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West Palm Beach Child Injury Attorneys
Our beloved children hold the most important spot in our hearts and lives. When they suffer physical or emotional pain, we search for ways to help them and wish we could snap our fingers and take the pain away. When their pain emerges from intentional harm or another person’s negligence or carelessness, it makes matters worse.
Parents, guardians, family members, and others also feel the mental anguish of watching a child they love struggle to recover from serious injuries. On top of the emotional stress, parents and guardians also face medical expenses and might miss work to care for their injured child. Fortunately, Florida law provides a pathway to seek compensation from those responsible for injuries.
If you live in the West Palm Beach area, contact the skilled West Palm Beach child injury lawyers at Shiner Law Group at (561) 777-7700 for a free case evaluation to discuss the events that led to your child’s injuries, the impact they have had on your family, and how we can help you fight to recover related damages and losses.
Shiner Law Group’s Commitment to Client Service
The experienced legal team at Shiner Law Group understands the emotional and financial turmoil that sometimes comes with child injuries. We have years of experience helping injured people, including children and their families, seek compensation for damages and losses related to their injuries.
The firm’s commitment to client service and seeking justice has led to millions of dollars in damages from settlements and jury awards. Money will never take away your child’s pain or undo the harm they have suffered. However, it can help you and your family with the economic consequences of a child injury and provide funds for needed care.
We cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your child’s injury claim, but the dedicated team at Shiner Law Group has the knowledge and resources to aggressively pursue the maximum compensation commensurate with your child’s injuries.
Shiner Law Group Handles Various West Palm Beach Child Injury Cases
Children’s small frames make them more vulnerable to serious injuries than adults. They can suffer injuries due to intentional harm, carelessness, and negligence. We have the skills and training to handle all types of child injuries. However, some injuries occur more often than others.
Below, we offer a broad overview of the most common types of child injuries.
Severe traffic crashes can cause serious and permanent injuries to children. Little ones who are properly secured in car seats or booster seats still face the risk of injury from side airbag deployment and seatbelts.
Additionally, if a car seat moves during a severe accident, the harness can injure an infant or toddler. Young children are especially vulnerable to whiplash and traumatic brain injuries from the impact of an accident. If another motorist causes an accident that injures your child, they might be liable for damages.
Your Florida personal injury protection (PIP) coverage extends to your kids, but severe injuries quickly exceed the $10,000 minimum. An experienced child injury attorney can help you recover compensation for damages beyond PIP benefits.
School Bus Accidents
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), school-age children are 70 times more likely to make it to school safely than if they ride in a passenger vehicle. On a national level, school bus accident deaths make up less than one percent of all traffic deaths each year.
However, school bus accidents do occur on occasion and can lead to injury or death. Shiner Law Group can help you hold the bus driver or school district accountable for their negligence if your child suffers injuries in a West Palm Beach school bus accident.
Young children and teenagers alike spend ample time on their bicycles. Cycling is not only a healthy activity, but it gives today’s kids a much-needed break from their electronic devices. Yet, riding a bicycle can lead to injuries.
It’s common for kids, especially those learning to ride a bike, to fall and skin their knees or scrape up their legs. We bandage them up and help them get back on. Unfortunately, the injuries that occur after a motorist strikes a child on their bike require far more than bandages. Children face serious injuries such as multiple fractures, crushed bones, organ damage, and more.
Theme Park Accidents
West Palm Beach is only a short distance from some of the nation’s best theme parks. Whether heading up to Disney World or a local trampoline park, children face injuries when negligent owners and businesses do not properly maintain their equipment and grounds.
Florida theme parks have to comply with the state’s strict regulations about amusement park rides, but some do not adhere to the law. Examples of negligence that could lead to child injuries at an amusement park in Florida include:
- Malfunctioning lap bars or restraints
- Distracted ride operators who make mistakes during loading or operation
- Inadequately trained ride operators
- Amusement rides that are poorly designed
- Failure to inspect rides or poor inspections
- Ride operators who let kids ride without meeting minimum height requirements
Swimming Pool Accidents
Florida has the most number of children under age 15 who drown in swimming pool accidents each summer, beating out larger states like Texas and California. Unfortunately, over 60 percent of all drownings suffered by those age four and under occur in swimming pools.
Additionally, young children and teens sustain various other injuries while swimming. Pool owners have a legal duty to maintain their pools and protect their pools from child trespassers. Negligent owners who fail to uphold their duty put children at risk for drowning or injury, opening themselves up to liability if a child hurts themselves in their pool or surrounding area.
