San Antonio is not only a beautiful and historic city, it is also a great place to raise a family. If you’ve committed to raising your family here in San Antonio, you know how rewarding it can be. If, on the other hand, your child has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, things look decidedly different. There is nothing harder for parents to witness than the injury of their child. When that injury results from someone else’s negligence, it’s more difficult still.
If your child suffered injuries in a vehicle accident, contact a San Antonio child injury attorney at The Law Offices of George Salinas for a free consultation.
Children Are Susceptible to Injury
Children are especially vulnerable and often unable to protect themselves from injury due to the negligence of others. When you leave your children in the care of other adults, those adults are charged with keeping your children safe. Further, products that are specially designed for children should be safe for children, and when they’re not, it may amount to negligence. When a product is intended to keep your child safe and fails to do so, it’s especially egregious. For instance, if a booster seat, car seat, bike helmet, or pool flotation device ends up harming your child, the aftermath can be physically, financially, and emotionally devastating.
If your child has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you know exactly how painful it is. It can be overwhelming and you need experienced legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in San Antonio is committed to protecting children’s rights, and we care about your case. Our experienced child injury lawyers have the knowledge, skill, and compassion to help recover just compensation for your child’s injuries.
Common Childhood Injuries
Children – being children – are vulnerable to injury. When they aren’t safely tended to and when they engage with unsafe toys, products, or playground equipment, they are even more vulnerable. While children can sustain any number of injuries, several childhood injuries are commonly associated with negligence:
Concussions are the mildest form of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which are injuries to the head caused by blunt force or violent shaking. Concussions have gotten some recent attention in the press due to their close association with youth sports. Playgrounds with elevated climbing structures and sports arena surfaces provide plenty of opportunities for children to suffer concussions. Although concussions are at the milder end of the TBI spectrum, they are nevertheless very serious injuries that necessitate immediate medical attention and treatment. These injuries can have lasting and permanent effects.
Fractured or Broken Bones
If you have children, you understand that they are especially vulnerable to broken bones. Though children often experience broken bones, this doesn’t mean they aren’t serious injuries that are extremely painful and can lead to dangerous complications. When a child suffers a broken bone because of someone else’s negligence, it can be especially traumatic. Children are especially vulnerable to injuries like broken bones from poorly designed, maintained, or constructed products and play areas, or faulty safety devices. The multilevel engineering of many playgrounds makes falls especially dangerous. Further, when moving parts are faulty (whether in a playground, in a classroom, or on a safety seat or device), they can lead to broken bones.
Falling from an elevated platform in a poorly designed playground, from a faulty highchair, or out of a safety seat can lead to dangerous internal injuries. Internal injuries are especially troublesome because they don’t always present with symptoms immediately after the accident takes place. This means that internal injuries can fester and become more serious before they receive necessary medical attention. If your child has taken a significant tumble, seek immediate medical attention to rule out an internal injury that could be asymptomatic.
Children are resilient, but childhood injuries can be extremely dangerous nonetheless. When these injuries are due to someone else’s negligence, it becomes that much more difficult to move past. Your children’s health and safety is top priority. If your child has been injured by someone else’s negligence, seek immediate medical attention. Then do not hesitate to consult with an experienced child injury attorney.
Playgrounds, Classrooms, and Daycare Facilities
Children are often injured in the very places where they’re meant to be cared for. When playgrounds, classrooms, and daycare facilities aren’t well designed, maintained, and/or supervised, they can be dangerous places for children. All these places are created for the exclusive care of children and for safe childhood activity. As such, they should be designed, maintained, and supervised accordingly.
Maintenance and inspection are critical to keeping these child zones safe. Several safety components should not be ignored:
- The careful maintenance of all equipment used and played on by children
- The absence of sharp, broken, or jagged edges
- The absence of loose, wobbly, sticking, or missing parts
- The absence of surfaces that are slippery, pose tripping hazards, or become excessively hot
- Clean, uncluttered, and safe walking and play areas
- Play area surfaces that help soften falls and tumbles
Your kids play hard, and safety isn’t something they routinely consider. It’s the responsibility of the adults who are charged with their care to ensure that the areas they play in and the toys that they play with are safe. When classrooms and playgrounds aren’t safely maintained, they endanger your children, and those tasked with ensuring their safety should be held responsible.
San Antonio Child Injury FAQ
The leading cause of death for children in the United States is motor vehicle injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a recent year, 675 children ages 12 and younger died in a car accident, while almost 116,000 suffered injuries in a car wreck. Of those, the percentages of children whom adults did not strap in were as follows: 49 percent were between the ages of eight and 12, 36 percent were between the ages of four and seven, and 22 percent were younger than four. Additionally, people improperly used about 46 percent of booster seats and car seats.
