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Chicago Child Injury Lawyers

Chicago Child Injuries LawyerIs Your Child Suffering from Injuries Due to an Accident?

When a child is seriously injured as a result of the negligent or intentional act of another, can be an especially difficult event. Difficult not only for the child who must cope with the pain of the injury, but also for the parents and other family members who love and care for the child. Especially when there are temporary or permanently debilitating injuries.

The anguish of parents in seeing their children suffer is especially acute when injuries are serious. Even worse, when it’s all due to the result of reckless or irresponsible behavior by others. And when there’s negligence, that’s when a Chicago child injury lawyer can help.

As with adults, injuries to children may occur in a variety of ways, but often involve:

What are Possible Remedies in Personal Injury Cases for Minors?

When a child suffers a serious injury, it may require costly and long-term medical care or physical rehabilitation, or even lifelong assisted care. Some injuries may require additional medical treatment far into the future. For example, the replacement of prosthetic devices as a child grows.

Long term injuries to children

Even injuries that do not cause complete disability can often cause a less serious permanent disability or disfigurement. This may affect a child for the rest of his or her life. It could impair his or her ability to enjoy things in life that other people experience. Further, it could inhibit the ability to pursue certain careers or interests in adulthood.

For example, a child who suffers a back injury may recover enough to walk or run. But unfortunately, the impact may mean that a child is unable to participate in sports, dancing, or other activities that other children and adults enjoy. The injury may be a continual source of recurring pain and problems, limiting the child’s ability to lift objects, drive, or sit for extended periods of time.

Scarring or disfigurement

In other cases, even if the child recovers in terms of physical ability, there could be serious scarring or disfigurement. This may not be physically disabling, but it may make a child self-conscious or have other psychological impacts. This could be particularly true as the child reaches adolescence and adulthood.

Personal injury lawsuits provide for many types of damages. Further, when children suffer injuries, special calculations often have to be employed because of the unknown factors related to the child’s long-term future. The Chicago child injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. know how to tackle the difficult task of determining how damages should be measured and calculated.  This is done so that injured children will be fully compensated for their injuries throughout their whole lives.

What are Possible Damages to Collect from a Defendant?

Some of the considerations that go into determining what should be included in any personal injury claim for a minor include:

Special Damages

  • Medical expenses, both those incurred and those likely to be incurred in the future, based on the child’s normal life expectancy and the long-term anticipated costs and needs of the child;
  • Actual costs of any property damage;
  • Pain and suffering, not only for the period at the time of the injury and immediately following, but also any physical pain or emotional distress brought about as a result of the injury and its aftermath;
  • The cost of living with any type of permanent disability. This may include any special equipment, architectural modifications, or limitations on where and how the plaintiff must live. Further, the cost of a nurse or other third party into the future, if necessary. We would also account for inflation and other future impacts on cost;
  • Loss of potential future wages, salary, or earning capacity as a result of the injury. While this calculation is often difficult for a minor child, it may be a calculation from information about the child’s experience and expectations. We could argue likely scenarios from the family’s current situation.

General Damages

  • Pain and suffering, not only for the period at the time of the injury and immediately following, but also any physical pain or emotional distress brought about as a result of the injury and its aftermath;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, particularly where an injury is permanent or will prohibit the child from engaging in certain activities for the rest of his or her life;
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress. In particular, any special emotional problems that arise for children dealing with a serious injury, such as fear, insecurity, terror, depression, or despair;
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement; or
  • Loss of services and/or companionship. Technically, this loss is suffered by the parents. A seriously injured child is unable to provide parents with normal chores and other services. Further, the injury may inhibit the parents’ ability to enjoy the companionship of their child because the injury prevents them from engaging in certain activities with that child.

What are Personal Injury Suits Involving Minors and Children that Carry Special Considerations?

When children sustain injuries, they cannot pursue a remedy on their own. Minors (that is, children under the age of 18) may not file a lawsuit for a personal injury. Instead, the parents or legal guardians of children must sue on their behalf. Yet children suffer in different ways than adults. The problems their injuries cause may only manifest themselves when one takes into account the long-term perspective.

Consequently, it is important to remember that, when parents or guardians hire a personal injury attorney to pursue a remedy on behalf of a minor, they need to retain an attorney who has an extensive and comprehensive experience. Someone who understands the special issues and remedies in pursuing damages on behalf of a minor. Because the law does not allow a party to sue and settle twice for the same injury, there is no second chance to do it right. This is true even if the first suit is brought by an adult guardian or parent of the party that suffers an injury.

Chicago Child Injury FAQ

A serious car accident that injures a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. Parents initially and rightly focus on their child’s health and safety and do what they can to help the recovery process. Once the dust settles and parents have come to terms with their child’s prognosis, the next step is figuring out how to deal with the financial impact and hold the person accountable who caused harm to their little one.

