According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of child mortality in the United States. The CDC also reports that an estimated 9.2 million children are seen in the emergency rooms across the United States each year due to an unintentional child injury. These alarming figures beg the question of what we can do to reduce child injuries and deaths.
If your child has been injured by another, your child is entitled to reimbursement for their harms and losses. Child injuries present the possibility for a lifetime of medical and treatment expenses, which can lead to a significant financial burden for future care. Do not accept anything less than a full recovery for your child. If your child has been killed by another, you may have the right to bring a wrongful death case to recover for your loss. In addition to seeking reimbursement for expenses and suffering, the process of holding the responsible party accountable will ensure the conduct or behavior that caused the injury is corrected and other children remain safe.
Common Causes of Child Injuries
In the State of Missouri, transportation related injuries among children have the highest death rate for kids aged 0-19. While transportation accidents are the most common, thousands of children are injured and killed through numerous other circumstances. The majority of injuries (nonfatal) for children come from:
- Falls: Falling accounts for the the most nonfatal child injuries for all children under 15.
- Being Struck By An Object: Being hit by an object or against an object.
- Animal Bites / Insect stings: Children aged 0-9 are commonly injured in this manner.
- Auto Accidents: Children aged 15-19 are most commonly injured through car accidents.
- Daycare Accidents: The growing number of children placed in daycare, estimated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be in excess of 15 million, results in thousands of daycare injuries each year.
The majority of child fatalities come from:
- Transportation Accidents: Child occupants in motor vehicle traffic accidents aged 5-19 account for the most child injury deaths.
- Drowning: This is the leading cause of death for younger children (1-4 years old).
- Suffocation: 2/3 of child injury deaths to children under the age of 1 come from suffocation.
Male children typically have a higher injury and death rate than females. While we have attempted to list a few of the common causes of injuries to children, these tragic events happen in a countless variety of ways. The most disheartening fact of all child injuries is how they are virtually all preventable.
Preventing Child Injuries
Child injuries are a global health problem. For every child who is killed as the result of a child accident, there are countless more who are left with varying degrees of disability. A little time spent learning about the common causes and prevention techniques can be all the difference in the world.
- Prevent Child Accident Injuries: Children riding in automobiles should always be properly fastened into the vehicle. Whether your child uses a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, make sure you are familiar with its proper use. Healthchildren.org has compiled a great list of information for families on the proper ways for children to travel in motor vehicles.
- Prevent Drowning: Children should never be left alone around water. It does not matter if it is a bucket, bathtub or pool. Never take your eyes off a child when they are around water. Swimming pool owners should make sure to have at least a 4 foot tall self closing and latching pool safe fence and proper pool cover.
- Prevent Injuries from Fires: Make sure your home has proper and working smoke detectors on each level. Perform monthly testing to make sure they are working. Also make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Prevent Falls: Never leave a child unattended when they are in a high place. Changing tables and beds are common places where parents incorrectly think they will have enough time to quickly run into another room. It is amazing how fast a child can rollover.
- Prevent Suffocating/Chocking: Keep small objects away from your children, such as buttons, batteries, nuts, grapes, etc. Make sure you child’s crib remains pillow and stuffed animal free until the appropriate age. Always watch your child when they are eating to make sure they do not choke.
- Prevent Poisoning: Make sure your household cabinets are properly secured if you keep your cleaning supplies within the reach of your child. It is best to move these to a top closet shelf, safely out of the way of your child.
- Burn Prevention: Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to test all bath water and bottles. When cooking, make sure you use the back burners and turn the pot handles so they face inward.
How do Child Injury Lawsuits Work?
Child injury lawsuits are much different from those of an adult. Missouri law declares anyone under the age of 18 to be considered a minor. Missouri law further declares a minor unable to bring a lawsuit in his or her own name. The logic is simply that a child lacks the necessary maturity required to make the decisions necessary to protect their best interests. We are all aware of how differently we would have spent money at the age of 10 and 30.
If a child is injured through the reckless or negligent conduct of another person, an individual must be appointed by the courts to act on behalf of the child. This is called serving as the child’s “Next Friend”. The Next Friend is typically the child’s parents or guardian. If the child’s parents or guardian is unable or unwilling to serve, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant the section 507.110 of the Revised Statues of Missouri. A guardian ad litem is simply an adult the court selects to represent the minors best interest in the lawsuit or claim.
The child’s appointed representative will be required to make decisions which are in the best interest of the child. These decisions include whether to accept a child injury settlement, file a lawsuit, trail strategies, and other legal decisions. At the resolution of the case, all child injury settlements must be approved by the court. This process of approving a minor’s settlement will be closely scrutinized by the courts in order to protect the child’s best interest.
In the State of Missouri, if a child receives a settlement, the courts will require the settlement be placed in a restricted account, such as an annuity or trust. Doing this provides additional protection for the child and helps make sure the money is actually used for the benefit of the child.
Child Injury Settlements
Injuries to children require a careful analysis to ensure your child is receiving reimbursement for all of their damages. Child injury settlements should include reimbursement for past medical expenses, suffering, pain, inconvenience, future lost wages, future medical expenses, and countless other accident related harms and losses.
Each child injury case presents a unique set of circumstances. Some child injuries are minor and you may not need a lawyer at all. Other injuries require a detailed investigation, experts, and medical evidence in order to recover everything needed to protect your child’s future.
How to Hire a Child Injury Lawyer
It is important you hire a lawyer immediately after your child’s accident or death. Dealing with these legal issues following a tragedy is certainly the last thing you want to think about. However, an experienced injury lawyer needs to immediately conduct an investigation and gather all available evidence before it is lost or destroyed. The insurance company is immediately going to work gathering evidence which will help them pay as little as possible for your child’s claim. It is crucial you have someone fighting for you and your child.
Child injury lawyers work on a contingent fee arrangement. This means there are no out of pocket expenses for you, and we do not receive a fee unless we win. Child injury lawyer Christopher Dixon has received one of the largest child injury judgments in St. Louis County history, in the amount of $30,040,000. Chris has also helped a child injured in a paintball accident recover $2,750,000 for his injuries.
Chris is recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and a Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Call The Dixon Injury Firm for a FREE child injury case evaluation by our experienced legal team. (314) 409-7060, or 855-402-7274 (toll free).