Each year, millions of children are treated for injuries due to various accidents in the U.S., many of which were the result of another party’s negligence. Children are fragile and defenseless, and as much as we try to protect them, we cannot always keep them completely safe from every dangerous situation. And unfortunately, not only are children more likely to be injured, but their injuries are often much more severe and long-lasting and occur both physically and mentally.
At Mike Agruss Law, our personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Child Accident Statistics
According to Stanford Children’s Health, injury is the leading cause of death in children with approximately 12,000 children dying annually from unintentional injuries. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury in children, with approximately 8,000 hospital visits daily for children under the age of 19.
Bicycle-related accidents account for nearly 100 child deaths every year with 254,000 injuries. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one (1) and four (4). The majority of these drownings occur in residential pools or open water.
Overall, though, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of childhood death, comprising 20% of all deaths to children under the age of 19.
Common Types of Child Accidents
There are a wide variety of situations that may result in a child being seriously injured. Some of these common types of child accidents can include, but are not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence can put everyone at risk for serious injuries and death.
- Drowning – While most drownings occur in residential swimming pools and open water recreational areas, a child can drown in as little as one inch of water and children are especially prone to a condition known as “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning”, which can occur minutes to 24-hours later.
- Negligent supervision – We trust that when we leave our child with a babysitter, nanny, daycare facility, school, friend, or other caretakers, they will be safe, including being kept safe around windows, cords, water, chemicals, electricity, animals, and even toys. Also, when a child is placed into the foster care system, it is assumed that they will be looked after better than the home they were taken from. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and they do not always receive the supervision that they deserve to keep them safe.
- Playground equipment accidents – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 75% of playground accidents occur on public playgrounds are often the result of neglected and older equipment, lack of safety rails, poor design, and hard surfaces under the playground equipment.
- Household cleaner/goods accidents – As adults, we take for granted the chemicals we keep around the house because we understand how to use them safely. Children do not understand the danger these chemicals can pose, including bleach, antifreeze, cosmetics, laundry detergent, and prescription medications.
- Defective or recalled products – Poorly designed products put everyone at-risk but can be especially dangerous to children. Toys, cribs, car seats, strollers, and outdoor toys and equipment that are defective, poorly designed, or recalled put children in danger of serious injuries and can have tragic results.
- Medical errors – We trust that the medical community will go above and beyond in caring for our children. Unfortunately, children continue to be injured under the care of those that are sworn to do no harm. Medical errors such as birth injuries, surgical errors, medication errors, and hospital-acquired infections were found to occur at a rate of 19 adverse medical events every 1,000 hospital patient days according to a recent study.
- Sports accidents – 30 million children and teens participate in some sort of organized sports and every year there are approximately 3.5 million sports-related injuries, many of which are serious. While most of these injuries are accidental, sometimes these injuries are due to negligence.
- Burns – Burns can occur for any number of reasons, including scalding, steam burns, chemical burns, house fires, car accidents, hot liquids or food, and hot bathwater. Burns are extremely painful and can cause scarring and disability that lasts a lifetime.
- Firearm accidents – In Illinois, gun owners can be charged with a crime if a child under the age of 14 gains access to their firearm that is left unsecured and it causes great bodily harm or death.
- Dog bites – Dogs are man’s best friend, but occasionally they bite. Children are naturally attracted to dogs, and, unfortunately, they often sustain serious and sometimes deadly dog bite injuries.
This is just a small sampling of the types of accidents that children may be involved in. If your child suffered an accident and you have questions about your case, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation to determine what your options may be.
Child Accident FAQs
- My child has been injured in an accident, should I file a lawsuit?
- My child suffered a birth injury, what should I do?
- Can I hire a personal injury lawyer on behalf of my injured child?
- Do child personal injury lawsuits typically settle or proceed to trial?
- My child was injured on a trampoline/in a bounce house/in a swimming pool/playing with fireworks. Is the property owner liable for their injuries?
