For parents, there is nothing more difficult than seeing their child seriously injured in an accident. In California, businesses, property owners, and other parties owe a heightened duty of care to young children. If a child is hurt due to carelessness, recklessness, or negligence, wrongdoers will be held liable. In this article, our San Jose personal injury lawyers highlight four key things you should know about child injury cases in California.
A Parent has Legal Authority to Start the Claims Process
In California, a minor’s parent or guardian has the legal authority to bring a personal injury claim on their behalf. If your child was hurt in an accident in California, you and your family have the right to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Any compensation is the property of the child and will be sequestered in an account from which withdrawals can be ordered by a judge to be used solely to assure a child’s health and well-being are protected. At age 18 the funds in the account become the property of the victim.
Extended Statute of Limitations for Child Injury Claims
In California, a claimant must file any legal action before the statute of limitations expires. State law (California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1) imposes a two-year statute of limitations for most types of personal injury claim. An adult victim who fails to file a personal injury claim within two years of the accident will likely lose out on their opportunity to pursue compensation in court.
However, California’s strict statute of limitations is tolled or paused and only begins to run on the child’s 18th birthday and requires that a lawsuit be filed on or before the victim’s 20th birthday.
A parent can and should avoid waiting to initiate the personal injury claim and lawsuit in order to make sure that valuable and necessary witnesses are identified, and their testimony preserved in a deposition before they disappear and cannot be found.
A Settlement/Verdict Must Include Compensation for Ongoing/Future Losses
Any personal injury settlement or personal injury verdict in a child injury case must include financial compensation for ongoing care, and all future damages. Among other things, this includes compensation for future medical bills, future lost earnings, and long term care for disabilities.
California Courts Must Approve Child Injury Settlements
California law requires a judge to approve any personal injury settlement involving a child victim. Judges require that a settlement protect the best interests of a child and will reject a settlement that is inadequate to compensate a child for injuries arising from an accident or when a parent seeks to allocate a portion of a recovery to themselves. Families should be represented by an experienced San Jose, CA personal injury lawyer who can help to ensure that any settlement provides full and fair financial compensation.
Call Our San Jose Personal Injury Attorney for Immediate Help With a Child Injury Case
Alexander Law Group, LLP attorneys are available to answer questions and share our knowledge of the law and the results of our research and experience. Our goal as personal injury lawyers is to make a difference for our clients. Every day we deal with a range of health and safety issues that most people do not encounter until after an injury occurs. We are safety lawyers committed to sharing with our clients, colleagues, and the public information for safe and healthy living. Call 888-777-1776 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you.