If your child has sustained a serious injury, then as a parent you want to do everything in your power to help your child receive the medical care and therapy needed for the fullest recovery possible. If your child’s injury was caused by the carelessness or disregard for safety of another individual, business or school, you may be entitled to seek compensation on your child’s behalf to help with medical bills and other expenses. The law provides children certain legal protections. The best way to understand your legal options in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is to talk with a compassionate child injury lawyer at The Colleran Firm. Then you can make well-informed decisions with your child’s future in mind.
At The Colleran Firm, our Philadelphia injury attorneys
offer trusted legal guidance when families are going through difficult times because of a serious accident. Our attorneys represent two generations of the Colleran family, and we are committed to helping Pennsylvania and New Jersey families
who are coping with serious child injuries. Our founding attorney has been successfully handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases since the late 1960s. During a free consultation, our legal team will review the details of your child’s injury and give you our thoughts on whether you have a valid injury lawsuit. Our attorneys can help you deal with the financial consequences of a child injury. While each case stands on its own, you can take some peace of mind from knowing that our firm has recovered multi-million dollar settlements for families
with injured children.
Types of Child Injuries
Young children are energetic and curious, but are still developing physical coordination and the capacity to recognize potential accident risks and dangers. Some minor bumps and bruises are part and parcel of growing up. But children may suffer serious injuries because they are attracted to hazards. For example, a child may not recognize the danger posed by an unguarded swimming pool or a barking dog that feels threatened.
As a parent, your first priority is getting your child medical care after an accident. You will need all the financial resources available if the accident has left your child with permanent impairments. In cases of serious accidents, resulting in significant medical care or lasting disability, you may have a right to claim financial compensation if another’s negligence caused your child’s injury. Filing a child injury lawsuit and focusing attention on a safety issue can prevent other children from suffering similar injuries. Our personal injury attorneys at The Colleran Firm are committed to seeking answers for you and holding accountable the at-fault party. Among the common types of child injury accident cases we handle are:
- Dog Bites— Children represent more than half of dog bite victims. Children are naturally drawn to try to pet or play with dogs. A child may not recognize bared teeth or growling as warning signs that the dog feels threatened or that it is time to back off. Because of their size, young children often suffer bites wounds to the face, neck and head. They may suffer emotional trauma and may have permanent scarring, requiring future cosmetic surgeries. In the worst cases, a vicious dog attack may lead to a child’s death.
- Playground Equipment— Many children sustain serious injuries on playground equipment at schools and parks. Some injuries are caused by defective playground equipment or equipment that is broken and dangerous. More than 20,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated each year for traumatic brain injuries involving playground accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many child head injuries involve monkey bars, climbing equipment or swings. Most of these injuries occur at schools. In some instances, a school or equipment manufacturer may be liable for injuries caused on playground equipment.
- Swimming Pools — Children are attracted to water and may wander uninvited onto a neighbor’s property because of a swimming pool. Young children do not have the capacity to recognize the drowning risk a swimming pool poses. Unfortunately, drowning is a leading cause of death among young children. If a child gets hurt in a swimming pool in Pennsylvania, the property owner may be liable if the pool is unsecured. The legal doctrine of attractive nuisance applies to these types of child injury cases. Property owners have a legal responsibility to secure their property to keep children from being injured by attractive nuisances such as swimming pools. If the property owner fails to secure the property, the owner may be liable for a child’s injury, even if the child trespassed onto the property.
- Amusement Parks— Many families enjoy going to amusement parks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the thrill of riding the rides. But children can suffer serious injuries on amusement park rides including head injuries, whiplash injuries, broken bones and paralyzing injuries. An amusement park ride may cause injuries because of mechanical failures, design defects or a lack of proper training of the ride operator. Amusement parks, water parks, and carnivals have a legal duty to provide for the safety of visitors and warn of any hazards. If your child was seriously injured at an amusement park, it is important to have a child injury lawyer at The Colleran Firm review the details of the accident and advocate on your family’s behalf. The amusement park owner is unlikely to admit fault in the accident voluntarily. You will need a knowledgeable lawyer to investigate the cause of the accident and seek justice.
- Day Care Centers— The operators of day cares including child care centers and group child care homes have a legal duty to provide safe care to the children entrusted to their supervision. Day care operators must comply with state and federal standards including having adequate staffing, removing known hazards and providing proper supervision to children. If your child sustained serious injuries while at a day care, you are right to expect answers as to how the injury occurred. A dedicated child injury attorney at The Colleran Firm can help you find out what really happened and hold accountable the at-fault individual if your child’s injury was caused by daycare negligence.
- Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries— Negligence on the part of medical professionals can lead to serious injuries and even death. Our firm is experienced in investigating cases of medical malpractice including those that can occur during pregnancy and birth. Injuries to children by medical professionals can cause a financial burden that the child and their parents must deal with for the rest of their lives.
You may be overwhelmed if your child has been seriously injured. You may feel unsure where to turn. It is important to contact a compassionate child injury attorney and find out the steps to take to protect your legal rights.
Can You Sue the School for a Child Injury?
If your child was injured at school in a preventable accident caused by negligence on the part of a school employee or the school system you may be entitled to sue a school in Pennsylvania. Public school systems generally have governmental immunity from lawsuits. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have laws that spell out the circumstances in which a public school system may be sued. You will need to have an experienced Philadelphia injury lawyer at the Colleran Firm analyze the details of your child’s injury on school property and determine if a lawsuit against a school is appropriate in your situation.
There also are special notification requirements when suing public schools and public agencies. You have six months from the date of the accident to notify the school system of an injury claim. That makes it important to contact a knowledgeable attorney to investigate your child’s injury as soon as possible.
Differences in Injury Claims Involving Child Injuries vs. Adult Injuries
The law extends special protections to children who suffer injury in certain types of accidents. Children are not expected to have the fully-formed judgment of adults and are not held to the same standard for recognizing dangers they may encounter. Property owners have a special responsibility to prevent harm to children who might come onto their property — even if uninvited — by securing swimming pools, wells or machinery such as lawn mowers that might injure a curious child.
There is a significant difference in the time allowed for filing injury claims when children are involved. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania is generally two years. When a child under the age of 18 is injured, Pennsylvania extends the time period for filing a lawsuit additional time for medical injuries involving children. An injury involving a child may not be known at the time it occurs. A child under the age of 18 may not hire an attorney. Children generally have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit for injuries during childhood.
Since parents typically bear the financial burden related to their child’s injuries and medical care, a parent may file a lawsuit
seeking compensation for their child’s present and future medical expenses. If your child has been seriously injured, his or her medical care and rehabilitation could last for a number of years. Parents have two years from the date of the child injury to make a claim.
Contact a Child Injury Lawyer at The Colleran Firm
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Colleran Firm understand what you are going through after a serious injury involving your child. We have helped hundreds of families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey move forward after serious injuries. We can investigate the accident and help you seek compensation that the law says you and your child deserve.