Can I Bring a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of a Child in Philadelphia?
Ryan Zavodnick | November 14, 2022 | Personal Injury
Parents do everything they can to protect their children from injuries and harm. Unfortunately, parents might not be able to protect their children from all accidents and injuries, regardless of hard they might try.
When a child is injured, they might have a claim against the person who caused their injury. Therefore, parents need to know when they can bring a personal injury claim on behalf of their child in Philadelphia.
Types of Childhood Injury Claims in Philadelphia
A child can be injured anytime and in any location. Children’s injuries occur at home and school. Injuries occur on playgrounds, at a friend’s house, and on vacation. Examples of common childhood injuries that could result in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:
- Playground injuries
- Boating accidents
- School bus accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Defective product injuries (product liability)
- Dog bites
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Birth injury
- Injuries or harm caused by negligent supervision
- Car accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Any accident or personal injury could result in a childhood injury claim if the injury were caused by another party’s negligence, intentional tort, or other wrongdoing. An experienced Philadelphia child injury attorney can review the circumstances of your child’s injury to determine if your child has a legal claim for damages.
What Do You Need To Prove To Win a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Childhood Injury?
The first step in determining who is liable for your child’s injuries and damages is for a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to investigate the cause of the injury. The factors that led to the cause of your child’s injury typically identify the party liable for damages.
For example, suppose a driver ran a stop sign and hit your child riding a bicycle. The cause of the crash was the driver running the red light. Therefore, the driver can be financially liable for your child’s injuries and damages.
Unfortunately, many personal injury cases are much more complicated. An attorney must gather evidence proving negligence or intentional torts to hold a person liable for damages. Most injury claims are based on negligence, so you must prove the following:
- Duty of Care – A person or party owed your child a duty to act reasonably to avoid causing harm or injury.
- Breach of Duty – The person or party breached the duty of care owed to your child because of their conduct.
- Causation – The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your child’s injuries.
- Damages – Your child sustained damages because of the party’s breach of duty.
Damages for a child injury claim can include economic and non-economic damages. The damages depend on the type and severity of the injury and whether the injury causes any permanent impairments or disabilities.
For example, a child who sustains a traumatic brain injury could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, rehabilitative therapies, pain and suffering, and other damages from the date of injury through the date they fully recover.
However, suppose the traumatic brain injury caused permanent impairments. If so, the child might also receive compensation for future damages. Future damages could include:
- The cost of ongoing medical treatment and care
- Long-term nursing care and personal care
- Future lost wages and decreases in future earning capacity
- Continued pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress
- A decrease in the child’s quality of life and anticipated enjoyment of life
Parents might also file a claim to recover compensation for monetary losses they include, such as travel costs taking the child to medical appointments, loss of income, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Child in Pennsylvania?
A minor does not have standing to file a lawsuit on their own behalf. Instead, a minor must be represented by a guardian when they are a party to an action. The guardian supervises and controls the conduct of the action on behalf of the minor.
Typically, a parent or legal guardian files a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the minor child. The adult makes decisions regarding the case based on legal advice from the child’s lawyer.
How Long Does a Child Have To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of injury. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, including when the injury victim is a minor.
According to 42 Pa. Statute §5533, the statute of limitations is tolled (paused) for minors until their 18th birthday. Therefore, a child injured before the age of 18 years has until their 20th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Even though a child has more time to file a personal injury lawsuit, it does not mean you should wait to seek legal advice. There are advantages to hiring a lawyer for a childhood injury as soon as possible. Waiting too long to pursue a claim could result in critical evidence being lost or destroyed.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case
To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.