No parent wants to imagine that their child could sustain serious injuries because of another adult’s reckless or careless conduct. Unfortunately, these scenarios do occur, sometimes permanently altering the lives of a child and their family.
If your child suffered any injury requiring professional medical care due to an adult’s negligent behavior, contacting an experienced attorney should be a priority. At the Gunn Law Group, an Atlanta child injury lawyer could guide you through every step of the claims process and hold the wrongdoer accountable.
Children under 18 do not have legal standing in Georgia to pursue any civil lawsuit or file a settlement demand on their own behalf. Accordingly, state law generally allows the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a child injured in an accident born of negligence to file suit for them. “Negligence” means the same thing in this situation as in any other personal injury claim: a reckless or careless breach of duty that serves as the direct and proximate cause of an accident resulting in physical harm.
Notably, there are some circumstances where litigation may be possible for a child’s injury when it would not be possible for an adult’s injury. For instance, the “attractive nuisance” doctrine holds that landowners who fail to properly secure property features like swimming pools can potentially bear liable for injuries sustained by curious children who were able to trespass and access those dangerous features. A knowledgeable Atlanta attorney could explain what circumstances might justify a child injury claim in further detail.
Parents and guardians pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of their children often file two separate but related claims at the same time. One claim aims to recover for the child’s losses, and one aims to recover for the parent’s losses.
Compensable damages for the first type of claim generally center around the child’s short-term pain and suffering as well as long-term losses of earning capacity, financial security, and enjoyment of life. The other type of claim may seek restitution for the child’s emergency medical expenses, wages lost while the child was recovering from their injury, and any other applicable out-of-pocket costs.
If such a claim ends with a private settlement with a value over $15,000 after litigation costs and attorney’s fees, Official Code of Georgia §29-3-3 states that a parent or guardian cannot accept the settlement until they have been appointed legal conservator over the child by the Probate Court. The parent or guardian must also obtain court approval of the settlement amount before accepting. Various additional rules apply to settlements and court damage awards for child injuries, as an experienced lawyer at our firm could further explain.
Injuries sustained in childhood can impact the rest of a victim’s life and prospects. As such, comprehensive civil recovery can be especially crucial after incidents where an adult’s irresponsible actions directly result in a child suffering serious harm.
Assistance from an Atlanta child injury lawyer could make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. To protect your child’s best interests and seek justice for your family, call the Gunn Law Group today for a consultation.