Like adults, children can be injured in all kinds of accidents. It’s important to know that many of the same laws that apply to adults also apply to children if they’ve been injured. Depending on the situation, additional statutes could apply when a child has been hurt.
If your child has been injured in an unexpected accident, you should contact a Fort Lauderdale child injury lawyer right away. Hardworking injury attorney David Fuchs has helped many children and their families recover the compensation they need to get back to normal.
Types of Child Injury Cases
Children may be injured in a multitude of accidents. Many different statutes apply to childhood accidents that occur within the state. A knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale attorney can help with determining the right plan of action, regardless of the cause of a child injury.
Car Crashes Involving Children
When a child is involved in a car accident, they can recover compensation like any other passenger. It’s essential to ensure your child is in an appropriate child safety seat or rides in the back seat to ensure they are as safe as possible. If your child is seriously injured in a car crash, they can get compensation to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
According to the National Institute of Health, drowning is one of the most common causes of death in children under 4. Swimming pools, ponds, and other bodies of water should be properly secured, and there should always be adult supervision any time a child is swimming.
Children may be burned by hot water, stoves, candles, and other dangerous items. If someone other than a parent caused your child’s burns, they could be liable for their negligent actions.
Slips and falls are common causes of injuries for children of all ages. Infants and toddlers may fall from changing tables at daycare centers, and older children may fall off their bikes or from a trampoline. Falls on private property, such as in shopping malls or amusement parks, can also result in severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and fractures.
Parents trust daycare providers with the safety of their children. However, because of high student-to-teacher ratios, children are often at risk for injuries on the playground and other locations inside the building. If your child is injured at a childcare center, the staff and company may be held liable.
Playgrounds may be on public or private property. The location of the playground where your child was injured impacts whether you can recover compensation and how much. It’s essential to work with a child injury attorney to help you understand your rights.
If your child was injured at a public school, the staff and school district might be held liable if they are negligent. It can be challenging to prove negligence in a school setting, but it is not impossible. You will need to gather significant evidence to support your claims.
Children are often at risk of being bitten by a dog or attacked by an animal because of their curious natures. A pet owner is expected to maintain control of their animal at all times. If a dog misbehaves and attacks a child, the victim can get compensation for the trauma that occurred.
Pedestrians & Bike Riders
Children often walk or ride bikes along roadways. They do not always practice the safest habits when playing outside. It’s important that adults who drive through neighborhoods keep an eye out for child pedestrians and bike riders. Any accident involving a pedestrian or cyclist could be serious.
An attractive nuisance is something on a person’s property that draws a child onto that property and poses a threat to them. If that nuisance causes injury to the child, the landowner can be held liable under premises liability law, even if the child was trespassing.
Medical Malpractice & Birth Injuries
Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to medical professionals. Birth injuries are common and can result in lifelong complications for the child and mother. Young children often have difficulty expressing their symptoms, so misdiagnosis can happen. When a medical professional or facility is negligent, they should be held accountable.
Negligent Supervision of a Child
Children need to be properly supervised to ensure their safety, as their curious natures tend to expose them to a significant risk of unintentional injury or even death. In today’s busy world, however, most parents cannot directly supervise their children at all times. Third-party supervision of children is commonplace. Children are frequently monitored by their teachers, babysitters, daycare providers, camp counselors, and other third-party caregivers.
Ideally, a third-party caregiver will properly supervise your child, but what if your child is injured while under their care? In the state of Florida, the parents of a child who is injured while in the care of a third-party may be entitled to sue for negligent supervision.
The Elements of a Negligent Supervision Case
Negligent supervision claims are based on certain fundamental elements of negligence, which requires the existence of a duty of care between the involved parties, and a breach of said duty.
Duty of Care
The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the child. To establish this duty in a negligent supervision case, you must be able to show that the defendant accepted supervisory responsibility over the child. The existence of a duty of care may be presumed depending on the relationship – for example, a teacher-student relationship – even without explicit acceptance of responsibility.
Breach of the duty of care
The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to provide adequate supervision – in other words, by negligently supervising the child. What constitutes adequate or reasonable supervision depends somewhat on the circumstances of the case.
For example, suppose that your child is injured at summer camp. The camp counselor took the children to a lake and allowed them to swim. As they were swimming, the camp counselor received a phone call and became inattentive for several minutes. Your child struggled during the swim and nearly drowned (causing injuries). Given the circumstances, a court would likely find that by allowing himself to be distracted for several minutes while children were swimming in the lake, the camp counselor is liable for negligent supervision.
On the other hand, if the camp counselor was distracted for a much shorter time, perhaps by someone calling his name, then his level of inattentiveness may not have actually been inadequate.
The mere fact of a child’s injury while under supervision does not lead to a finding of negligent supervision. It is not uncommon for children to find creative ways to injure themselves even with adequate supervision. If the circumstances point to inadequate supervision, however, then a skilled personal injury attorney will attempt to argue the facts of the case in your favor.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care – their negligence – substantially caused the child’s injuries. A defendant cannot be held liable for negligent supervision if the events that caused the child’s injuries were not reasonably foreseeable.
For further clarification, consider this example.
Suppose that you have hired a professional nanny to take care of your child. One day, the nanny is taking your child out for a walk in the neighborhood. The nanny becomes distracted for a moment, and during this time, your child steps on a loose stone in the sidewalk, which breaks and causes your child to fall, injuring himself. The loose stone blended in with the sidewalk and was not readily identifiable.
Despite the fact that the nanny was inattentive and possibly breached their duty of care, the injury itself was likely not a result of the nanny’s negligent supervision. As the loose stone was not readily identifiable or visible to the naked eye, even if the nanny had been properly supervising the child, the injury would have occurred. It is unlikely that you would be able to successfully sue the nanny for negligent supervision here.
Considering Suing? Here’s What It Takes to Prove Liability
When a child is injured, and the negligence of another party causes those accidents, that person or company should be held liable. However, in order to prove liability, you must show the following:
- The defendant owed you or your child a duty.
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The breach was the cause of your child’s injuries.
- Your child’s injuries resulted in damages and expenses.
Most duties are based on the law. For example, the driver of a car has a statutory duty to drive responsibly and follow the rules of the road. If they are speeding, they have breached that duty. If their speeding causes them to hit a child walking along the road or riding their bicycle, then the breach of their duty caused the kid’s injuries. A child must also show that they experienced losses and have unpaid medical bills.
Children can receive compensation for the following damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Future lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Reduced living standard
A detail-oriented lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help with proving these elements and keeping a child injury case on track.
Things to Remember in a Child Injury Case
If your child has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, keep the following in mind:
- Parents may be found to have contributed to their children’s injuries; however, that may not completely prevent your recovery of compensation from another party.
- In most cases, parents cannot be held liable for injuries to their children arising out of negligence.
- You should keep a file with all your case-related documents and provide it to your attorney.
- More than one party may be liable for your child’s damages. It’s essential to include everyone in a personal injury lawsuit.
- You have a limited amount of time (called a “statute of limitations”) to file a child injury lawsuit. That date depends on the type of claim and the child’s age.
- You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve all your rights in a child accident case.
Reach Out to a Fort Lauderdale Child Injury Attorney Today
Child injury claims can be complex. They often require nuanced laws that differ from those involving standard accidents. These cases tend to be more valuable because of the potential lifetime loss of wages and significant long-term medical bills. Make sure you get the maximum compensation possible by working with an experienced Fort Lauderdale child injury lawyer.
David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., is here to help. Call us today to reach out for a consultation.