While insuring the health and safety of their children is always in the forefront of every parent’s mind, most parents don’t think too much about the legal issues surrounding child injuries. The personal injuries that children suffer run the gamut in terms of both type and seriousness, but at some point most children are bound to suffer some kind of injury no matter what their caretakers do to try to prevent that from happening. Knowing your child’s legal rights and the best path to take following a personal injury is of the utmost importance in obtaining justice and a large personal injury settlement for you and your family, so here is a primer meant to familiarize parents with the basics.
Two major factors will determine whether or not it is appropriate to sue on behalf of your child: statute of limitations and “reasonable child” standard of care. The statute of limitations simply refers to the time period in which a person can pursue legal action after an injury; in New York State, injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations. These timeframes differ from state to state, but in many states the statue of limitations doesn’t begin until the child turns 18, and New York is one of those states. So for children who suffer personal injuries in New York State and New York City, they basically have until their 21st Birthday to sue over a personal injury.
As for the “reasonable child” standard of care, that means that the court applies a specialized standard of behavior for children of the same age. In other words, the child is expected to act like a reasonable child of the same age, intelligence, maturity, and experience. If the child was behaving in such a manner at the time of the injury, the likelihood of obtaining a personal injury settlement increases greatly. If their behavior falls outside of the scope, it isn’t likely that you’ll have a viable personal injury case.