As much as parents would like to control their child’s interactions with others and surroundings, the reality is that accidents and injuries occur.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of fatality among children in the United States. Each year, among those less than a year old to 19 years of age, over 12,000 people die from these type of injuries and more than 9.2 million are treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal injuries.
However, there are some child injuries that happen because of the negligent actions of a person or entity. If your child has been seriously injured due to another party’s negligence, you have the right under California law to seek monetary damages.
The six most common child injuries and their legal ramifications include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – The main cause of death from injury are car accidents. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), nearly 150 children visit emergency departments due to serious injuries from car crashes every hour. In California, the “comparative negligence” of the plaintiff may affect a damages award. When more than one party is at fault in a California car accident, the jury will assign a percentage of responsibility to each party, totaling to 100 percent. Children are not held to the same standards of behavior as adults. A child is required to use the amount of care that a reasonably careful child of the same age, intelligence, knowledge, and experience would use in that same situation.
- Suffocation – Infants are most likely to suffocate during their sleep. Toddlers are considered the most at risk from suffocating by choking on food or other small objects. In the event a child suffocates on a product that doesn’t have the proper warning label, parents may file a product liability lawsuit against the product manufacturer and perhaps other third parties.
- Drowning – Drowning is considered the most common cause of death from injury in children ages one to four. Three children die every day from drowning. Since a pool is considered part of the property it’s located on, premises liability rules will apply in a pool injury lawsuit. Property owners have certain legal obligations in regard to the condition of a pool on their property, and the safety of swimmers who are foreseeable users of that pool. Additionally, under the attractive nuisance doctrine, pool owners are obligated to keep the pool safe from young children who do not understand the danger of drowning.
- Poisoning – Each day, two children die and more than 300 ages 0 to 19 in the U.S. go to emergency departments due to poisoning. Common sources of poisoning include household chemicals, cleaners, and medicines. Any person or business that maintains an unsafe premise/property may be found liable for not taking measures to prevent a child household product poisoning injuries. Furthermore, any person or entity that has been entrusted with the child’s care and safety may be found responsible for failing to take measures to prevent child accidents.
- Burns – While younger children are more likely to be burned by hot liquids or steam, older minors are more likely to be burned from direct contact with fire. If your child has been burned due to the negligence of another party, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
- Falls – The most common cause of nonfatal injuries for children, with more than 8,000 visiting emergency rooms each day due to falls. If your child slipped and fell as a result of the negligent actions of the property owner, you may file a premises liability lawsuit to seek monetary damages.