In Charlotte, if your child is harmed due to another person’s carelessness, you have the right to hold the responsible party financially accountable for your child’s injuries and related damages. A child watches another child climb on playground equipment.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of Your Child

Minors cannot file personal injury claims on their own, so the responsibility falls on the parents or legal guardians. While it’s natural to feel anxious or frustrated in such situations, it’s crucial to stay composed and seek legal counsel promptly. An experienced child injury lawyer can assess the case and guide parents on the available legal options. 

What Is a Child Injury Claim?

A child injury claim is a legal action taken to seek compensation for injuries sustained by a minor. I minor is anyone under the age of 18 years old. The claim will need to be filed by the parents of the child or the legal guardian.  

This type of claim is fundamentally different from those involving adults, primarily due to the unique way children perceive and respond to danger. Unlike adults, children may not fully grasp legal concepts or recognize hazardous situations, and these differences are crucial in the eyes of the law. Most states, including North Carolina, apply different standards to children, depending on their age at the time of the incident.  

North Carolina follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which states an injured person cannot collect from the other party if they were also partially at fault for the incident, even if they were only 1% at fault. Any party found even minimally responsible for their injuries typically cannot claim compensation. However, this rule is modified when it comes to minors. For children under the age of 7, the doctrine of contributory negligence does not apply. In the case of children between the ages of 7 and 14, they are presumed to be incapable of contributory negligence. This presumption shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, who must demonstrate that the child was indeed negligent to avoid liability. 
These legal nuances underscore the importance of recognizing the special considerations that come into play in child injury claims. Courts consider the child’s age, understanding, and perception of risk when determining the outcome of such cases, reflecting the legal system’s recognition of the distinct needs and vulnerabilities of children. 

Types of Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

Children can be injured in various situations, including:

  • Bicycle accidentsChildren are at risk if a distracted driver collides with them while riding bicycles.
  • Dog bites – Children, especially younger ones, are common victims of dog bites, often resulting in serious injuries. 
  • Medical malpracticeChildren can be victims of medical malpractice, with birth injuries and negligent medical treatment being specific concerns. 
  • Pedestrian accidentsNegligent drivers can cause injuries to children walking on sidewalks or crossing streets. 
  • Recreational and sports injuries – Organizers of such activities must ensure safety, and injuries may lead to liability. 
  • Slip and fall accidents – Hazardous conditions on properties can result in slip and fall accidents. 
  • Playground accidents – Design flaws in playgrounds can endanger children.

Compensation for Child Injuries

Child injuries can have lasting physical and emotional consequences, and compensation sought in child injury claims may include: 

  • Present and future medical bills 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish and emotional trauma 
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement 
  • Diminished future earning capacity 

Defendants in Child Injury Cases

Defendants in child injury cases can be individuals, companies, or government entities, depending on the specifics of the claim. For instance, a vehicle driver, property owner, or product manufacturer may be held responsible. 

Statute of Limitations in Charlotte

In Charlotte, the statute of limitations for injuries is typically three years from the date of the accident. However, if the victim is a minor, the period to file the legal action is 3 years after the child turns 18 years old. It’s important to note that waiting until the child reaches 18 may not be ideal due to potential evidence loss and fading memories. 

Child Injury Settlements in Charlotte, North Carolina

The amount due to the minor from the injury claim is often deposited into a deposit account held by the Charlotte County Clerk of Court and released to the minor when they reach the age of 18. Parents or guardians will need court permission to access funds for the child’s benefit during this period.  

There is also an option to employ a structured annuity for the child which is paid out once the child turns 18. The benefit of the annuity is that it can be paid out over several years at predetermined dates and amounts.  The interest rate on the annuity is usually much higher than the interest earned at the Clerk of Courts office and the interest earned on the annuity is also tax-free.

Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers Will Help You Get Justice For Your Child

If your child has suffered an injury in Charlotte, NC, seeking legal guidance promptly is crucial. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger for a consultation to explore your options and ensure your child’s rights are protected.