Emergency rooms across the country treat more than 9 million children (ages 0 to 19) each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with thousands of those patients suffering from injuries because of someone else’s negligence. More than 12,000 die from those injuries.
If your child was hurt due to negligence, you and your family may be able to pursue compensation via a child injury claim. The money can help pay for medical bills and other expenses, along with the pain and suffering you all have endured. An attorney can navigate the legal process for you if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Common Parties and Causes Blamed for Negligence in a Child Injury Claim
The guilty party that could be blamed for negligence in a child injury accident depends on the circumstances involved. Many child injury claims can implicate more than one party for liability in failing to care for children with vigilant attention.
Negligent parties could include:
- Property owners, who may own a pet that injured your child in their backyard or an unlocked pool gate or unguarded pool area that caused your child to wander and fall into. (This is even if your child was on the property without permission.)
- School officials, including teachers, bus drivers, administrators, and other staff, who are responsible for your child’s safety while at school.
- Manufacturers that design defective toys and products and store owners that sell them or ignore any recalls.
- Amusement park or playground owners, who are responsible for the safety of all equipment.
Common Causes of Child Injuries
There are several common causes of injuries for a child involved in an accident. Children are active and curious, lacking judgment on whether or not a situation is dangerous, which could result in injuries that include broken bones, burns, and TBIs from:
Car accidents are among the leading causes of injuries in children. The child may be a passenger in a car or school bus, be riding their bike when hit, or be walking as a pedestrian.
In 2022, there were 100 recalls of children’s products, which is higher than any other year since 2013, making up 34% of total recalls last year. These toy design or manufacturing defects can be hazardous, leading to hundreds of thousands of children going to the emergency room for toy-related injuries.
Drowning or Near-Drowning
Drowning is known to be the leading cause of death in children ages five and younger. Unfortunately, these accidents happen because of either a lack of supervision or the failure to make the pool area safe by fencing in the pool.
Children are instinctively drawn to dogs but may not realize the signs of aggression. Bites to the face, head, or neck may require surgery and long-term therapy.
Playground or Amusement Park Accidents
Public playgrounds at schools or daycare centers are the culprit for child injuries on climbing structures or swings. Design defects or negligent ride operators are the cause of child injuries at amusement parks, fairs, and water parks.
What Can Your Compensation from Your Child Injury Claim Cover?
Compensation from child injury cases in South Carolina can cover:
- Medical bills over both the short and long terms
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, if your child died from the injuries
Compensation for punitive damages, which are awarded to punish the defendant, is capped at three times the actual damages or $500,000, whichever is more.
The Statute of Limitations for Child Injury Claims
The time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a claim in South Carolina is generally two to three years, but children have until age 19 to file a lawsuit.
With child injury cases, there are often two claims: one for the parent and one for the minor. The injured child cannot file a personal injury lawsuit until they are a legal adult. The parent can file on their child’s behalf for all medical bills related to the accident within two years against a governmental defendant or three years as a non-governmental defendant. The injured child can file independently when they turn 18 and have one year to do so to recover compensation for physical pain, suffering, or lost quality of life.
It is best to strategize the complexities of your case with an experienced child injury attorney before moving forward.
Evidence to Prove Fault in Child Injury Claims
Whether you and your attorney decide to file a lawsuit for your child’s injuries now or when your child turns 18, you still need strong evidence to back your case quickly, which could include:
- Security camera video footage from schools or public places
- Photographs documenting the circumstances of your child’s injuries and the injuries themselves
- Witness statements from bystanders, which could be valuable, if you can obtain their testimony and contact information
- List of damages outside of negligence, including medical treatment records, medications, medical supplies, and more
How to Prove Liability for Your Child’s Injury Claim
Your experienced South Carolina child injury lawyer can prove liability against the defendant by demonstrating that:
- The at-fault party violated their duty of care, which could involve dangerous driving, failing to repair a property, or other reckless behaviors.
- That breach resulted in your child’s injury.
- This negligence caused your child’s injury and impacted your child’s quality of life.
Contact an Attorney to Help with Your Child’s Injury Claim
Contacting an experienced South Carolina child injury attorney to represent you in your lawsuit is integral to maximizing your compensation in these often complex and time-consuming cases so you can move forward with your child’s recovery.