As a parent, you spend your life trying to protect your children and keep anything from harming them. If your child is hurt due to a careless, negligent, or wrongful act of another, you have a right to be angry and distraught. You also have a right to demand answers and full compensation for your child’s medical expenses as well as his or her pain and suffering.
Children are entitled to compensation for their injuries just like adults, but minors under 18 years of age cannot legally enter into legal settlements. The child’s parents will have to file a legal claim on behalf of their child, but a settlement may be structured for the benefit of the child in the future.
If your child has suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence in Oklahoma, you should understand your legal options. Contact the Oklahoma City child injury lawyers of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons as soon as possible for a free consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys about your child’s injury and your legal rights
We have been representing injured people across Oklahoma since 1984 and are exclusively dedicated to personal injury cases, including those involving children. Our firm can help you understand your legal options during a free consultation when you call (405) 835-6982 or contact us online right now.
Common Child Injury Cases
Because children lack life experience and are often more impulsive than most adults, they are much more susceptible to serious injuries. They may not pay attention to traffic when playing in the street, maybe enticed by an unfenced or unlocked swimming pool, or may rush to pet an unfamiliar dog and fail to notice the animal’s signs of aggression.
If an adult fails to take necessary and adequate safety precautions and a child is harmed, the adult could be liable for the injuries the child suffers.
No one wants to think of any child being harmed, but serious injury accidents do occur. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, some of the most common causes of pediatric injury are:
According to the Children’s Safety Network, unintentional injury and violence are the leading causes of hospitalizations and death in children ages 1 to 18 in Oklahoma. The leading cause for children less than 1 year of age was suffocation. Drowning was the leading cause for children between 1 year of age and 4 years of age.
Motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of injury deaths for all age groups older than 5 years of age.
Potentially liable parties after a serious accident may include:
- Negligent motorists
- Property owners
- Owners of aggressive pets
- Manufacturers of defective toys, playground equipment, or other products used by children
- Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals
- School officials
- School bus operators
- Sports coaches, gym teachers, and players
- Other parents
Who Is at Fault When a Child Is Injured?
When a child has been harmed in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the at-fault person or business may be legally liable for damages. Determining who should be held responsible can be challenging. It requires a thorough investigation by an experienced child injury attorney.
Children could be injured because of the failure of a trusted guardian or supervisor. Daycare workers and daycare centers, babysitters, youth organization coaches, or camp counselors may be liable in cases in which a child is injured because of the adult’s failure to provide proper supervision and protect the child from injury.
Teen drivers are frequently listed on their parents’ car insurance policies. If a teen driver causes a car crash, anyone injured in the accident may have a right to seek compensation from the insurance policy covering the at-fault driver.
Oklahoma has a parental responsibility law that could result in parents being liable when their child is responsible for injuring other children. Under Oklahoma Statute § 23-10, any person is entitled to seek damages from a parent or parents of a child when the child is living with the parent or parents at the time of the commission of a criminal or delinquent act resulting in bodily injury, but damages are limited to $2,500.
The state’s parental responsibility law could come into play, for example, if a teenage driver (under the age of 18) causes a car accident that injures someone else.
If a Child Was Hurt at School, Can I Sue The School?
Children spend a great deal of time at school. School administrators, teachers and school systems are entrusted to act in the place of a parent in certain ways to care for children while they are attending school.
An accident that occurs at a school or on a playground could result in liability for the school if the accident was the result of negligence on the part of school officials, teachers, or other employees. A school accident case could require you to file a Notice of Tort claim, which the school will have 90 days to review and answer.
Some of the most common school accidents involve dangerous conditions, such as falls on slippery floors, defective playground equipment, and school bus accidents. Other injuries may be caused by other children. School staff members have an obligation to protect children in these cases.
Filing an injury lawsuit against a school system in Oklahoma is challenging. School systems may be shielded from liability in some situations. For example, you may not be able to hold a school liable for an accident that occurs after school hours or at events that are not school-sponsored. Participating in organized sporting events involves an assumption of risk. Typically, the parents have signed liability waivers to permit their child to participate in organized sports.
But after any serious injury, it is important to have a qualified injury lawyer review the accident and discuss your rights.
Can I Receive Compensation for a Child Accident?
If your child is hurt in an accident, you may have a right to file an injury claim against the party responsible and recover compensation on your child’s behalf.
Children who are hurt due to the actions or inaction of an adult are entitled to the same types of compensation that all individuals are owed, including:
- Medical bills (both current and future)
- Emotional and mental trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future wages caused by a disability
- Funeral and burial expenses (in wrongful death cases)
When a settlement is paid to a child, it will often be structured so the money is accessible to address a child’s specific medical and assistance needs and is held in trust until the child reaches 18 years of age. The court may have specific orders on how structured settlement payments are to be allocated.
Some families may opt to place their child’s settlement in a 529 plan to pay for future education expenses. Named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, a 529 plan is essentially an educational savings account that acts like a 401(k).
Why You Need a Child Injury Lawyer
Injuries to children can be devastating to all involved, and your family deserves a legal team that will treat you with compassion.
The compassionate attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons understand what you are going through as the parent of a child who was hurt due to another’s negligence or intentional act. You want to see your child make a full recovery. Obtaining a fair settlement to cover your child’s present and future medical expenses can help ease a family’s financial stress.
We know that results matter, and we will not accept anything less than the maximum amount of compensation that you and your child should receive. The party responsible for your child’s injury should pay for the harm your child has suffered.
Our Oklahoma City child injury attorney will fight tenaciously on your behalf. If your child has been injured, we will be prepared to stand up for you and demand justice. Call (405) 835-6982 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case with us today.Get Started