Summer Increases Odds Of Child Injuries
During summer, everyone is out enjoying Florida’s beautiful weather, especially children who have been cooped up in school. However, children are generally less careful than they should be when they are having fun outside, and being outside more often can lead to serious injuries if they are unlucky – or if someone fails to make their property or business sufficiently safe. If your child has been injured, it can be terrifying, but you do have options you can explore to try and hold a negligent actor liable.
Many Different Causes
Unfortunately, there are countless potential causes for child injuries in a Florida summer. Examples include some of the same causes as for adults like auto accidents, but also some that are unique to young children. Statistics from the Florida Department of Health show the most common causes of death for children aged 1-9 years are drowning, traffic accidents, suffocation, and fire or flame-related injuries, but the greater issue is whether anyone is negligent in these events. Negligent supervision by an adult can lead to any of these common causes of death, or a pattern of neglect by a parent or caregiver can lead to injury or death.
In addition to caregiver negligence, many child injuries can happen due to negligence by a business owner or operator – for example, amusement parks have a duty to maintain their premises in a relatively safe condition, and a failure to do so can lead to liability for injuries in adults or children. In some situations, owners or operators are shielded from liability by law – the most common example being a public school, given that schools that receive federal funding are covered by sovereign immunity – but on the whole, owners and operators are liable if they fail to uphold their duty of care.
If your child has been injured, and you believe that it is due to another person’s negligence, you may wish to file a lawsuit on their behalf. A parent or caregiver must be the one to file, as minors under the age of 18 may not file lawsuits in Florida. The statute of limitations is two years, meaning that you have two years from the date of the accident in which to file on your child’s behalf. As with incidents where an adult is injured, you must establish that the defendant breached their existing duty to exercise reasonable care, and that their breach of duty was the direct cause of your child’s injuries.
Keep in mind that if you are able to reach a settlement with the defendant, there are limits on what you may approve unilaterally (without the court’s influence). Florida law states that if a minor child’s personal injury settlement is under $15,000, you as the child’s parent or guardian can settle out of court. If the proposed settlement is over $15,000, you must seek court approval, which means you must file a petition and seek a hearing to make sure the settlement is acceptable.
Call A Tampa Child Injury Attorney
Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it is important to be aware of potential dangers. If your child has been injured due to another person’s negligence, you have the right to try and seek compensation for the harm they have suffered. The Tampa child injury lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group are ready and willing to try and help you with your concerns. Contact us today for a free consultation.