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Nothing is more devastating as a parent than seeing your child injured. Even if you could not prevent the accident, you may still feel responsible for the harm that was done to them.
If your child suffered an injury, you can hold the negligent parties responsible. A Washington Township child injury lawyer could help you recover damages for the physical, emotional, and financial losses your family has suffered. Our trustworthy personal injury attorneys work diligently to establish fault for the event and argue for necessary financial support.
Deadline for Filing a Child Injury Claim in New Jersey
Like personal injury claims for adults, a parent or guardian must file their child’s claim within a specific time, known as the statute of limitations. Otherwise, claims filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations risk being dismissed. An injured party generally has two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. However, if the injury is to a child, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until they reach age 18.
Because the limitations period can be extended past a child’s 18th birthday, they could file an action on their own behalf after reaching the age of majority. However, waiting to investigate and pursue a claim could result in missing witnesses and lost evidence, making it more challenging to prove negligence and recover damages. Accordingly, a parent is well-advised to consult with a Washington Township child injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Recoverable Damages in Child Injury Cases
The physical harm to a child in an accident may be obvious, such as broken bones or head trauma. However, a child’s injuries can go far beyond the visible scars and include both short-term damage and long-term pain and suffering. A settlement must cover all the injury’s effects on the child and their family, even if they occur months or years after the accident. Some of the unfortunate damages resulting from a child injury include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation and extended care
- Emotional suffering
- Modifications to a vehicle or home to accommodate crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs
- Loss of a child’s future earning capacity
- Loss of income for a parent caring for the child
- The child’s physical pain and suffering
Calculating damages for medical bills and lost wages can be relatively straightforward. However, assigning a dollar value to a child’s pain and suffering or the accident’s impact on their ability to gain an education and employment is more challenging. An attorney in Washington Township understands the importance of accurately assessing both present and future expenses and painting a detailed picture of a child’s injuries for the insurance company and the court.
Special Rules for Child Injury Settlements
State law mandates that funds received by children for injuries borne of negligence must be preserved for them to use in the future. A parent or legal guardian can negotiate and accept a personal injury settlement on their child’s behalf. However, if the proposed compensation exceeds $5,000, a judge must approve the settlement before closing the claim.
Additionally, once a parent or guardian receives the funds, they must demonstrate that they are protecting the settlement for the child’s future use. Some parents may deposit the payment into a trust account with the New Jersey County Surrogate appointed to represent their child’s interests. The Surrogate then maintains the funds in an account until the child reaches the age of majority.
Protect Your Child’s Interests by Working with a Washington Township Child Injury Attorney
It is a terrible experience to have your child injured, and it is even more difficult to bear if the harm done to them was caused by someone else’s negligence. If your child has been involved in an accident, a Washington Township child injury lawyer could help. Our dedicated team of legal advocates could help determine if family has a viable compensation claim, so call today.