Dog Bite Injuries
Anyone can suffer an injury when a dog attacks them. However, the small stature of young children put them right at the mouth of a dangerous canine, making them especially vulnerable to dog bite injuries. Dogsbite.org has spent time and resources studying dog attacks across the United States.
They found that over 13 years:
- Florida had the third-highest number of fatal dog bite attacks.
- Approximately 50 percent of fatal dog bites involved children under nine.
- Approximately 27 percent of fatal dog bites involved children under two.
Careless dog owners who keep dangerous dogs or do not train them properly can be financially liable for injuries when their dog attacks a child.
Not all dog bites result in death, but they do have long-term consequences for kids. Bites often leave permanent scars, and many children must engage in therapy to cope with the emotional trauma of a dog attack.
The warm weather in West Palm Beach provides plenty of opportunities for children to enjoy some time at the area’s playgrounds. Public and private playground owners have a legal duty to properly maintain equipment to prevent children from suffering injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates over 200,000 children receive medical treatment each year for playground injuries. Most of the injuries are broken bones, scrapes, and bruises, but about 10 percent suffer traumatic brain injuries. If poorly maintained playground equipment led to your child’s injuries, a court might hold the owners financially liable for the injuries.
Defective Toy Injuries
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), over 250,000 defective toy injuries happen each year across the United States. Approximately three-quarters of them happen to those under age 15.
Many toys cause injury, but the CPSC especially warns about the dangers of non-motorized scooters. Toy injuries are not always a reason to file a child injury lawsuit. However, if your child suffered injuries because of a defective toy, you might have a viable child injury claim.
Toys might be defective because of an unsafe design, poor construction, or the failure of the manufacturer to warn consumers about dangers related to its use. Florida courts hold toy manufacturers strictly liable for damages if a child suffers injuries from a defective toy.
Children of all ages across West Palm Beach engage in sports. Sometimes they play for fun; other times they play with a private group or with their school. According to the CDC, over 2.6 million children receive emergency room treatment for sports injuries each year.
Children who suffer the most severe sports injuries usually get hurt playing full-contact sports such as soccer, football, hockey, and martial arts. Tween and teen athletes often face concussions, which can have a long-term impact on brain development.
Many parents assume they have no options after their child gets injured because they typically must sign a waiver to let their child participate. However, this is not always true. It’s best to consult with a West Palm Beach child injury lawyer to learn the best options for your situation.
Any of the scenarios above can lead to the tragic and sudden death of a child. Money will not take away the massive pain that comes with losing a child, but it can help soften the financial blow of unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial costs.
Additionally, parents sometimes receive compensation for non-economic losses they suffer, such as grief and loss of companionship. If you lost a child because of another party’s intentional harm or negligence, you deserve compensation to help you through this difficult time. An experienced child injury lawyer from Shiner Law Group can handle the finer details of your claim while you concentrate on trying to find a way to cope with your trauma.
Recovering Damages After Your Child Gets Injured in West Palm
If you seek compensation for damages after your child suffers injuries, you can receive compensation if you prevail in your claim.
If you settle with the insurance company involved or a court awards you damages, you might get money for the following losses related to your child’s injury:
- Medical treatment costs including ambulance service, emergency room treatment, surgery, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, and follow-up visits
- Estimated future medical expenses when your child’s injury leads to a permanent condition or disability requiring continuous care
- Lost income for the time you had to take off work to care for your injured child
- Lost earning capacity if your child suffers a catastrophic injury that will prevent them from seeking employment when they are old enough to work
- Costs for assistive devices such as prosthetic limbs, braces, wheelchairs, and crutches
- Rehabilitation costs for specialized treatment to help your child cope with their injuries, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy
- Home modification costs to make your home more accessible for your injured or disabled child, such as costs for installing handrails, widening doors, building a wheelchair ramp, or constructing a main floor living area
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages when your child’s injury occurred as a result of intentional harm or gross negligence
Your West Palm Beach child injury lawyer can review the facts of your claim and advise you on which damages apply to your case.
West Palm Beach Child Injury FAQs
If your child has suffered serious injuries because of another party’s carelessness and negligence or intentional harm, you are likely experiencing a wide range of emotions, ranging from anger to sadness to uncertainty.
It’s okay to feel uncertain about your next steps. Focusing on your child’s health and well-being is the top priority. Once you come up for air, it’s in the best interest of your child to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach child injury attorney to discuss the details of your child’s injuries and learn more about how a lawyer can help you recover damages.
