Staten Island Child Injury Attorney
As parents, we would do anything to protect our children. Unfortunately, even the most dedicated parent cannot be with their children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sad reality is that Staten Island, like the rest of New York City, has many hazards which can injure our loved ones.
The O’Connor Law Firm is committed to providing top-shelf legal representation to children and their families when they are injured by the negligent or intentional acts of another person. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting with Staten Island attorney Brian J. O’Connor, author of The NYC Child Injury Book, to learn more about how we can help you.
How Children Are Injured
Many accidents stem from mere carelessness. A person or organization does not exercise reasonable care, and a child is hurt as a result. In other cases, your child might be intentionally harmed by another child or even an adult. Either way, parents should meet with an attorney if their child was hurt in any of the following:
- School or Daycare Accidents: Children should be kept safe at school. This duty includes fixing dangerous conditions in the school building and property, serving properly cooked food, and separating dangerous children from the rest of the class. Unfortunately, many children are injured because schools or daycare centers are short-staffed or hire careless workers. In extreme cases, a staff member might strike or sexually assault a child.
- School Bus Accidents: Many people wrongly assume that school buses are 100% safe. Unfortunately, these buses often get into collisions or run off the road. A dangerous driver or improperly maintained bus is typically to blame.
- Playground Accidents: Children can suffer injuries when they fall from defective playground equipment. Other children are punched or harmed by other children or even adults who sneak onto the property because of inadequate supervision.
- Motor Vehicle Collisions: Any crash with a motor vehicle can injure a child, just as it would injure an adult. But children face special risks. As an example, a booster or safety seat might be defective and fail during a collision, tossing a child around the inside of the car. Many children are badly hurt when struck by cars while riding a bicycle or walking on the side of the road.
- Sports Accidents: Contact sports are inherently risky, such as football where tackling is normal after a certain age. Nevertheless, all sporting events should be conducted according to safety rules, and all equipment should work as intended. A child might have a lawsuit if a dangerous condition on the playing field causes injury, or if officials let the game get out of hand.
- Premises Liability Accidents: Each year, thousands of children are injured on someone else’s property. They can slip and fall, trip and fall, be electrocuted, or nearly drown in a swimming pool. They might also be bitten by a dog. Our firm has sued businesses, private landowners, and public entities for injuries caused by a dangerous condition on the property.
- Lead Paint Poisoning: Lead is a harmful metal that can cause serious injuries to young children, including delays in their cognitive development. Lead is often found in older homes and apartment buildings in lead-based paint chips and dust caused by peeling paint.
Why Child Injury Cases Are Different
In some ways, an accident involving a child is no different than one involving an injured adult. We must always analyze the facts and the law to see if our clients have a viable cause of action. Sometimes, accidents happen and no one is to blame. However, in many cases, a business, school, or adult was negligent or a product was defective. In those cases, we can often bring lawsuits.
Child injury lawsuits present unique wrinkles:
- Injury Severity: Children can suffer much more serious injuries than adults because they are growing. A traumatic brain injury, for example, could cause serious developmental delays. Our firm works closely with medical professionals to fully understand all medical treatment a child will need throughout life due to an injury.
- Emotional Distress: A client should receive compensation for the emotional harm caused by an accident. Generally speaking, children cannot process traumatic events as well as adults. A dog bite, for example, might cause a lifelong fear of animals, along with post-traumatic stress disorder—even where the physical injury isn’t too serious.
- Different Legal Standards: Sometimes the law is different for children. This is true in premises liability claims. In general, an adult who trespasses onto someone else’s property cannot bring a claim if they were unintentionally injured by a defect on the property. But children who trespass might still be able to if they were drawn to the property by an attractive nuisance, like a swimming pool or discarded appliances. In other words, children might have legal protections that adults would not.
- Comparative Negligence: New York recognizes that some victims contribute to their accidents or injuries by being negligent themselves and reducing the amount of compensation they receive. But this doctrine doesn’t automatically apply to minors. In fact, very young children cannot be negligent, and the legal standards are confusing with older children.
- Liability Waivers: Many parents sign a waiver of liability before enrolling their children in daycare, after-school activities, or sports leagues. These waivers sometimes prevent a child from suing if they were injured negligently. However, not all waivers are legally valid. A seasoned Staten Island child injury attorney should carefully review any waiver and look for defects that render it unenforceable.
- Child Witnesses: Parents are naturally worried about their injured child being subjected to aggressive questioning in court or in a deposition. An attorney must know how to work with young children to protect their rights to dignity and safety.
An attorney who has never represented injured children might not understand all the ways these cases are different. Reach out to a seasoned Staten Island child injury attorney at The O’Connor Law Firm today.
Compensation in a Child Injury Case
Parents are justifiably confused about how to pursue a legal claim when a child is injured. Child injury cases represent a unique subset of personal injury law, and parents benefit by hiring an attorney who has tackled multiple cases.
For example, any personal injury claim should pursue full compensation for the entire family’s losses. This can include:
- Medical care to treat a child’s injuries
- Lost income or wages the parents suffer as they take care of their child
- The child’s pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Property damage, such as damage to the parent’s motor vehicle
Some of the losses mentioned above—like pain and suffering—are suffered by the child. But others, like lost income or property damage, are really losses that hit a parent’s pocketbook. Our Staten Island child injury attorney can work to negotiate a settlement that compensates both parents and their children for their losses caused by an accident.
Deadlines in Child Injury Cases
Different deadlines apply to child injury cases. New York’s statute of limitations sets the maximum amount of time a victim has to bring a lawsuit. As minors, however, children can’t file a case on their own behalf. For these reasons, New York gives children until age 21 in most cases to file a lawsuit.
The deadlines can be much shorter, however, when a claim is against a municipal or public entity. If your child was injured in a New York City public school or was injured by another government entity, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident.
Unfortunately, families may not understand the nuances of these cases, including who is responsible and any delay in contacting a Staten Island child injury lawyer can hurt your child’s chances of obtaining compensation. We investigate claims immediately and work with families to negotiate a fair settlement with the responsible party or file a case when necessary.
Speak with Our Staten Island Child Injury Attorney for Free
After your child is injured, it might feel like the world is spinning out of control. Fortunately, there is help. The O’Connor Law Firm can begin handling your case and gathering evidence in support of a legal claim or lawsuit. We can also discuss your legal options if you are unsure of whether to bring a lawsuit. For more information, contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation.