Get Answers To Common Child Injury Question We Hear the Most
We know how many questions you must have right now about your child injury case, so we compiled this list of the questions we hear the most. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call our Columbia law office to speak with Kenneth Berger.
- Page 1
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
Child injury law is a little bit different than regular adult personal injury situations, due to the natural curiosity and relative inexperience of young ones. In many cases, children simply don’t know better, and may do things that could lead to serious injury or even death. Children may not understand the consequences of their actions, or find themselves in situations that for an adult would not normally be hazardous. When the stage is set for a child to be hurt in a way that an adult should have foreseen, that situation or circumstance may be legally called an “attractive nuisance.”
Defining an Attractive Nuisance
Attractive nuisances are a part of the concept of premises liability. Premises liability is a part of the law that allows a visitor or guests on a property to seek compensation from the owner of that property in case of an injury caused by the owner’s negligence. Property owners are generally expected to protect visitors from harm with routine maintenance, appropriate safety and security precautions, and either removing or marking hazards for guests to avoid.
In most cases, premises liability law does not protect trespassers—the visitor must be invited to the property either explicitly, or in cases of business locations, implicitly, by being open to the general public. However, the law makes an exception in certain circumstances of trespass involving children.
Here are some of the key criteria that help define an attractive nuisance case:
- The property owner was aware or should have been aware that children could trespass on the property. An example might be a highly visible property that is located near a school, along a school route that children regularly use, or near a playground or other location that children visit.
- There was some unsecured danger, condition, or hazardous item on the property that caused serious injury or death to a child, such as an unfenced swimming pool, trampoline, or other unprotected amusement that could cause harm.
- The child or children involved in the accident were not old enough to understand the potential risk to life or limb that exists on the property.
- The property owner must have failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent an injury or death, such as with a locking gate or by securing dangerous equipment.
- There must be a real benefit to fixing the hazard or securing the property with regard to the health and well-being of potential child trespassers. For example, it is not usually reasonable to prevent a potential child injury by destroying every swimming pool. Installing a locking gate to prevent child access, however, is likely a reasonable precaution that should be taken.
When all of the above factors come together in a situation where a child has been hurt or killed, attractive nuisance law comes into play.
Children are our most valuable asset for the future. We as adults have a duty of care to ensure that children are safe from our negligence, because they simply don’t have the capacity or experience to understand the very real hazards that exist all around us every day. Failure to uphold that duty can lead to severe injuries and tragic losses of life that could have been avoided if only an adult had taken the time to care and the responsibility of maintaining his or her property.
If your child has been injured on someone else’s property and you think you may have a case for an attractive nuisance, the Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger is here for your family. We can help you seek compensation from the person responsible for your child’s injuries so that you can recover hospital costs, doctor visits, rehabilitation, long-term care, and more. Our office is conveniently located in Columbia, and we proudly service all of South Carolina, including the Sumter, Florence, and Myrtle Beach areas. To arrange a consultation with a legal professional today, call us by phone, send an email via the contact link, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
Do Parents Receive Any Type of Compensation If Their Child Is Injured in South Carolina?
I represent lots of children, which means I meet with lots of parents. The focus is always the young person's health and well being. A secondary concern is whether mom and dad are entitled to compensation for losses arising from their child's accident. The answer is "yes and no."
South Carolina law allows parents to make a claim for any medical bills their son or daughter incurs. For instance, if your child has a $30,000 hospital charge, you could recover that portion of the claim (fyi: don't let an insurance adjuster tell you that you can only recover the co-pays). Likewise, your child is permitted to recover money for their physical pain, lost quality of life, impairment, and other non-medical losses.
Conversely, parents do not receive money for the time they miss from work or the stress they experience due to their child's injury. The only exception in South Carolina is when the parent actually witnesses the accident. This is known as "bystander liability" because the negligent party is liable not only for the child's injuries but also the shock that comes to the parent who sees their son or daughter get hurt.
Injuries to children often take a financial and mental toll on families. You do not have to bear that burden by yourself. I help families across South Carolina, and am here to help you as well. Call my office today for a free consultation at 803-790-2800.
How Long Do Children Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?
While the statute of limitations is only 2-3 years for adults in South Carolina, children generally have until age 19 to file a lawsuit. When it comes to a personal injury action, there are often two claims: one for the parent and one for the minor. The parent has a claim for all medical bills related to the accident, while the minor has a claim to recover compensation for everything else (e.g. physical pain; lost quality of life; suffering). In these scenarios, the parent only has 2 years to recover the medical expenses in a claim against a governmental defendant or 3 years as against a non-governmental defendant. However, the parent could conceivably wait several more years to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for pain and suffering on behalf of their minor child. Likewise, if no such action was taken by the parent, the child would likely have until age 19 to pursue compensation themselves.
As a parent, you have the right to seek and receive justice behalf of your minor child. The dangerous drivers and businesses who cause your son or daughter harm must be held accountable for the hardship they have caused your family - or they are all the more likely to do it to someone else. Even though you may have longer to file a claim or lawsuit in the event of an injury to your child, please do not wait on an insurance carrier for justice.
Personal injury actions - especially those involving children - are often highly nuanced, emotionally taxing, and at times, expensive. Rather than shoulder that burden on your own, I encourage you to at least find out how we can help. For free answers to your questions, call me today at 803-790-2800. I handle child injury cases across South Carolina, and look forward to speaking with you.
Will Medicaid Pay for My Child's Injuries in South Carolina?
Medicaid is meant to protect South Carolina's children and ensure they get the medical treatment they need. Medicaid applies whether your child was injured in a car wreck, at daycare, school, a friend’s house, or anywhere else. Even though the negligent party may be responsible for compensating your family at the end of a legal case, Medicaid still pays the bills along the way. Do not hesitate to file your hospital bills with Medicaid if your child got hurt as a result of negligence.
At the end of the case, we may have to reimburse Medicaid a portion of what they paid out, but it is much easier to pay them a couple thousand dollars than to be stuck with tens of thousands in unpaid medical bills.
If your child was seriously injured in South Carolina, and you have questions about any aspect of the case, including Medicaid, call me today at (803) 790-2800.