Until you have the opportunity to call or meet with an attorney, we have provided answers to frequently asked questions about West Palm Beach child injury claims. The following questions and answers offer preliminary information about various aspects of child injuries caused by negligence, and the legal process of bringing a lawsuit against the party responsible for your child’s injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a West Palm Beach Child Injury Lawsuit?
Every state has statutes of limitations that govern the length of time an individual has to bring a lawsuit against another party to recover damages for injuries. Florida’s statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is four years.
Under Florida law, you typically have at least four years from the date of your child’s injury to bring a lawsuit against the party who caused the injury. However, several exceptions apply to the statute of limitations, especially when children are involved.
- Medical malpractice. If your child suffers injuries from medical malpractice, you have two years from the event to take action if your child is over age eight. You also have an absolute limit of four years if you do not immediately discover the malpractice. This absolute four-year time limit does not apply to children under the age of eight. If the medical provider committed fraud or concealed the malpractice, the absolute time limit is extended to seven years.
- Wrongful death. If you tragically lost a child due to negligence, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.
- Abuse or incest. Under Florida law, a victim of abuse or incest can sue their abuser any time before their 25th birthday, within four years after leaving the dependency of their abuser, or within four years of discovering the abuse or incest, whichever occurs later.
- Sexual battery. Florida allows victims of sexual battery under the age of 16 to bring a lawsuit against their rapist at any time, as long as the act occurred before July 1, 2010.
Even though you have four years or longer to take legal action if your child has suffered injuries, it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine which statute of limitations applies to your situation. Make certain that you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
Courts strictly adhere to the law, and failure to meet the deadline will likely result in losing the chance to recover damages. Additionally, as time goes by, the quality of evidence supporting your claim can deteriorate, and witnesses might get foggy on the details or forget them altogether.
In rare cases, the court might pause the statute of limitations time clock. For example, if the defendant flees the state, hides out, or gives a false identity, the court might provide extra time to track them down.
Will My Child Have to Testify in Court to Recover Damages?
Depending on the situation, your child might have to testify in court. Child injury claims that involve traffic crashes typically settle before trial. Other types of child injury cases have a greater chance of going to trial.
Regardless of the situation, both sides want to avoid fighting it out in the courtroom. Litigation is expensive, and it adds time to the process. Even though it’s ideal to settle, sometimes negotiations fail because of liability disputes, disagreement over the extent of injuries, and various other reasons.
It’s doubtful your child will have to testify in court, but you should always be prepared for the possibility if he or she is old enough to give testimony. Your West Palm Beach child injury lawyer can review the facts of your claim and advise you about any challenges or obstacles that might force your child injury case to go to court.
Will My Child Suffer Trauma if I Take Legal Action?
Fortunately, laws have changed dramatically in recent decades to protect children who suffer injuries. Even when you are suing because of sexual abuse or molestation, your child will not get cross-examined aggressively, as portrayed in movies and television. A lawsuit typically should not interfere with your child’s ability to live a normal life. You have to make the right decision for your family, but it’s highly unlikely your child will be traumatized if you take legal action on their behalf.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer After My Child Suffers an Injury?
You should always consult with an attorney whenever you receive a settlement offer from an insurance provider, especially concerning child injuries. Children heal quickly from their injuries, so full recovery is likely after a minor injury.
However, children’s brains and bodies are still developing, even during the teenage years. Severe injuries can impede development, and it can take time to know the full scope of an injury.
Sometimes parents do not notice an injury for months until their child misses one or more developmental milestones. Accepting an offer too early can leave families without the compensation they deserve to cover additional medical expenses and other losses.
Insurance providers like to make early settlement offers to families who feel financial pressure after their child suffers an injury. These predatory offers aim to tempt parents to sign an agreement and waive their right for them or their child to sue for more money in the future.
As tempting as accepting some money might be, early offers typically do not provide fair compensation for child injury victims. Instead, it’s best to consider an early offer as a jumping-off point for negotiations. Your West Palm Beach child injury lawyer can communicate with the insurance carrier and fight for a better financial outcome for your circumstances.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Child’s Injury Claim?
It’s impossible to predict a specific timeline for your child injury case. Each claim is different and has different factors that influence how long it will take to resolve. Some claims settle within a few months, and others can take years to resolve.
Most importantly, you have to wait long enough for your child’s doctor to provide a long-term prognosis and determine if your child suffered any permanent damage or conditions. Once you know the full extent of the injuries, your lawyer can place a more accurate value on your child injury claim.
A general rule of thumb is that the more severe the injuries, the longer it will take to resolve a claim. Severe injuries need more time to heal.
Disputes over liability can also greatly add to the timeline of a child injury case. If the other side vehemently disputes liability, settlement negotiations will take more time and might ultimately fail. Without a settlement, the case must go to trial, adding even an extra year to the timeline.
