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child injuryChildren sometimes experience accidents that can leave them hurt or injured. In many cases, getting hurt is a part of growing up. But when a child suffers a serious injury because of negligence on the part of an adult other than their parents, it’s a different matter. The injured child’s family may have reason to seek compensation for the child’s medical bills and other costs, including for long-term care needs in cases of a debilitating injury.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., in Raleigh, NC, our attorneys understand the distress a parent can feel upon hearing that their child has been injured in an accident. At this most trying time, our child injury lawyers can deal with insurance companies and medical care providers on your behalf so you can look after your child. We take a client-centered approach to each personal injury case we manage. Our attorneys make communication a top priority and use a state-of-the-art case management system to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Let us review the details of your child’s injury and discuss your legal options for seeking maximum compensation for your family’s losses. Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. today for a free consultation.

Why Should You Choose Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks for Your Child Injury Claim?

The reason is simple. The insurance companies don’t want you to enlist the help of an attorney! The insurer’s goal is to make your claim go away for as little as possible. We know how to hold accountable insurance companies that owe you money, as well as school districts, daycare centers, youth recreation leagues, and other organizations.

When people or institutions act in place of a parent to supervise a child, they can and should be held accountable if their negligence leads to a child under their care being injured. We know how to pursue compensation for children’s injuries to make up for your family’s costs and losses and to ensure a stable financial future for a badly injured child.

Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., is a highly respected and successful law firm dedicated to providing outstanding legal help to individuals and families in Raleigh and surrounding areas of North Carolina. Most of our lawyers and staff have been with the firm for a decade or more. You’ll work one-on-one with a legal team dedicated to you and your child.

It costs you nothing to discuss your child injury claim with an experienced child injury lawyer. Contact us online or by phone today so we can review your situation and provide you with free legal advice about your options.

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Who Is Liable for My Child’s Injuries?

Under common law principles, any adult has a duty to assist a child who is in recognizable danger, regardless of whether they have assumed formal responsibility for the child. The Latin phrase in loco parentis refers to the legal responsibility that a person or organization takes on when parents formally entrust their child’s care and safety to them.

If a child is injured while under the supervision of a school system or recreation league, for example, the temporary substitute for the child’s parents may be held liable if they have neglected their duty to ensure the child’s safety, resulting in an injury.

Our firm pursues child injury claims against individuals and organizations as:

  • Daycare centers. If you have registered your child with a daycare center, you have likely signed an agreement that says neither the center nor its staff may be held liable if your child is injured while under the center’s care. This should not stop you from seeking legal help if your child has been significantly injured at a Raleigh area daycare center. Courts have repeatedly ruled that it’s contrary to public policy to relieve daycare providers of liability when a child has been hurt due to their negligence.
  • Schools. A school’s faculty and staff have a legal duty to protect children under their supervision while at school, on a school bus, or at school-sponsored events. When a child is injured, even if the school or a school employee didn’t directly cause the accident, the school and possibly a teacher, coach, or administrator may be held legally responsible.
  • Local or state government. A city, county, or state agency may be held liable for a child’s injury due to negligence that caused an accident or unsafe conditions at a public school, park, playground, swimming pool, recreation center, or governmental building such as a state museum. However, local and state governments – including public school systems – have protections that allow them to establish strict rules and deadlines for notifying them of complaints prior to filing a legal action.
  • Product manufacturers. Manufacturers of children’s products have a legal duty to ensure the products they sell are safe when used as intended and to advise consumers of any potential hazards the product poses. A manufacturer may be held liable for injuries that a child suffers if the injuries occurred because of a product defect that existed when the product left the manufacturer that was not properly disclosed.
  • Negligent individuals. There are numerous possible scenarios in which an individual should have prevented a child’s injury and may be held liable. For example, if a child is injured while playing in a pool, fountain, or pond on a neighbor’s property, the homeowner may be held responsible for not properly safeguarding an attractive nuisance to prevent a curious child from gaining access. Others who might be held responsible for a child’s injuries after an accident include:
    • Babysitters
    • Carpool drivers
    • Social or playdate hosts
    • Civic group leaders (scouts, YMCA, boys and girls clubs, gymnastics coaches, etc.).

Common Childhood Accidents and Injuries

Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Common accidents among children include:

  • Car and school bus accidents, including pedestrian accidents
  • Falls
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Playground, sports, and recreation injuries
  • Dog bites and maulings
  • Drowning and near-drowning
  • Poisoning
  • Burns (including from fires and scalding from hot water, hot stoves, or hot food)
  • Suffocation due to entrapment

When accidents like these are caused by someone else’s negligence, the child’s parents or guardians may be able to pursue a legal claim for compensation on the child’s behalf.

Children are also susceptible to physical abuse and sexual abuse, which are crimes and may lead to personal injury claims in addition to criminal charges.

What Type of Compensation Can I Seek for My Child’s Injuries?

In North Carolina personal injury claims, plaintiffs may seek damages to pay for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost income, such as for time a parent must spend tending to an injured child
  • Diminished earning capacity because of a disabling injury
  • Property damage, such as to a car or bicycle
  • Pain and suffering

In a wrongful death claim, plaintiffs may also seek compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship

The family of a child who has suffered a disabling injury may be due substantial compensation for a lifetime of medical needs, special education requirements, limited occupational opportunities, and anguish over childhood and adulthood that will not unfold as they should have.

Why You Need a Lawyer for an Accident Involving an Injured Child

Personal injury claims pursued on behalf of children are more complex than other claims. Parents or guardians may file a claim in the child’s name, but the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the underage child’s interests. Your lawyer would serve as a liaison between you (parents or guardians) and the guardian ad litem, working to advance your interests as well as your child’s.

As the case proceeds, your child’s role in the accident will be questioned. This is important because North Carolina personal injury law follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence.

Pure contributory negligence holds that an injury victim who was even 1% at fault for the accident that harmed them cannot recover compensation. But the courts recognize that children should not be held to the same standard as an adult. Instead, a court will:

  • Not hold a child younger than seven years of age responsible for acts that led to their injuries. A young child may not have the judgment to recognize safety hazards.
  • Be unlikely to hold a child aged 7 to 14 responsible for acts that led to their injuries. In some cases, a child found to have acted significantly irresponsibly for their age may be found at fault for their injuries.
  • Potentially hold a child aged 14 to 18 at fault if they contributed to their own injuries, though a jury may make exceptions based on the child’s intelligence, experience, and maturity.

As your attorneys, we would work to refute any evidence used to try to blame your child for their injuries or to suggest that your child should not be compensated because of mistakes they may have made.

Because an underage child cannot enter into a binding contract, the court may have to approve any significant settlements from the insurance carrier that the parents or guardians accept to settle the case. Most personal injury cases are settled with a negotiated payment.

Younce Vtipil Baznik & Banks personal injury law team

Contact Our Raleigh Child Injury Lawyers for Help

Our personal injury attorneys have dealt with serious childhood injury cases and understand what you are going through as you and your child face a long recovery from a traumatic injury. At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our attorneys and legal staff are here to help you understand how the law can work for you.

It doesn’t cost anything to speak with an experienced and compassionate Raleigh child injury lawyer about your legal rights and how we can help you if someone else caused your child’s injury. Contact us today at 919-661-9000 or online to get started.

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