- What are the costs of hiring a lawyer?
Compensation After a Child Accident
In a child accident injury case, you may be able to obtain compensation for all of the damages and injuries that the accident caused to you and your child. As each child accident case will be unique, so too will be the amount and type of compensation you may receive. What must be proven in any personal injury case, though, is that there were actual injuries, whether they be tangible or intangible, and that they were a direct result of the accident.
Some of the types of compensation your child may be entitled to following an accident can include:
- Medical expenses – This can include immediate medical bills associated with the accident, as well as future expenses for care and can include medical transport, emergency room fees, doctor’s appointments, medications, physical therapy, long term care, and surgeries.
- Lost wages – If you miss work due to your child’s accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages.
- Pain and suffering/emotional distress – These are subjective, non-economic damages that compensate the victim for the emotional strain the accident left on them, as well as the pain and suffering they suffered as a direct result of their accident.
- Disfigurement/disability – If an accident leaves a child with permanent scarring or a long term, life-changing disability, a claim for disfigurement/disability can be pursued.
- Punitive damages – In the event that the negligent party’s behavior was especially egregious, a judge may award punitive damages in addition to other compensation as a way to not only punish the guilty party but as a way to make an example of them so that others do not follow in their footsteps.
- Wrongful death – The Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows the family of the victim to be compensated for things such as the pain and suffering and medical expenses the child suffered prior to their death, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
Preparing for Every Child Accident Case
Child accident cases are similar to other personal injury cases, in that the victim has the burden of proof in showing that the defendant acted in a manner that caused your child’s injuries and damages. A child accident case requires that these four elements be proven to establish negligence:
- “Duty of care” – The defendant owed a legal duty to ensure that your child was protected from unreasonable risks and safety hazards while under their care, on their property, or while using their product, for example.
- “Breach of duty of care” – It must be proven that the defendant breached this duty of care and because of their behavior, they did not uphold their legal responsibilities.
- “Causation” – It must be shown that this breach of duty of care was the direct cause of your child’s accident and injuries through either action or inaction.
- “Damages” – Your child must have suffered legitimate injuries and losses due to the actions or inactions of the defendant.
Laws regarding children can be complex. However, under Illinois law, if a child under the age of 18 is injured in an accident, they have two years from the time they turn 18 to file a personal injury claim, meaning they can file a claim until they turn 20 years of age.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if a child is injured by medical malpractice, they must file their lawsuit within eight (8) years of the act that caused their injury or before the child turns 22, whichever comes first. The statute of limitations is also different for cases of sexual abuse, where Illinois recently passed legislation that eliminates statutes of limitations for all criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children.
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court with the negligent party before ever progressing to a jury trial. The lawyers of Mike Agruss Law understand the laws surrounding child injuries and accidents and prepare every case with the possibility of a trial that consistently results in larger settlements for our clients.
The steps that we take for a child accident case will vary with the specific circumstances of your accident, but can include:
- Collecting police reports
- Speaking to witnesses and collecting witness statements
- Obtaining medical records and requesting reports on the causation and permanency of your child’s injuries
- Hiring accident experts and accident reconstruction experts
- Obtaining photographs of the accident scene, damages, injuries, and defective products
- Communicating directly with the insurance company, physicians, and attorneys
Child Injury and Accident Verdicts
To further protect a child that has been injured, all Illinois settlements and verdicts involving minors that exceed a small amount of compensation must be approved by a judge to ensure that this number is fair. In most cases, a trust or an estate will be established for the child to protect their funds until the disability has been lifted or the child reaches the age of majority.
Contact Us for A Free Review
Nobody wants to see a child hurt. As parents and guardians, it can be gut-wrenching to watch your child suffer and absolutely heartbreaking when you lose a child due to the negligence of another.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are an Illinois statewide-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have been injured in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, we are not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. There is no risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.
Cities We Serve
In addition to the Chicago area, Mike Agruss Law also serves the following cities in Illinois: