Answers to Your Questions About Child Injury and Child Abuse Lawsuits
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My child was hurt in a neighbor’s pool. Is my neighbor responsible? Do I have any reason to contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer?
On average, more than one child dies every day in a pool related accident, and approximately 14 children are injured and require emergency room visits. Of course, those numbers are not evenly divided among the 365 days of the year, and long, hot, sunny summer days tend to see more accidents than winter days.
Sometimes a child’s pool injury is the result of parental neglect or just a simple accident. However, if your child has been hurt in a neighbor’s pool, then there are certain times when your neighbor may be liable for your child’s injuries.
For example, a neighbor may be responsible if he or she failed to:
- Have appropriate fencing around the pool.
- Have appropriate pool drain safety equipment in place.
- Provide appropriate supervision of the children in the pool.
Determining legal liability for a Kansas City pool accident injury can be complicated. Thus, it is important to contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney for a FREE consultation if your child has been injured. An experienced Kansas City child injury lawyer will explain why a neighbor may, or may not, be responsible for your child’s injuries and, if appropriate, fight hard for your child’s fair and just recovery.
For more information, please contact our Kansas City accident law firm today at (816) 471- 5111 or (888) 348-2616, and read our FREE book: Don’t Wreck Your Injury Claim.
Is the statute of limitations for Kansas City personal injury claims different for children than it is for adults?
Yes. In Missouri, the statute of limitation for injury claims for children begins on their 22nd birthday. In most cases, they then have five years to file a claim. An exception is medical malpractice. Children under 18 must file their claim by their 20th birthday.
In Kansas, claims may be filed until one year after the victim’s 18th birthday, but never more than 8 years after the injury occurred.
However, it is best not to delay filing a child injury claim. By filing a claim as soon as possible, you ensure that medical records and other evidence to support your case are still available.
My child was touched inappropriately by his afterschool caregiver. What should I do?Often child sexual abuse occurs when an organization is negligent in doing a background check before hiring staff. There may also be negligent supervision of staff. Any organization that deals with children has a legal responsibility to carefully screen their employees and any other adults that come into contact with children. They are also responsible for supervising the adult-child relationship.
It is important that parents report any inappropriate “touching” immediately. You should report it to the head of your child care program and you should report the incident to the police. Many parents think it is an extreme measure, but you should make a police report even if you suspect that something is wrong. Often children are exposed to abusive adults just because no one felt they had the grounds to make charges, just a suspicion. Our children are precious, even the suspicion of abuse is worth an investigation.
You will also want to find counseling for your child. MOSCA is a good Kansas City resource.
How is a personal injury settlement for minors different?
The court has a strong interest in protecting a child's interests. To that end, generally, once the parties reach a settlement agreement, the court will hold a Minor Settlement hearing to review and approve minor settlements. In addition, the court will also usually appoint a conservator to handle the child's funds to ensure that the money will not be used inappropriately by a parent.
In Missouri, if a minor settlement is not approved by the court it will not be enforceable because it will be considered against public policy. A parent or other natural guardian cannot enter into a binding minor settlement; the court will appoint a guardian ad litem.
A court is not permitted to rely on a parent's consent to settlement but must find that the settlement is in the minor's best interest. Instead, the court must determine whether the agreement is in the minor's best interests."
A minor will not be bound by a settlement unless a court has approved the settlement.
Missouri and Kansas both mandate that settlements on behalf of minors are court approved. Although some insurance companies will try to get around this requirement, it is sound public policy to have a judge protect children. Attorneys should be aware of these requirements so that their clients do not have to incur significant bills when the validity of a minor settlement is challenged because it was not approved by the court.
Missouri and Kansas child injuries are different. We know the complications involved in child injury cases, and we can help.
If your child has been injured due to someone else's negligence, we can help. Don't hesitate to contact Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys.
What is child neglect?
Neglect generally involves an omission or a failure to do something. Neglect often involves a parent, daycare provider or other caregiver failing to provide for the basic needs of a child. This can include a failure to provide an education, medical care, food, clothing, shelter, and much more. Neglect also involves failure to provide adequate supervision permitting the child to be in a situation that could harm him or her.
Child neglect is the most common type of child maltreatment in the U.S. Reports have shown that over 560,000 U.S. children were victims of neglect in 2005. More than 42 percent of all child maltreatment fatalities arose out of child neglect compared to about 24 percent of fatalities that arose out of abuse and neglect.