If your child has suffered injuries in an auto accident, you might feel overwhelmed and confused about your next steps. It’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced child injury attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action. Until you have the chance to meet with our Chicago child injury attorneys, we provide the following answers to frequently asked questions about child injuries in Chicago, especially those resulting from auto accidents.

Can I sue the driver who caused injury to my child?

Yes, but technically you will be bringing a lawsuit on your child’s behalf as his or her parent or guardian. The parent or guardian, with the help of an experienced child injury attorney, makes critical decisions on behalf of the injured child.

Children who suffer injuries in an auto accident have the same rights to seek compensation as adults. As a parent or guardian, you are responsible for medical treatment costs for your child, so a portion of that compensation may go directly to the provider or reimburse you for the bills you’ve paid.

What is the statute of limitations to take legal action on behalf of my child?

Illinois generally has a two-year time limit to file a personal injury suit, but the law extends the statute of limitations for minor children under 18 and contains other exceptions that might apply to your situation. Children injured in car accidents and other types of traffic accidents can file a lawsuit up to two years after their 18th birthday.

This time limit applies to most child injuries, except medical malpractice. If your child suffered a birth injury or other injury as a result of medical error or negligence, your child must file a lawsuit within eight years of the date of injury or before their 22nd birthday.

Further, there are shorter time limits in cases with certain defendants, so it is best to consult with an attorney ASAP. Please call us to see whether one of the exceptions to the statute of limitations applies to your case.

Do I need a lawyer to recover damages after my child was injured?

Yes. Emotions run high because most parents would rather take on the pain and injury of their children than watch them suffer. It’s in your best interest to let a child injury attorney advocate for you and your child to ensure you get the compensation your child deserves for losses related to the car accident or other event that led to an injury. Our skilled Chicago child injury lawyers do much more than simply file paperwork—we protect your rights and watch out for your interests through the entire claims process.

Some examples of how attorneys help injured children recover damages include:

  • Thoroughly investigating the accident
  • Gathering evidence to support your case, such as police reports, medical records, and video surveillance
  • Communicating with insurance companies to protect you from their tricky tactics
  • Negotiating with insurance companies to fight for maximum compensation for your child’s injury
  • Fighting for you in the courtroom when settlement is not an option
  • Negotiate to reduce medical bills and liens at the time of settlement

What damages can I recover for my child?

If you reach a settlement with the insurance company and/or defendant in your child injury lawsuit, or if the court rules in your favor, your child could recover    compensation for a wide array of losses related to the injury, including:

  • Medical treatment costs including ambulance and emergency services, doctor visits, surgery, aftercare, diagnostic imaging, hospitalization, and medication
  • Estimated future treatment costs when a car accident or other event requires extensive recovery and ongoing care and treatment
  • Lost earning capacity when a severe injury prevents your child from attending college and seeking gainful employment in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Punitive damages when your child’s injury was a result of gross negligence or intentional harm

Will my child have to testify in court?

The vast majority of Chicago child injury cases, especially those involving car accidents, settle long before trial. Yet, sometimes settlement or mediation is not an option, especially when the insurance company attempts to dispute liability for their policyholder. In these cases, your attorney will take the case to trial. Depending on the age and physical condition of your child, he or she might have to testify, but again, this is very unlikely. An experienced Chicago child injury attorney can advise you on the chances of going to trial for your specific circumstances.

My child suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. Can I take legal action?

If you have suffered the sudden and tragic loss of a child in a car accident as a result of the other driver’s reckless, inattentive, or negligent driving, you can take legal action. Illinois permits eligible survivors to file a wrongful death suit against the allegedly liable driver to recover damage related to the loss of a loved one. Surviving parents can typically receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses as well as for grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship.

What other types of child injuries do personal injury lawyers handle?

Children suffer physical and emotional trauma in a wide array of situations. In some cases, children suffer injuries because of negligence. Other times children suffer injuries from intentional harm.

Examples of other types of child injuries that sometimes give rise to a lawsuit include:

  • Bicycle accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Playground injuries at public or private playgrounds throughout Chicago
  • Dog bites
  • Sports injuries
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse

If your child has suffered injuries in a car accident or from any other event, consult a Chicago child injury attorney as soon as possible to determine the best way forward to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence or intentional harm.

Should You Contact a Chicago Child Injury Lawyer?

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. work on many cases for minor accident victims and their families. Further, we understand the importance of securing full compensation for the harm they suffer. We represent children in many types of accident and injury claims, including severe injuries such as brain or spinal trauma.

If you need advice and assistance about an injury to a child, contact a child injury attorney in Chicago. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. at 312.924.7575, or use the online consultation form. You may call at any time of day or night, and your consultation is completely free.

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