When a child is injured in an accident, it can have an impact on the individual’s entire family. In California, anyone who is a minor (under the age of 18) does not generally have the legal ability to file their own claim or lawsuit. Fortunately, parents and legal guardians in California may be able to do so on behalf of their injured child.
Proving Negligence in a Child Injury Case
When it comes to pursuing compensation for your child’s injuries, the same general rules apply as they do for all personal injury cases. You and your attorney will have to prove negligence on the part of another party, which consists of four elements:
- Duty. The defendant owed a duty of care to your child.
- Breach of Duty. The defendant failed to uphold this duty of care.
- Causation. The breach of duty directly caused an accident.
- Damages. The accident directly led to injuries/harm to your child.
Some parties that are often held liable for children’s injuries include:
- Motorists who cause car accidents, bicycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents
- Dog owners
- Daycare workers
- Teachers and coaches
Since children generally lack the ability to understand settlement calculations, an important safeguard for minors who are entering into a personal injury settlement agreement is called a minor’s compromise.
Essentially, this process allows a court to scrutinize the settlement amount to ensure that it is fair and that the funds will solely be used to benefit the minor and their recovery. You can learn more in-depth information about the minor’s compromise process here.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim
Additionally, parents (or any close relatives) who are present at the time of the child’s injury may be entitled to a unique type of damage known as a Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) claim. Under California law, a bystander of an accident may file a NIED claim for emotional distress if the following elements are present:
- The person is closely related to the victim (either by blood or through marriage); for instance, a parent would be categorized as a close relative
- The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused harm to the child
- The parent was present at the scene of the injury and was aware that the event was causing harm to the child
- As a result, the parent suffered severe emotional distress
Your personal injury attorney can help determine whether this particular claim may be pursued. Some examples of situations that may justify a NIED claim include:
- A parent witnesses their child being attacked by a dog
- A parent witnesses their child being run over by a car
- A parent witnesses their child being hit on their bicycle
We Are Dedicated to Protecting Your Family
At Effres & Effres, we understand that nothing is more important than family. If your child was injured due to another person’s negligence, get over three decades of legal experience in your corner. Our job is to handle all the legal aspects of your case so you have the best chances of receiving maximum compensation and you can focus on helping your child heal.
Contact our Los Angeles child injury attorneys at (818) 222-9720 to schedule your free case review today!