Injuries to Children (and other personal injury cases)
Various Kinds of Injury Cases
There are many different kinds of injury cases. These cases are sometimes referred to as tort cases. The word tort comes from the French word meaning wrong. The wrongdoer is known as the tortfeasor. Sometimes, injury cases are called negligence cases. Negligence is defined in injury law as the failure to exercise the care for the safety of another that a prudent person would ordinarily use. Negligence is an inadequate label, since some types of injury cases involve more than mere negligence. An example would be an injury caused intentionally, like an assault. For simplicity and completeness, all of these matters are here referred to as injury cases.
The concept of fault runs throughout any examination of injury cases. Fault must be proven before the injured party can obtain a legal remedy or judgment. The concept of no-fault refers to a system of payment of lost wages and medical bills resulting from an accident. The system was created to allow quick compensation without the need to fight over who was at fault. Fault does not need to be proven to collect these benefits, creating the term no-fault benefits. Auto accident victims are entitled to no-fault benefits even if they caused the accident.
This chapter reviews some of the different types of injury cases. Medical malpractice cases are discussed separately in Chapter 5 of my book, Winning Your Personal Injury Claim.
INJURIES TO CHILDREN
A mother and father’s worst nightmare is receiving a call from the hospital informing them that their child has been involved in an accident. While the physical and emotional suffering from such an event can never be set right by money, a lawsuit against the person at fault may be in the child’s best interests. Handled properly, this type of case almost always results in fair compensation for the child.
While most people feel sympathy for injured children, do not expect obtaining financial compensation to be simple. In an automobile accident case for example, the insurance company typically takes the position that the child ran suddenly into the street and that the driver had no chance to react. The insurance companies refer to these cases as pedestrian dart-out cases. By labeling it this way, the insurance company hopes to create the impression that there was no way for the driver to avoid the accident. Personal injury lawyers, on the other hand, refer to these kinds of cases as pedestrian knock-down cases. You can clearly see the image your attorney hopes to create by using that label.
Regardless of what it is called, the best hope for litigation success when a child is hit by a car is a prompt and thorough investigation of the accident scene. The vital factors include the type of neighborhood where the accident happened, the length of time the child was visible to the motorist, and the age of the child. It is important to photograph the scene of the accident shortly after it occurs, if the photos will help to prove that the area was one in which children are likely to be present. Nearby playgrounds, schools, or shops that cater to children should be photographed since these put the motorist on notice that cautious driving is required. Traffic signs that warn motorists to watch for children must be photographed for the same reason.