your family has suffered. While compensation may not be enough to heal your child’s pain and suffering, it can take some financial strain off your family.
Call our experienced team of Chicago child injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. Our Chicago law firm will keep all sensitive information confidential under an attorney-client relationship.
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