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When Children Are Injured

ChildInjury

It is most parents’ worst nightmare to see their children seriously injured, especially if due to someone else’s negligence. Sometimes, injuries will happen – they are simply a part of childhood – but if your child is injured due to someone else’s reckless conduct, they are just as entitled to justice as an adult would be. Understanding what your role is if your child is harmed can be both helpful in the situation and a general help to your peace of mind.

Children Cannot File Suit

The most important thing you can understand about your child’s rights in the aftermath of an accident is to understand that they cannot legally file suit on their own – minors lack certain rights granted to adults because they are presumed not to understand how to use them effectively.  This does not, however, mean that your family cannot bring suit if your child is injured due to another’s negligence. Sometimes, if the statute of limitations will permit, a child may choose to wait until they have turned 18 and then sue on their own, but given the short statute of limitations on many personal injury causes of action, this is not a good option in many situations.

If there is not enough time to wait, the suit can be brought on the minor child’s behalf under Florida law. This can be done by a person named the minor’s “next friend,” which is a designated representative who acts for someone who is unable to do so for themselves – usually either a minor or a disabled person. The court will accept a parent or guardian as next friend, or they may also name a guardian ad litem, but either way, the person’s job is to act solely in the minor’s best interests (not in their own).

Special Circumstances For Children

The other major thing to keep in mind as a parent is that with some causes of action, there are legal exceptions that do apply to children, and these might make a difference in your case. For example, if one is injured after trespassing onto someone else’s land, the landowner or business owner owes them no duty of care, which means that they would receive nothing if they chose to bring suit – the rationale is that a trespasser brings any injury on themselves by breaking the law.

This is not the case for children – Florida recognizes a concept called the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, which means that property owners who meet certain criteria (such as being aware that the ‘nuisance’ is in a place where children may be attracted to it, among other factors) can be held liable for injuries to trespassing children. Generally, if the ‘nuisance’ at issue has an element of ‘trapping,’ the court will be even more likely to hold the property owner liable.

Contact A Compassionate Attorney

When your child has been hurt, you need someone who knows the law and can help walk you through it with a minimum of delay and confusion. The Tampa personal injury lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group understand how frightening children’s injuries are to all involved, and we will work hard to ensure that you and your child can focus on helping them heal, rather than getting bogged down in court. If you have questions or concerns about your case, we are here to help. Call us today to set up an appointment.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.403.html

courtlistener.com/opinion/1871717/ansin-v-thurston/

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