If you suspect your child is being neglected or abused, read our articles, Missouri and Kansas Daycare Injuries: Is Your Child a Victim? and Is Your Child a Victim of Abuse: Learn the Signs.
When should I call the child abuse and child neglect hotline?
Call the child abuse and child neglect hotline at any time you suspect that someone who is caring for a child, who resides with a child, or who works with a child has (or may have) caused injury or harm to that child, or has put that child at risk for injury.
There are many examples of abuse including: witnessing a person hit a child with or without an object, witnessing physical marks on the child's body that appear intentional, whenever a child reports to you that he or she has been injured or harmed by another person, when a child appears to you to be underfed, has been dressed inappropriately for the prevailing weather, or is young and has been left by himself or herself. These are just a few of the many situations in which you should contact the child abuse and child neglect hotline. You must use your own judgment when calling the hotline in any instance that you believe a child has been victimized.
When Should I NOT Call The Child Abuse and Child Neglect Hotline?
There are some situations in which you should not contact the child abuse and child neglect hotline. Again, you must exercise your own good judgment and call the child abuse and child neglect hotline only when you suspect that child abuse or child neglect has occurred (or is currently occurring), or when you believe that a child has been injured or will be injured.
Some examples which do not call for contacting the child abuse and child neglect hotline include: When a child is causing a situation that is of concern to you, but the problem is not the result or in any way related to child abuse or child neglect—in such situations, it may be appropriate to contact law enforcement or perhaps speak to the child's parents or maybe the child's relatives. Family circumstances in which there may be domestic stress but there is no indication that the child has been a victim of child abuse or child neglect or is at risk for child abuse or child neglect. In those situations, there are often community service agencies that are more appropriate to provide assistance. For information about child service programs in Missouri (DFS) or Kansas (SRS), call your local DFS or SRS child service office.
What is the definition of negligence?
As it relates to an adult, the term “negligent” or “negligence” generally means the failure to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful person would use under the same or similar circumstances.
Am I entitled to compensation for the time I took off work to care for my injured child?Yes. If your child is injured due to the negligence or neglect of another, you are entitled to recover all the money that you would have earned had you been able to go to work instead of caring for your injured child. You can recover this money even if you were paid by using sick leave or vacation time.
If your child is seriously injured in a car wreck, a playground accident, at school, or daycare, talk to an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer. An attorney with child injury experience will be able to assess the full value of your case and get you a fair settlement that covers all your losses.
Does A Child Injury Require An Attorney?
Child Injuries Almost Always Require The Representation Of A Skilled Attorney If you believe that a child has been the victim of an injury caused by the negligence of another, it is highly advisable to obtain legal advice immediately. Those who perpetrate child injuries through negligence or abuse typically have legal representation, teams of lawyers defending them against accountability for their actions regardless of their culpability. It is unlikely and perhaps impossible for a child to obtain justice in the face of claims vigorously defended by experienced lawyers who are highly skilled at minimizing and destroying claims. Already complicated legal claims issues involved with personal injury cases are often even more difficult when the injury is one that has been suffered by a child. To be successful in obtaining justice, the child is likely to need representation by a legal team equally skilled and familiar with child injury cases and able to communicate child liability and damages issues to a jury. Don't Fight Alone The perpetrator of a child injury often has not just one legal counsel but a team of lawyers fighting to avoid accountability. Likewise, the injured child deserves and needs competent child injury counsel in order to obtain justice and compensation for injuries that are often catastrophic when incurred at a tender age. This means a team of lawyers who are skilled at preparing cases involving child injury liability and damage analysis and assessment. Pain and suffering, perhaps anger, and maybe even a measure of guilt is often associated with child injuries. If ever there was a need for outside help, the child injury is that case. There is a need for an attorney to step in on behalf of the child and help to build a solid legal case in order to prevent the culpable party and his representatives from skillfully dodging responsibility for child injury. The child and family have their hands full with the child's physical and emotional recovery. A skilled child injury lawyer can handle the rest, helping the child and family attend to what is most important - the child's recovery. Time is of the essence when seeking counsel for an injured child. As with other injuries, there can be a loss of evidence as well as witnesses. Often times, there has already been unfortunate delay with child injury cases even before legal counsel is sought. It is in the child's best interests that legal advice is sought and provided as soon as possible following a child injury. When seeking counsel for a child injury, the years of experience, relevant experience, track record with personal injury cases and particularly child accident cases, and passion for this area of law are all critical questions that you should ask.