All serious injuries are tragic and painful, disrupting the lives of the injury victim as well as their family for years to come.
When a child is the victim of a sudden, catastrophic injury caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, however, it can be an especially shattering experience for all involved. For parents, seeing a child suffer, his or her bright and hopeful future suddenly put at risk, and worries about their physical, mental, and emotional development and recovery can be overwhelming.
Many parents who find themselves coping with the trauma and challenges of a severely injured child, or worse, one who has been tragically killed, may have questions about their child’s rights, and their rights, to seek justice and compensation for the harm done to their child. In Indiana, as in most states, minors are not allowed to file lawsuits. As such, the parents of an injured child can sue a potentially liable party both on behalf of their child and on behalf of themselves.
On behalf of the child, the parents can seek to recover damages for the child’s pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of earning capacity as an adult, and other damages, while the parents can recover damages on their own behalf for past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as the loss of services or wages the child would have earned until he turned 18.
If a child is killed by the wrongful act of another, the parents can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in which they may recover damages for loss of the child’s services, loss of the child’s love and companionship, funeral and medical expenses, including the cost of psychiatric counseling for the parents, as well as any expenses incurred in administering the child’s estate.
If a settlement is reached involving injuries to a minor child, it must be first approved by the court. If the settlement is over $10,000, the court will appoint a guardian whose job it is to make sure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests. It is important to note that the proceeds of any settlement or judgment recovered on behalf of the minor child are in fact the property of the child, imposing certain obligations, limitations and duties on the parents as to when and how those proceeds may be accessed and used prior to the child turning 18.
If your child has been seriously injured or killed in a tragic incident, whether it be a car accident, playground mishap, dog attack, or an incident at a day care center, it is important that you speak with an Indiana personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with the unique issues and challenges involved in handling child injury cases. There are time limits as to when such claims must be filed, so reach out to an attorney as soon after the incident as you can.