Springfield Child Injury Attorney for Child Accidents and Abuse
Children react far differently to an injury or accident than adults. Although most people can recognize symptoms of their own trauma, it can be challenging to pinpoint when a child has suffered abuse or an injury, as adolescents often have difficulty articulating their feelings and condition. Months and even years may pass before an injury is discovered; therefore, it is important to discuss concerns with a family physician and seek guidance from other professionals as soon as you suspect something has occurred.
We are here to provide you and your child with compassionate and experienced legal guidance during this difficult time. Call Us to Schedule a Free Consult!
As child injury lawyers, we are committed to helping all clients recover full compensation following an injury, including those suffered by children and adolescents. We regularly work with child psychologists and medical professionals to determine whether abuse, neglect, or other incidents have adversely impacted a child. If you believe your child has sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligent or intentional acts, contact our child injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation. There is no fee for our services unless compensation is recovered.
How Are Children Commonly Injured?
Approximately 9.2 million children end up in emergency rooms each year because of unintentional injuries, such as burns, suffocation, dog bites, drowning, car and bus accidents, poisoning, bicycle accidents, and falls, among others.1 Of these, an average of 12,175 children succumb to their injures and die.2
In addition to unintentional injuries, hundreds of thousands of children experience heartbreaking physical, mental, and sexual abuse that can lead to catastrophic injuries and death. In these cases, it is critical that all those responsible be held accountable to the full extent of the law. This can include not only those who directly perpetuate injury and abuse, but also those who are mandatory reporters who have failed to timely report suspected abuse or neglect, as well as those in whose care children were abused or neglected, such as day care facilities.
How Common Is Child Abuse?
The United States has one of the most devastating and significant child abuse records among industrialized nations. Tragically, about seven children each day die in the US as a result of abuse and neglect.3 Of these cases, more than 70% of the children are two years of age or younger, and 80% are not old enough for kindergarten.4
Aside from tragic fatalities, hundreds of thousands of children are injured by abuse, often leaving them with lifelong physical or mental health disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked adverse childhood experiences with a range of long-term health impacts, including:
- Illicit drug abuse
- Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
- Risk for intimate partner violence
- Smoking & Drinking at an early age
- Suicide attempts
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Early initiation of sexual activity
- Adolescent pregnancy and fetal death5
Abuse is so prevalent that over 6.6 million children are referred to child protection agencies every year.
Who Is at Fault in a Child Injury Accident?
Because children are less experienced and more spontaneous than most adults, they
are highly susceptible to severe injuries. For example, they may attempt to pet a dog without fear of being bitten or jump into a pool without understanding its depth or the dangers of drowning. Unfortunately, this impulsivity often leads to injuries.
When it comes to children, adults have a duty to act with reasonable care. This means that individuals who fail to take standard safety precautions (such as installing fences around pools), as well as those who intentionally harm a child, are liable for any resulting injuries, or even death. At-fault parties can include:
- Property owners
- Product manufacturers (such as toy or child safety equipment companies)
- School officials
- Dog owners
- Coaches and teachers
- Health care professionals
- Other Parents
- Playground equipment manufacturers
- Daycare personnel
- Any other party causing harm to a child
- Religious leaders
- Other children
Determining liability for an adolescent injury is often complicated. For this reason, seeking the representation of a compassionate child injury lawyer is usually the best course of action. At Alekman DiTusa, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to investigate incidents, interview witnesses, and build a strong case for maximum compensation.
Why Should I Hire a Dedicated and Caring Child Injury Lawyer?
Our child injury attorneys have the experience and demeanor necessary when working with children. With compassion and empathy, child victims and their parents are comfortable with us to open up and discuss what happened.
At times, an adolescent’s behavior may change significantly due to an injury, but a parent may be unaware that an incident transpired. For instance, a child may suffer a daycare injury that causes internal brain damage, but personnel will not inform the parent of the accident out of fear of potential repercussions. Consequently, when a child suddenly begins to behave differently, the cause of the different behavior may be puzzling to a mom or dad.
In cases like these, we work with parents and trained professionals to determine if the new behavior was caused by an accident or traumatic event. For instance, symptoms of a head or other injury in children may include:
- Sudden disobedience in school
- Problems at daycare
- Sudden changes in personality
- Becoming withdrawn
- Loss of appetite or sudden weight loss
We Work with Child Psychologists and Other Medical Professionals to Address Child Injuries.
We urge parents to seek the professional help that is often necessary, rather than simply attributing behavior changes to a part of growing up.
When an innocent child is injured, it is our strong belief that every means possible should be used to address their needs and protect their rights. Therefore, we regularly consult with mental health and medical professionals that specialize in pediatric treatment not only to determine what may have happened, but also to determine what treatment may be best for a child.
The Types of Child Injury Claims that We Handle
As experienced child injury claim attorneys, we handle all matters in which a child is the victim, including (but not limited to):
- Child molestation
- Daycare and school injuries
- Dog bites
- Injury from broken playground equipment and stairs
- Other premises liability accident
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- School bus accidents
- Car and vehicle accidents
- Medication errors
- Sports and other injuries from defective equipment
- Wrongful death
How Are Child Injury Cases Different from Lawsuits Involving Adults?
A child injured by the actions or inactions of an adult is entitled to the same types of compensation as adults, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Future care costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma
- Loss of future wages
- Property loss
- Funeral and burial expenses (in the case of wrongful death)
- Punitive damages (in egregious cases)
However, Massachusetts law recognizes that children are different from adults. For example, if an individual abuses and taunts someone’s dog, and the animal bites, then the dog owner might not be liable for any harm in some cases. Conversely, if a child under the age of seven beats or harasses a dog and is bitten, their behavior will be disregarded, and the owner could still be liable. Further, a child under 18 cannot file a personal injury lawsuit, meaning that only a parent or legal guardian may do so on their behalf.
Cases involving adolescents also differ in the degree of responsibility assigned to children. Judges and juries will consider whether a child acted in an age-appropriate manner when making determinations regarding injuries.
In premises liability cases, trespassing children are treated significantly different than adults. For example, if a property owner is aware a hazard exists that could entice curious children and does not remedy the issue, the property owner could be liable if a child is harmed. In contrast, adult trespassers cannot recover damages unless the property owner engaged in reckless, willful, or wanton behavior.
Because special laws apply in cases involving children, it is vital to consult with an experienced attorney who is well-versed in handling these specific types of cases. At Alekman DiTusa, we have over 90 years of combined legal practice, and we have an in-depth understanding of Massachusetts-specific statutes governing adolescents. We are experienced in successfully litigating child injury cases and know what is required to prove fault and how to seek full compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation – Let Us Explain the Options for Seeking Compensation for Your Child
If your child has sustained a severe injury due to another party’s actions or inactions, you may qualify for compensation to help with their current and future care costs. All of our attorneys and support staff understand the difficult and sensitive nature of having to bring a suit on behalf of a child, which is why we work hard to ensure that we provide compassionate guidance through every step of the process.
It’s important to understand that there are important deadlines (referred to as the statute of limitations) by which a case must be filed; otherwise, the opportunity to seek compensation will be lost. For this reason, we urge you to call us as soon as possible so that you can protect your child’s rights.
Call today to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. We work on a contingency basis meaning that if we handle your case, there are no legal fees unless we are successful in securing money for your child and family.
How Can We Help?
Please call us at 413.781.0000 or fill out this form.