Any serious accident can produce tragedy, but this is especially true when the victim is a child. A severe physical injury or emotional trauma can have consequences for the rest of a child’s life. Those responsible for causing injury to your son or daughter must be held accountable.
I am Kenneth Berger, a Columbia, South Carolina attorney for injured children. Our most vulnerable and valuable resource - our kids - deserve the protection of the law. I am here to uphold our laws and protect the rights of young people harmed by the negligent, dangerous conduct of others. Whether the result of daycare abuse, a car accident, playground injury, or dog attack, a child's suffering should never go in vain. In this article, I cover:
- Common Causes of Childhood Injuries
- What to Do After Your Child Is Injured
- Tips for Hiring the Best Lawyer for Your Case
- Pursuing Justice for Children Who Have Suffered Physical and Emotional Harm
- Schedule a Free Consultation with a Child Injury Lawyer
As parents, we do our best to defend our children from harm, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, accidents and injuries happen. Not every child injury results in the need for a lawsuit. As explorers in the world, children can be prone to minor bumps, scrapes, and injuries. Sometimes though, an avoidable tragedy happens as the result of someone’s negligence or carelessness.
Here are some of the most common causes of childhood injury that can lead to lawsuits, and how to get legal help when your child has been needlessly harmed.
1. Motor vehicle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19 was the result of motor vehicle accidents. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC-DHEC) reports that for many years, motor vehicle accidents were the top cause of death for children 5 to 19 in our state, too. If your child was seriously injured in a car accident, an attorney can help you deal with the insurance companies to ensure your son or daughter receives a full and fair recovery for all current and future medical treatment.
2. Swimming pool accidents. Swimming pools are a fun part of summer for many children, but pools can be dangerous if children are left unattended. CDC figures show that between 2005 and 2014, as many as one in five victims of drowning were age 14 or under, and drowning was the second most likely cause of death for children between 1 and 4 years old. Near-drowning, when a victim is rescued from the water on the brink of death, can also result in serious and lifelong health consequences. Pool owners or operators need to be vigilant and ensure that pools are properly maintained, children are supervised appropriately, and the area is fenced or gated to prevent young children from accidentally falling in. When they fail to do so, they can be held financially and legally accountable for the harm they cause.
3. Amusement park accidents. Myrtle Beach is a popular South Carolina destination for family fun, especially for the many amusement parks. However, issues such as ride operator negligence, poor maintenance, or bad engineering can lead to head, spine, or neck injuries, drowning or near-drowning, broken bones, or other injuries. In these cases, a child injury attorney in South Carolina can help you take on the commercial insurance providers to seek a fair settlement.
4. Playground accidents. Issues such as poor construction, lack of routine maintenance, or manufacturer recalls can lead to serious injuries on playground equipment. Some playground equipment may also not be age- or developmentally-appropriate for your child. Teachers, babysitters, or other individuals caring for your child should be providing appropriate supervision to prevent serious accidents from happening on the playground.
5. Daycare Negligence and Abuse. Daycares in South Carolina are required to meet a list of certain rules and regulations to ensure each child in their care is kept safe. All too often, these laws are violated, and children are harmed. Whether a child’s injury was due to unsanitary conditions, unsafe equipment, or unqualified teachers, the responsible person or party should be held legally responsible.
6. Burns. Burn injuries can be devastating for children, often resulting in scarring and trauma that lasts a lifetime. Child burn injuries are commonly caused by hot objects, pool chemicals, harsh cleaning chemicals, or faulty electrical equipment. When poor maintenance or defective products cause a child to suffer a burn injury, an attorney can help the responsible party and their insurance provider better understand the impact the burn will have on your child’s life.
7. Dangerous and defective toys. Shoddy craftsmanship or defective manufacturing, toxic paints or chemicals, or age-inappropriate small parts can all cause injury to an unsuspecting child, so be sure to inspect toys before you buy them. The companies that manufacture these toys have the resources to vigorously defend themselves, so if a child suffers harm because of a defective toy, schedule a consultation with an experienced child injury lawyer to ensure your child’s rights are protected.
Morality demands that we nurture, educate, house, and provide medical care to our young people. The law demands the same. Therefore, whenever a child in South Carolina is injured, assaulted, or abused, our law provides a remedy. Along with criminal charges, wrongdoers may be subject to a civil suit for the harm they cause children. A criminal case measures wrongdoing in prison time. A civil action seeks money damages.
