Can a Parent Sue on Behalf of Their Child? Understanding Child Injury Laws In South Carolina - The Lovely Law Firm

Can A Parent Sue On Behalf Of Their Child?

Legal Rights of Minors: Filing Civil Actions Through Guardians

No parent wants to consider the harrowing notion of their child enduring harm or, in the gravest scenarios, facing the possibility of death. Sadly, statistics provided by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SDHEC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2021 underscore the sobering reality of childhood vulnerabilities. In South Carolina, playground equipment injuries resulted in over 1,200 emergency department visits among children under 10 years old, highlighting the perils lurking even in seemingly innocent settings. Moreover, motor vehicle accidents are an even more stark reminder of how precious young lives are, ranking as the second leading cause of mortality among children aged 0 to 14 in South Carolina. The staggering figures reveal the stark truth of how many children are injured every year. Furthermore, in 2021 alone, an estimated 162,298 children suffered injuries in traffic crashes, with pedestrian fatalities claiming the lives of 176 young souls, a distressing 2% of the total fatalities. These statistics serve as important warnings of the urgent need for vigilance and concerted efforts to safeguard our children from the many hazards that can alter our children’s lives.

When accidents occur and children fall victim to injuries or fatalities due to another person or entities negligence, parents are often engulfed by a whirlwind of emotions, including anger and despair. The instinct to hold those responsible accountable for their actions escalates, fueled by a profound sense of injustice. In the wake of child injuries, many individuals find themselves grappling with whether or not a parent can sue on behalf of their child. This question often underscores the complexity of navigating the legal processes and rules surrounding child injuries and fatalities caused by negligence. It prompts parents to seek clarity on their rights and avenues for which they can seek justice for their children, as they strive to resolve these situations by pursuing justice.

In these difficult situations, our personal injury attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm understand the profound emotional and tumultuous nature of child injury cases in South Carolina. We recognize the anguish and uncertainty parents face when their children suffer harm due to negligence, and the financial burdens that accompany them. That’s why we are committed to providing unwavering support and legal guidance to assist parents in suing on behalf of their children when warranted.

 

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What Are Child Injury Laws in South Carolina?

Laws concerning child injuries in personal injury cases in South Carolina are determined primarily on the principle of negligence, much like cases involving adults. It is important to ascertain the specifics of the negligent act or omission that caused the child’s injuries. This typically involves identifying the responsible party and providing evidence to show how their actions breached the duty of care owed to the injured child or negligence on their behalf.

In South Carolina, minors lack the legal capacity to pursue personal injury lawsuits. Therefore, parents may assume this role on behalf of their children. This entails pursuing compensation for medical expenses and other accident-related costs. Alternatively, parents can opt to postpone legal action until their child reaches adulthood at 18, which allows the child to independently seek compensation for emotional distress and enduring injuries stemming from the incident.

The legal landscape surrounding child injuries in South Carolina encompasses the doctrines of negligence and premises liability. Property owners can be held accountable for maintaining safe premises, with varying levels of responsibility contingent upon whether the child was permitted to be on the property. While trespassing children receive lesser protections, property owners must still exercise caution and provide warnings if they can foresee dangerous situations.

However, the concept of attractive nuisance extends liability to property owners who possess enticing features that may lure children into perilous situations. This means property owners have a duty to mitigate risks and safeguard children from harm. Examples of attractive nuisances can include:

  • Swimming pools
  • Abandoned appliances
  • Vehicles
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Common Child Injuries In South Carolina

Common child injuries encompass a variety of scenarios, each with its own set of risks and potential harms. Being aware of the types of child injuries can help parents mitigate risks and safeguard their children.