Both sides must prepare to present their cases to the court by speaking with witnesses, coordinating testimony, and engaging in other activities related to litigation. When lawyers run into administrative difficulties with scheduling, it also increases the time for a case to be resolved.
Can I Afford to Hire a West Palm Beach Child Injury Attorney?
Yes, you can afford the legal help you need with your West Palm Beach child injury claim. Some avoid hiring a lawyer because they assume they cannot afford one. They deal with tricky insurance companies and defense legal teams by themselves. Having a lawyer advocating for a child gives families a better chance to receive the maximum amount of compensation commensurate with their injuries.
Personal injury law firms accept new clients on a contingent fee basis, so you do not have to pay an upfront retainer to hire an attorney like you would for a tax attorney, real estate attorney, or another lawyer. Instead, you agree for your child injury lawyer to deduct attorney fees and other costs of representation only from any compensation you receive from a settlement or jury award as a result of their efforts. If you do not prevail in your claim, you typically do not have to pay attorney fees.
How Can a West Palm Beach Child Injury Lawyer Help?
Child injury claims are notoriously complex because of the emotions involved when a child suffers harm. Parents are often angry, maybe even livid. Some feel vengeful and want the person or business that harmed their child to pay for their negligence and carelessness in every possible way.
These emotions sometimes needlessly complicate a child injury claim. An experienced child injury lawyer deals with insurance carriers, investigators, and other relevant parties without an emotional charge, which can often be more productive. This provides families the time to help their injured children through the recovery and rehabilitation process.
Our West Palm Beach child injury lawyers can handle the finer details of your claim, such as drafting documents and filing paperwork, ensuring you meet all important deadlines and do not miss the chance to recover damages.
Other ways a child injury attorney can help include:
Investigating the Event. If the police were involved when your child was injured, they likely filled out some type of incident or accident report. However, this is only one person’s account of what happened based on their investigation.
Lawyers dig deeper to uncover the facts of a claim and truly understand the event that led to a child’s injury, allowing them to build the best case possible against the party responsible for the injuries.
Gathering Evidence. Part of investigating a case includes gathering relevant evidence to support a child injury claim. Lawyers must have enough evidence to prove the defendant was negligent and that their negligence caused harm.
Evidence comes in different forms and varies among cases. Depending on the exact circumstances of a case, evidence could include:
- Official accident reports
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements
- Cell phone records
- Expert opinions
- Photo evidence
- Footage from video surveillance cameras
Communicating with Insurance Companies. Each time a child or parent speaks to the insurance company after an injury, they risk saying something that could hurt the value of their claim. Insurance adjusters use questionable tactics to get statements from parents and children they can later twist to devalue or deny a child injury claim. Lawyers handle communications with insurance companies and other relevant parties to help their clients get the maximum compensation for their injuries.
Negotiating a Settlement. Settlement negotiations can be tricky, and some insurance companies do not take negotiations seriously when a lawyer is not involved. Lawyers are skilled negotiators who know how to deal with insurance companies and usually get better results for their clients.
Hiring a child injury attorney sends the signal to the insurance company that they should take your case seriously and avoid dragging out the claim or playing other games to frustrate plaintiffs and cause them to give up their fight.
Arguing the Case in Court. As mentioned above, both sides prefer to settle when possible to avoid costly litigation. However, disputes over liability and disagreements about what constitutes fair compensation for injuries sometimes lead to failed settlement negotiations. After months of trying to negotiate, a lawyer might have to take a child injury case to court and fight for a jury verdict in favor of their client.
Going to trial also requires ample preparation, including more documents and paperwork, depositions, and administrative tasks, such as coordinating witness testimony.
Contact Shiner Law Group After Your Child Gets Injured in West Palm Beach
We understand the emotions and stress that come with caring for an injured child and helping them heal. We want to help you hold those who harmed your child accountable.
“I can’t say enough about the quality and professionalism of the service we have received from Shiner Law Group. The stress of any legal matter can be overwhelming and this group was able to provide me with research, solutions, and thorough explanations of confusing documentation. I found the staff to be proactive, pleasant, and easily available for calls and appointments. Most importantly, every employee with whom I interacted with, especially Nathaly Basnuevo, showed genuine care and compassion for helping me resolve my legal matters. I would wholeheartedly recommend this firm. At a time when the pandemic was at its peak they continued to work hard for me. I was rewarded more than I expected. I would highly recommend this law firm. Thank you to all Shiner law group employees.” Rochelle Q.
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