As a law firm that handles injuries to children, we see a variety of tragic situations where parents and loved ones are left wondering who is to blame for the injury or death of a child. Because of their fragile bodies and limited instincts, children can be seriously injured in many different ways.
From traffic accidents to dog bites to fights at school, it can be hard to understand what legal rights and options families might have when their child has been injured.
Liability Critical Factor: How Did It Happen?
First, liability for child injuries depends primarily on the nature of the injury that your child has suffered. Traffic accidents resulting in child injuries are a sensitive issue right now, particularly in the State of Washington after the passing of House Bill 2302 which penalizes adults for driving under the influence with a child present in the vehicle.
Unfortunately, parents can sometimes be liable for serious injury or death to their children if it is plausible that the parent in question could have been prevented the situation from taking place.
For example, in 2002 a seventh grader reportedly committed suicide because he was being bullied at school. The boy’s mother was eventually charged with three counts of risk of injury to a minor and one count of cruelty to persons due to the deplorable living conditions at the home where the child lived.
Child Injuries from Medical Malpractice
Less controversial instances of child injuries tend to involve school officials or medical professionals. In many cases involving bullying, school officials such as principals or counselors can be deemed liable for injuries stemming from a fight to even suicide.
More common liability cases involving child injuries include medical malpractice lawsuits, which usually involve an error or lapse in judgment during a medical procedure. For example, one boy died at Seattle Children’s hospital in 2010 as a result of medication overdoses.
The hospital settled outside of court with the boy’s family for an undisclosed amount, reportedly due to the fact that the nurse administering the drug mistakenly prescribed a lethal dosage. The hospital has since changed its policy to prevent this from happening and reduce their risk of being held liable in the future.
Regardless of the situation, child injuries are unique in the regard that they create a significant amount of trauma for families and loved ones. In addition, the physical and emotional trauma that injured children often suffer can take a long time to recover from, especially when the child is young.
If you or someone you know has a child that has been injured in an accident, it is likely in your best interests to explore the legal rights and options afforded to parents of injured children. Visit our online legal library for free informational materials about child injuries and accidents, or contact Davis Law Group to discuss your options and legal rights in a free legal consultation by calling 206-727-4000.