CHILDREN AND INJURY LAWSUITS
Children are sometimes hurt by the negligence of others. As an injury attorney, I see kids get hurt in all kinds of ways: hit by cars, accidentally shot, injured at a daycare, bitten by viscous dogs or hospitalized due to a car wreck.
These children cannot make a legal claim for their own injuries. They have to have someone do it for them. Usually it is a parent or guardian. Parents can sue, if necessary, as “parent and next friend of” the minor. A minor is a child under 18 in Tennessee. Here are some tips to protect your kids from common serious injuries:
Street safety: Being a pedestrian is always a disadvantage. When the kids are small, let them pick out some things around the house, like an orange, egg, ketchup bottle, small toy, etc. Then, with another adult driving in the driveway, have the kids watch as the car tire slowly crushes and explodes the item. They better understand the force that way, and why you do not want them to get in the road. If they do have to cross the street, do not just teach them to just “look both ways,” instead teach them look both ways TWICE. “If in doubt, wait it out.”
Accidental shootings: These often occur when the gun handler thinks the gun is unloaded. Teach that there is no such thing as an unloaded gun. A good thing to do might be to let them see a gun fired at night. If they can feel the concussion and see the fire come out, it makes an impression. Of course, guns must be stored safely.
Daycare injuries: Supervision is the key. Be very careful with a daycare that is short-staffed. Spring breaks are always a concern as many school-aged siblings overrun some daycares. Siblings of others will not be as careful with your little ones as you would be.
Dog bites: Kids often do two things when they see a dog: smile and get face to face. Dogs usually feel provoked by two things: bearing teeth and eye contact face to face. See the problem?
Car accidents: By far the most dangerous thing your child will likely do in their entire life is ride in a car.
We have people, many inexperienced, drunk or distracted, driving 5,000 lb. missiles at 88 feet-per-second (60 m.p.h.) all over the roads. Is it any wonder there are tragic accidents? Car seats work wonders in my experience. Seat belts must be non-negotiable, especially where air bags are present.
Air bags are no substitute for seat belts! Backseats are usually safest. Consider larger cars and SUVs, and those with better safety ratings. Check sites like SaferCar.gov for results.
As much as we would like to, we cannot keep children totally safe. Often, medical bills and future care need to be collected from the insurance company insuring the negligent adult.
If they are uninsured, funds can often be collected from the parents own Uninsured motorists coverage.