  • Swimming Pool Accidents – Swimming pool accidents pose significant threats, ranging from slip-and-fall injuries to diving mishaps, especially into shallow waters that are improperly marked. Injuries stemming from pool slides or chemical exposure are also common as well. Tragically, the gravest injury-related pool accidents are instances of drowning, which can occur in private, community, or water park settings. Drownings often invoke premises liability laws that hold property owners accountable for maintaining safe environments.
  • Daycare & School Injuries – Daycare accidents and injuries, despite parents’ trust in these facilities and caregivers for their children, are a stark reminder that we cannot trust everyone. Daycare injuries can result from a failure to uphold a duty of care, leading to inadequate supervision, neglect, or incidents involving playground equipment and exposure to allergens. Furthermore, bullying presents another alarming concern in these settings, where children may face verbal, physical, or emotional abuse from peers or even caregivers, undermining their safety and well-being. Similarly, school bus accidents, while less frequent, can have devastating effects, often caused by negligence or improper maintenance, with children bearing the brunt of injuries due to their vulnerability to such incidents.
  • Bicycle Accidents – Bicycle accidents pose another significant risk, with children susceptible to serious injuries due to being hit by negligent drivers and defective equipment. These accidents highlight the importance of teaching children road safety awareness and ensuring proper maintenance of bicycles.
  • Car Accident Injuries – Car accidents pose significant risks to children due to various factors. Children are more vulnerable to injuries in car accidents due to their smaller size and developing bodies. Impact forces, even at relatively low speeds, can cause severe injuries to children such as concussions, broken bones, and internal trauma. Additionally, children may not be properly restrained in car seats or seat belts, increasing the likelihood of injury upon impact.
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What Types Of Compensation Can I Receive For My Child’s Injuries?

In child injury cases, the types of compensation available to parents can include a wide array of damages that reflect both the tangible and intangible impacts of the accident. The unique circumstances of child injuries necessitate a comprehensive assessment to determine the full extent of the claim’s value and impact the accident had on the child. Compensation typically includes:

  • Coverage for both short-term and long-term medical care, addressing immediate treatment needs as well as ongoing therapies or surgeries that may be required to facilitate the child’s recovery.
  • The child’s lost earning potential, particularly if the injury impairs their ability to secure employment in the future and earn a living as they mature into adulthood.
  • The profound emotional toll inflicted upon the child and their family, including pain and suffering, as well as emotional trauma endured as a result of the incident.
  • Wrongful death compensation in cases where the child tragically succumbs to their injuries, seeking to provide financial recompense for parent’s immeasurable loss
  • Filial consortium, which provides parents with recourse to seek compensation for the loss of affection, love, and companionship resulting from their child’s severe injury or death.

While punitive damages are rare, they serve to punish defendants for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct, with South Carolina imposing caps to ensure equitable compensation, underscoring the complexities inherent in child injury cases and the importance of navigating legal avenues to secure rightful compensation.

Contact A South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Near You

When a parent considers suing on behalf of their injured child, having a personal injury lawyer from The Lovely Law Firm by their side provides support and legal guidance. Our dedicated team understands the nuances of child injury cases and recognizes the importance of fighting for a child’s right to compensation. With compassion and vast legal experience, we work tirelessly to advocate for the best interests of the child and their family. From navigating complex legal processes to negotiating with insurance companies, we strive to ensure that justice is served and that families receive the compensation they deserve for their child’s injuries. At The Lovely Law Firm, we stand ready to provide unwavering support and legal representation throughout the entire legal process, empowering parents to seek accountability and obtain the financial resources needed to support their child’s recovery and well-being. Contact us today to discuss your legal options, and let us advocate for your rights and well-being.

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Here’s How to Initiate an Injury Lawsuit on behalf of your child

Minors lack the legal capacity to independently file lawsuits. Children under 18 are considered insufficiently mature to navigate such legal proceedings, a principle recognized by the court system. In North Carolina, minors are legally unable to sue or be sued. In civil actions, minors must be represented by a general or “testamentary” guardian or a guardian ad litem, as specified by law. This implies that a parent or legal guardian has the authority to initiate legal proceedings on behalf of their child, pursuing legal recourse against the individual responsible for their child’s injury.

 

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Sarah, Kayla, and Lindsey did an awesome job with my case! My care and health immediately following my accident was their priority. The evaluation of my case was extremely thorough. Everyone on the team did an amazing job! They provided me constant updates on my case and communication was completely transparent. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

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