In Texas, 204 children ages 17 years and younger died in car accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Additionally, 21 pedestrian children and five child bicyclists died from motor vehicle accidents in a single year.
What do I do after I am in an accident, and my child suffers injuries or dies?
If your child suffered injuries in an accident, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if the injuries seem to be minor or if the child does not show signs of injury. This is especially important for younger children who cannot verbalize, or those who are too young to tell you that they “don’t feel right.”
Additionally, it may be best to contact a San Antonio child injury lawyer at The Law Offices of George Salinas as soon as possible. While you have up to two years to file a claim with the courts, insurance companies give you far less time—sometimes less than 30 days to file a claim.
Should I call the insurance company?
You should call the insurance company to notify them that you are initiating a claim. Other than your name, address, the date and time of the accident, the location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information, it is often advisable to refrain from telling the insurance company anything else. The insurance company representatives might use your words against you, and either deny your claim or make a lower offer than they know it may be worth.
What injuries could my child suffer from an accident?
As with adults, injuries to a child could range from minor injuries to catastrophic injuries—especially for children who are not strapped in or those who are strapped in to an improperly installed car seat or booster seat.
Injuries may include:
- Bumps, scrapes, scratches, and cuts;
- Strains, sprains, pulled and torn muscles, and other soft tissue injuries;
- Simple and compound fractures;
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
- Back and spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Road rash;
- Internal injuries; and
Some of these injuries could lead to death hours or days after the accident. If your child is suffering from injuries that doctors feel could be life-threatening, make sure that medical personnel documented this possibility in your child’s medical records. Injuries could also disable a child for life. In this case, it can be expensive to cover all of the medical expenses and special care that your child will need over his or her lifetime, including arranging for care after your death if the disability prevents the child-now-adult from caring for himself or herself without assistance.
What are recoverable damages?
You might collect certain damages on behalf of your child including economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages, sometimes referred to as special damages, could include past and future medical expenses, replacement and repair of personal property damaged in the accident, and funeral and burial expenses. If your child was working, you may recover past and future lost wages.
Non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as general damages, include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of companionship;
- Inconvenience, if the child was old enough to contribute to household chores, or if the child played a significant caretaker role in the family;
- Disfigurement and/or scarring;
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function; and
Unlike economic damages and non-economic damages, which are intended to make the victim whole again, the court may order punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant. Punitive damages are available if the court determines that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent.
Should I accept a settlement from the insurance company?
Before you accept a settlement from the insurance company, it is better to wait until a San Antonio child injury lawyer at The Law Offices of George Salinas reviews it, along with the medical records of your child. Keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit companies, which means that they are in business to make money. Every claim they have to pay out decreases their bottom lines.
Consequently, you may encounter an insurance company that will offer less money than they know your claim is worth to make you go away. The insurance company might try to deny your claim outright. The company’s initial offer may not come close to covering your past medical expenses, let alone other expenses you have incurred. Your child might have the right to recover more.
Do I have to sue to recover damages for my child?
Not always. A San Antonio child injury attorney could enter into negotiations with the insurance company to try to agree on a fair and reasonable settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to budge on a low-ball number, you may wish to file a lawsuit. Ultimately, it would be up to you whether you want to take a settlement or go through the litigation process.
How long does it take to get compensation for an accident?
This depends on whether you accept the insurance company’s settlement or decide to litigate. Unless the insurance company offers a fair and reasonable award, the process may take a while. This is especially true if your child has suffered severe injuries. Receiving compensation for catastrophic injuries that could disable your child for life often takes longer, as the insurance company may require expert witnesses.
Is the statute of limitations different for children?
Yes. The statute of limitations considers those under the age of 18 to have a legal disability. Thus, the statute of limitations tolls until the minor child reaches the age of majority. At that time, the child has the original two years to file a lawsuit against the defendant.
If Someone Else’s Negligence Has Caused Injury to Your Child, Consult With an Experienced San Antonio Child Injury Lawyer Today
If someone else’s negligence has caused injury to your child, it can be a tragic and difficult time. Children are the most vulnerable among us, and it’s especially heartbreaking when they’re injured. The dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in San Antonio understands how difficult this situation is for you. We’re here to help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have the skill, commitment, and compassion to aggressively advocate for your child’s rights and recover just compensation. Please contact or call us at 210-225-0909 to schedule an appointment today.