Child injury laws are the series of statutes passed by Congress and the states that criminalize the mistreatment of children and afford victims a civil right of relief. Consult your local state's resources to learn about its various punishments and causes of action.
The regime of child injury laws is complex. It involves both criminal and civil statutes. Furthermore, it implicates both state and federal laws so it is important to understand how all of these different pieces fit together.
What Are Federal Child Injury Laws?
Congress has passed many laws affecting the wellbeing of children. In 1974, it passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and it extensively regulates the issue of child injury and abuse. Various federal agencies have also created rules regarding child exploitation.
CAPTA touches on the ethical treatment of all children and the goal of keeping them safe from all kinds of harassment including physical, mental, sexual, and all other forms of injury.
The Department of Health and Human Services preserves the Child Welfare Information Gateway. This system databases and updates on the various reporting and child mistreatment laws across all the country. It is a great resource for those affected by this terrible issue.
What Are State Criminal Child Injury Laws?
States criminalize and prosecute various forms of child mistreatment. For a more complete description of all kinds of harm that kids face, click here.
Generally, here is the broad definition that states use to prosecute child exploitation:
- Damages or risks a kid's physical, mental, sexual, or general welfare.
- Occurs to children generally under eighteen years old.
- Committed by someone who is supposed to take care of that child.
Note, that actual abuse must not result in order to become liable to state criminal laws-merely the threat or risk of it. Further, the general mental status required to prosecute people for child mistreatment must be intentionally, carelessness, or negligence. Typically, people cannot be prosecuted for accidental acts of abuse.
Finally, states also place criminal liability on those who should report child abuse but do not. In some states, everyone must report the wrongdoing that they see, but in others only professionals must report it such as social workers, doctors, and police officers.
What Are State Civil Child Injury Laws?
States typically afford child victims the right to sue their aggressors in court for damages. Generally, this requires a showing that the defendant breached a duty, and that the breach caused the child injuries.
Specifically, victims might be able to sue for medical malpractice, negligence, battery, assault, and negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. Normally, the range of compensation available to plaintiffs is wide and the injuries are great. Therefore, it might be worth considering in order to make amends for the damage that was wrought.
What Are The Statutes of Limitations For Children&Rsquo;S Injuries??
For instances of personal injuries, Illinois generally gives child victims 2 years. If the dispute is for medical malpractice, then children have 8 years or whenever they turn 22, whichever comes first.
States have various statutes of limitations by which you must bring your case for children's damages. Some states have time limits of two years and other states have periods as long as eight years. If you do not bring your case within that allotted window, then you may not be able to bring it at all. Thus, it is worth researching what the rules are in your particular state.
What Is The Difference Between Civil And Criminal Punishment?
Criminal punishment can take someone's liberty as well as brand them with a badge of societal condemnation. Civil punishment labels them unreasonable or tortious in the circumstances and can force them to pay the victim turned plaintiff.
There is a tremendous difference in punishment and culpability between criminal and civil courts. If you are convicted of a crime, not only is your freedom taken away but society attaches a label of moral opprobrium as well. This can affect you well beyond the time you serve in prison and even hamper your job prospects. On the other hand, civil cases only label defendants negligent. This means that they acted unreasonably in the circumstances and caused someone damages. It does not come with the badge of disapproval that a criminal conviction brings. However, child injury cases can warrant both civil and criminal cases. Therefore, defendants may be liable for two kinds of condemnation.
Meet With a Child Injury Lawyer!
We hope you learn as much as you can about this issue. It is serious and affects millions of children across the country. However, if you meet with one of our lawyers, you will be better able to see how the legal system can help you move on from such an incident. Give us a call at (888) 424-5757 or reach us through our site. We can get the ball rolling towards recovery and set up all the things that need to be done in order for you to stay safe and get reimbursed for your injuries. We welcome your phone call. Our team of lawyers has as much interest in defending your rights as experience in fighting for them in court. Let us put that to work for you!
For additional information see the following pages:
- How Are Children Injured?
- What Can a Child Obtain in a Personal Injury Case?
- What Is Institutional Child Abuse?
- What Can I do If I Have Been Harmed or Know a Child That Has Been Harmed?
- What Are Child Injury Cases Worth?
- What Resources Are There For Injured Children?
- How Can a Lawyer Fight For Your Injured Child?
- What Medical Injuries do Children Suffer?
- What Are Typical Childhood Injuries?
- Are Children Injured More Frequently Than Adults?
- Do Children Get Hurt More Than Adults in Hospitals?
- Can I Spank My Child?
- Can I Get in Trouble For Falsely Reporting Child Injuries?
- Do Children's Injury Cases Normally Settle or Go To Trial?