Berger and Green Handles Claims for Injuries to Children.
Any injury can be tragic, but the tragic nature of an injury can be magnified when the victim of an accident is a young person. Although Pennsylvania law treats claims for children under 18 (minors) slightly differently, the lawyers at Berger and Green have experience representing younger victims of negligence. This blog will outline some things to know about injuries to minors.
The Courts Have Special Rules for Considering Contributory Negligence
The lawyers who represent people who have injured others have a number of defenses that they frequently raise. One of their favorite defenses is contributory or comparative negligence. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law makes a special provision which makes this defense harder to win against kids. The special rule is known as “multiples of seven”. This means that a child under 7 is conclusively presumed incapable of negligence. Between the ages of 7 and 14 the young person is presumed incapable of negligence, but that is rebuttable. Finally, after 14 the teen is presumed capable of negligence but that can be rebutted.
There are Special Rules for Motorists Travelling in Areas Where Children Are Known to Play
If a child is struck by a car in an area where children are known to play such as near a park or school, the law holds the driver to a standard that requires special care when travelling in these areas.
The Statute of Limitations is Extended
For a minor, the statute of limitations for personal injury is extended up through the end of the day before the minor’s 20th birthday. Some additional provision is made for victims of sexual abuse.
The Lawsuit Must Be Bought Through A Parent Or Guardian
The adult must be named in the caption as a parent or guardian. In addition, the parent may have his or her own claim for out of pocket damages such as medical expenses. A parent also has a claim for loss of the services of the minor, although this claim is often not made.
There Are Special Rules for Settlements
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In order to validly release a claim by a minor, Pennsylvania requires a Judge to approve the settlement. The procedure for doing this will vary by County. In some counties this is done by a written motion alone. In other counties the parent and/or the child must appear in court with the attorney. Fortunately, the attorneys of Berger and Green are familiar with the different procedures used throughout Western Pennsylvania and parts of Central Pennsylvania.
It should also be noted that the order approving a minor’s claim will usually require that the settlement funds be placed in an account restricted to the age of 18, a trust subject to the Court’s jurisdiction (this requires a formal trustee) and may include a special needs trust, or what is referred to as a structured settlement.
Types of Claims That Can Be Made on Behalf of a Minor
The attorneys of Berger and Green are capable of handling many different types of cases on behalf of children. These include:
- Motor Vehicle accidents
- Bicycle injuries
- Claims against a negligent landlord
- Medical Malpractice and birth injuries
- Emotional Distress from witnessing an injury to a family member
- Defective Products
- School bus accidents
- Negligent supervision by daycare or school
- Sports injuries
- Head injuries, brain injuries, and concussions
- Wrongful death claims
Recovering compensation after an injury.
Sadly, you cannot always protect your children from an accident. It is important, however, to hold negligent parties accountable for your child’s injuries. If your child was injured in an accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 for a free no obligation consultation.