New York City Child Injury Lawyer Holding Responsible Parties Accountable
The fact that “accidents happen” doesn’t stop parents from being concerned about the safety of their children or from doing whatever they can to prevent accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, we cannot protect our children from every danger. When your child is injured due to the careless, negligent or intentional conduct of others, it is important to understand your rights. A qualified New York City child injury attorney can help you investigate the cause of your child’s injury and hold the at-fault person or entity responsible for the harm they have caused. Pursuing justice may also prevent similar harm to other children in the future.
At The O’Connor Law Firm, we provide answers to your questions and guide you through the litigation process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your child get your lives back on track.
Common Types of Child Injuries
Children can be injured in a variety of ways. Sometimes “accidents just happen” and no one is to blame. However, too often, child injuries are preventable. Most child injuries are the result of someone’s failure to use reasonable care in the supervision of children or the maintenance of their property. When your child is injured, you need a lawyer who is familiar with child injury law. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we see many different types of accident cases involving children. These include:
- Playground Injuries: Child injuries in playgrounds are caused by broken or defective playground equipment or the negligent supervision of children. It is the responsibility of teachers, camp counselors and other adults to prevent children in their care from improperly using playground equipment or engaging in other dangerous activities.
- School and Daycare Injuries: Parents expect that when they send their children to school, they will be protected from injuries. This is not always the case. Most school and daycare injuries are caused by the failure to provide adequate supervision, failure to provide a safe premises, and the failure to protect a child from being injured or bullied by other students or staff.
- Lead Poisoning: Lead is a harmful metal that can cause serious health problems and is especially dangerous for children. The most commonly identified source of lead poisoning is lead-based paint and the chips and dust caused from peeling paint. Children can also be exposed to lead through drinking water, soil and toys that contain lead.
- Car Accidents: The most common type of injury to children is one that involves a motor vehicle collision. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 116,000 children 12 years old and younger were injured in car accidents in 2017.
- Bicycle Accidents: Other than automobiles, bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product. More than 70% of children ages 5 to 14 (27.7 million) ride bicycles. Every year, 26,000 children are seen in emergency departments for traumatic brain injury related to bicycle-riding, including their failure to wear a helmet or to wear a safe and properly fitted helmet.
- Premises Accidents: Children are just as susceptible to slip and fall accidents as adults. Landlords, lessees and property owners have a duty to make sure their premises are safe for anyone lawfully on their property. This includes schools, homes, apartments, supermarkets, stores and other buildings. In fact, the “attractive nuisance” doctrine can make property owners liable to children injured while trespassing on property when they fail to properly safeguard access to their premises. A swimming pool is an example of an attractive nuisance as it is attractive to children and potentially harmful.
- School Bus Accidents: While school buses are generally the safest way for children to travel to and from school, school bus crashes that occur at speeds greater than 35 mph still pose serious risk of harm to children. Schools and drivers can be held responsible for supervising children as they enter and exit the bus and for stopping any fights or dangerous horseplay.
- Sports Injuries: To determine whether a child’s sports or recreational activity injury is actionable under New York law, a detailed analysis of the facts of each case must be performed. Generally, when we choose to participate in a sport or recreational activity, we assume the risks that are inherent in that sport or activity and limit the duty of a defendant. However, children are not held to the same standard as adults and an organizer or other negligent party may be found responsible if they failed to protect a child from an unassumed, concealed or enhanced risk.
- Dog Bites: According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) half of those who seek medical treatment from dog bites are children, most of them are between the ages of 5 and 9. New York imposes strict liability on owners for injuries inflicted by their dogs, but only if the victim can establish that the dog is vicious and that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s vicious propensities.
Determining the Value of a Child’s Injury Claim
There is no magic formula or process by which someone can predict with certainty the amount of money that a child’s injury case may be worth. Injury cases involving children can be even more difficult when it comes to determining a value because the child is young and physically immature. An experienced attorney will try to provide you with a range of settlement values as the case proceeds and some of the issues in your case become clearer. Here are some of the factors that can influence the value of a child’s case:
- The extent and severity of the child’s injuries
- The degree of negligence of the defendant
- The type, extent, and frequency of past medical treatment and the need for
future treatment and care
- The parties’ likeability and credibility
- The child’s age
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Medical Expenses (past and future)
- The child’s ability to work in the future
- The specific legal issues involved in the case
- The county or venue where the case will be filed
- The dollar amount of settlements and verdicts for similar types of cases in
The evaluation of two cases that appear to be similar on the surface may actually produce widely different evaluations due to the other factors listed above. It is important to find the right NYC child injury attorney for your case so that your child gets the full compensation they deserve. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we communicate regularly with our clients to make sure they are fully informed and guided at each stage of the case.
Attractive Nuisance: A Common Issue in Child Injury Cases
As a general rule, property owners cannot be held liable for injuries suffered by people who are trespassing on their property. However, there is one important exception, the “attractive nuisance” doctrine.
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies to cases where a child suffers a severe injury when trespassing on another person’s property. In this scenario, the property owner may be held liable if you can prove the following:
- The injury was caused by an artificial or non-natural hazard on the property;
- The property owner knew or should have known that children would be attracted to the hazard and would be unable to recognize or appreciate the potential danger;
- The property owner knew the hazard posed a risk of serious injury or death;
- The burden to the property owner of eliminating the hazard was small in comparison to the benefit of keeping the object or condition that posed the hazard; and
- The property owner failed to use reasonable care to remove the hazard.
These cases can be very complex, and pursuing a claim requires a careful analysis of the facts and knowledge of the law. Here are some common examples of what may be considered attractive nuisances:
- Swimming pools and other artificial water features
- Playground equipment
- Exposed power lines
- Industrial, construction, or farm equipment
- Man-made holes or trenches
If your child was injured on someone else’s property, a New York City child injury lawyer will be able to determine whether you have a claim.
Our Staten Island and Manhattan Child Injury Lawyers Answer Your Top Questions
Will my health insurance cover my child’s injuries?
The answer to this question will depend on what type of health insurance coverage you have. However, it is essential to remember you will be liable for any deductibles and copays, which could be significant and add up over time. In addition, health insurance will not cover things like pain and suffering or tutoring and other special accommodations if your child cannot attend school while recovering. It also won’t cover any income you have lost because you need to stay home and care for your child. Working with a New York City child injury lawyer will ensure you get fair compensation for all of your child’s losses in addition to what may or may not be covered by health insurance.
How long do I have to pursue a claim in New York?
Technically, children have until their 21st birthday to pursue a personal injury claim they suffered as a child. However, the problem for most families is they need financial compensation now to ensure their children can get the care they need to make a full recovery. In addition, the sooner you pursue your claim, the more likely you are to be successful. We recommend you contact a New York City child injury attorney as quickly as possible for these reasons.
Who receives the compensation, me or my child?
When a child is injured, their parents may pursue the claim on their child’s behalf. Therefore, any compensation awarded is for the child’s benefit. However, the parents are the ones that bear the expenses that were caused by the accident. A New York City child injury lawyer can help structure any compensation award to ensure the needs of you and your child are met and that your child gets the compensation they deserve and you are compensated for your losses.
Contact a NYC Child Injury Attorney at Our Manhattan or Staten Island Office
If your child has been injured in an accident and you are unsure of how to proceed, give us a call and let us guide you through the process. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience in handling child injury claims and understand the nuances of child injury law. Call us to schedule a free case review or to answer your questions at 212-566-4868 or 718-948-3500.