While nobody can reverse the harm that’s been done to your child, one legal remedy available to you is to file a civil action. This type of lawsuit can help offset some of the financial losses and damage related to:
- Emergency medical treatment costs
- Long-term care expenses, including rehabilitation and therapy
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of future earning potential
- Emotional or mental trauma
- Pain and suffering
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded, depending on the nature of your case. An attorney with experience handling child injuries will help you determine your legal options, as well as the best course of action.
Child injury cases can be complicated - I want to ensure families living in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and across our state make the best choice for their sons and daughters.
1. Find a Lawyer that is Familiar with Accident Cases Involving Children
Legal cases are rarely as straight-forward as they might seem on the surface. Insurance companies, along with their attorneys, will often twist the facts, dispute the extent of injury, and try to place blame on anyone other than their insured. I have seen a number of unrepresented families driven to their wit's end by insurance adjusters who simply refuse to make a fair settlement offer after a child was injured.
That’s one of the reasons you should consider speaking with a child injury attorney who has dealt with these matters in the past and knows how to handle challenges as they arise. A well-trained lawyer will protect your child’s interests while also obtaining the evidence necessary to prove the case. To ensure your injury lawyer has experience with cases like the one you find yourself in, ask about past results.
2. Learn About the Lawyer’s Reputation
When working with a child injury lawyer, you’ll want to make sure the attorney has a strong reputation for his/her lawyering skills as well as for ethics, trustworthiness, and professionalism.
There are multiple places you can look to gain a better understanding of a lawyer’s reputation. What do their online reviews look like on Google, Facebook, and Yelp? Are previous clients satisfied with their representation? What are the attorney’s previous case results like? Does it seem like he/she has a track record of obtaining full and fair settlements for clients? Has the attorney won any awards? And finally, what do people in the community say about him/her? Are there any positive or negative stories about the lawyer or his law firm in the news?
3. Discuss How Involved the Attorney Will Actually Be in the Case
Often overlooked, this is one of the most important tips for a hiring an injury lawyer. How involved will he or she be in the claim? How much time will he or she devote to it?
During your interviews with attorneys, discuss who will handle the medical and insurance paperwork. Find out whether you will be dealing primarily with paralegals. You want to be sure the attorney you choose has the time and motivation necessary to properly pursue the case.
4. Talk About What You Should Expect from the Lawyer and the Case
Speak with potential attorneys about what you can expect when working with them. How often will they provide you with case updates? How long do they take to return phone calls? How long will the case last and what do they estimate your child's compensation to be?
These tips for hiring an attorney to help with your child's injury case - be it in Columbia or anywhere else in South Carolina - are intended to be a resource in your pursuit of justice. For a free consultation and answers to your questions, call me today at 803-790-2800 or start a chat with us now.
If your child has been seriously harmed in a car accident or any other type of incident, you have only one chance in our civil system to hold the responsible party accountable and obtain fair compensation.
My personal injury firm has represented young people in a diverse range of actions, and places special emphasis on child injury cases, including:
- Abuse and neglect in schools and daycare centers
- Amusement park, water park and playground accidents
- Injuries caused by defective toys and other products
- Scarring and disfigurement due to burns and dog bites
- School bus and other motor vehicle accidents
Our commitment to children extends beyond our legal work. We make regular donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and contribute to community efforts aimed at bettering the lives of children in the Columbia area and across South Carolina. In fact, a portion of every settlement we obtain on behalf of an injured child is donated to a children's charity or safety organization.
During an era in which dangerous toys have entered our markets and defective equipment has been shipped to our schools, our children are exposed to many risks. Teacher misconduct has also become a far too common occurrence. Lawyers, lawmakers, parents, and police cannot prevent every accident, nor can we stop every crime against children. We can, however, punish criminals, negligent manufacturers, and all others who threaten our children’s wellbeing. South Carolina’s young people deserve our protection. They deserve a safer society; and when they have no voice, they deserve to have us speak and fight on their behalf.
If you want answers and guidance from a child injury attorney in South Carolina whose practice focuses on helping families in cases ranging from daycare abuse to dog bites, call me today for a free case evaluation at (803) 790-2800, or you can start a live chat now. My office is centrally located, which provides me the opportunity to handle child injury cases across South Carolina, including Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston. I look forward to being of service.