Parents are the protectors who diligently keep children out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, even the most vigilant parents can have accidents happen to their children. It’s not always possible to protect your child from the negligence or wrongdoing of another person.
Children have the same legal rights to compensation for damages as an adult. The difference is that children don’t have legal rights to file a personal injury claim. However, when another person injures a child, parents will usually file a personal injury claim on behalf of their children.
Read on to find out about frequently asked questions relating to personal injury claims on behalf of children.
Common Culprits of Childhood Injuries
Children are curious little creatures who are learning to explore the world and test boundaries. Their eagerness can sometimes get them into trouble, but parents can teach children safety practices and preventative measures for safety. Sadly, however, sometimes we can’t prevent accidents. Those caused by someone else’s negligence are harder to anticipate or prevent. Many situations could result in a child being injured. Here are some common examples of a personal injury claim that could involve a childhood injury:
- Bike accidents
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Bus accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog attacks or dog bites
While we cannot control another person’s negligence, we can control our legal recourse by bringing forth a personal injury claim on behalf of our children.
Can a Parent File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Child in Colorado?
Yes. In the state of Colorado, parents and legal guardians have the right to file legal actions on behalf of their children. This includes personal injury claims. There are, however, restrictions in place to protect the child. For example, if the parents wish to settle a claim before trial, they must get court approval for the settlement claim. These regulations are in place to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interest. So if the parents decide to settle the child’s personal injury claim without filing a personal injury lawsuit, they must get the settlement approved by the court. There may also be ramifications on how the money will be distributed or spent.
If your child has been injured in Colorado, it may be time for you to speak with a Colorado personal injury lawyer about filing a claim.
Compromise of a Minor’s Claim in Colorado
Colorado also has a specific review process for the child’s settlement after winning. Again, this is to ensure the child’s best interests are met. After winning a settlement on behalf of your child, Colorado law requires a Compromise of a Minor’s Claim to follow.
Compromise of a Minor’s Claim will finalize and approve the personal injury settlement. All parties involved in the lawsuit must sign the claim. Additionally, a Rule 16 petition must be approved for the child to win the case officially. Finally, the court will approve a plan to handle the funds after the child officially wins the lawsuit.
Are There Deadlines for Filing Personal Injury Claims for Children?
Colorado’s statutes of limitations set a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. However, there are exceptions to those deadlines when dealing with claims for injured minors.
Since children cannot legally file a claim for themselves, the statute of limitations is “tolled” or stalled until they reach 18 years of age. From their 18th birthday, the child will have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit. The legal guardian or parents of the minor can also file a lawsuit on behalf of the child. They will have until the child’s 18th birthday to take legal action.
It’s best to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence injures your child. Unfortunately, calculating the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit can be complex and sometimes confusing. In addition, if you accidentally make an error while calculating how much time you have, you may potentially forfeit your child’s right to seek compensation from the responsible party.
Damages a Parent Can Recover for Their Injured Child in Colorado
To recover compensation for damages, you must first prove that the liable party’s negligence caused the accident. Once you establish liability, you can recover the same type of compensation for financial damages as any other personal injury case. You may seek both economic and non-economic damages on behalf of your child. Examples of economic damages include medical expenses and lost wages from taking time off work to care for your child. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Mental, emotional, psychological pain and suffering
- Any psychological distress as a result of the accident; depression, PTSD, anxiety, fear
- Future loss of income or decreased earning potential of parents
- Reduced enjoyment or lesser quality of life from the accident or injuries
If parents had to take time off work to care for their child after the accident, they might be entitled to compensation. Furthermore, if the parent loses a child to the accident, they may also be able to recover wrongful death benefits.
How Much is My Child’s Personal Injury Claim Worth?
The circumstances and facts of each unique case will affect the amount of compensation a child will receive for their personal injury claim. For example, if a child gets catastrophic injuries, the claim’s value will increase. Examples of catastrophic injuries would be:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Lost or amputated limbs
- Any other damage or injury that prevents the child from being able to carry out meaningful work
Children are particularly vulnerable to developing lasting impairments from an injury, so it’s imperative to seek medical expertise as soon as possible. For example, a child who sustains a brain injury could suffer developmental delays or cognitive, physical, or emotional impairments.
If your child sustained injuries that led to disability or permanent impairment, they could be entitled to substantial compensation. The damages they seek would include compensation for future damages. Speak with your Colorado personal injury lawyer to determine the extent of your child’s injuries and damages. Your Colorado personal injury lawyer will help you navigate the stress and trauma of seeing your child in pain and suffering and help you get the total and fair compensation you deserve.
Call Our Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
We are very sorry that someone else’s actions injured your child. Our Colorado personal injury lawyers understand how challenging and painful it can be after your child is involved in an accident, especially if their injuries were catastrophic. We are here to help you seek justice on behalf of your child. Contact us today for a free initial consultation. Our experienced Colorado personal injury lawyers will explain your child’s legal rights and help you hold the negligent party accountable.