Injuries to Children
Injuries to children pose very specific issues. We have handled a wide range of these cases, with excellent results, from a mauling of a 2 year old girl by a pit bull, injuries in auto accidents, to wrongful death based upon dangerous conditions related to windows in a commercial building. Children often make poor witnesses on their own behalf. They often are reluctant or even unable to communicate with family members regarding their symptoms. This makes it all the more important to be pro-active. If your child has been injured by a negligent driver, or a dangerous condition in a building, or by an animal, get medical care for your child immediately. Take photographs - right now, don't wait - of the injury, the location of the injury, of any property damage to a car, bicycle or other object. Get the names of any and all witnesses. Then contact an attorney.
Legal representation of an injured child differs from adults. By law, all contingent fees for children are limited to 25% regardless whether the case is resolved at the insurance claims stage (directly with the insurance company without litigation), or resolved by a jury verdict after a trial. Any settlement that exceeds $5,000 is required to be approved by a judge in a proceeding called a "Minor's Compromise Hearing." The purpose of this hearing is allow a judge the opportunity to approve the settlement, ensuring that the dollar amount is adequate to compensate the child for the nature, type and duration of its injuries, and to approve of how the money is to be disbursed. Generally, settlements or litigation awards for children, are placed in "blocked accounts" to ensure that no one other than the child will gain access to this money, and that the payment will be made to the child after the child turns at least 18 years of age. Most net settlement amounts of any size for a child will be deposited in an interest bearing annuity instrument, allowing the child to receive principal plus often substantial interest earnings which have accrued during the interval between the deposit and the payment date - after the child reaches his or her majority.