What to Expect in a Child Injury Case
Children spend about a third of their lives under the protection of a teacher, priest, coach, or other non-parent adult. Sometimes, these adults negligently allow injury, Other times, they intentionally cause injury. Negligence is basically a lack of care. People are responsible for their mistakes, if these mistakes cause injury. An intentional tort is basically a deliberate act that causes injury. The act, not the injury, is intentional. Although these claims are very different philosophically, they’re basically the same procedurally.
Children are quite vulnerable, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Therefore, a slight injury usually has dire consequences. A Columbia child injury attorney obtains the compensation these families need to face the future. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Frequently, medical treatment is at least substantially complete within a few months. At that point, a Columbia personal injury attorney usually opens settlement negotiations with the other party. This other party is usually an insurance company.
Sometimes, child injury cases settle quickly. The victims are very sympathetic. No insurance company wasn’t to be the “tightwad” company that made a low-ball offer to a seriously injured child.
However, that’s assuming key legal issues, such as liability (legal responsibility for injury) and damages (amount of compensation) are undisputed. Very few issues are undisputed when insurance companies get involved.
Filing Legal Paperwork
So, to jumpstart stalled negotiations, as well as pressure the insurance company to make a deal, a Columbia personal injury lawyer typically files legal paperwork. In response, the defendant usually files procedural motions, hoping to get the case thrown out of court before a judge or jury addresses its merits.
Statute of limitations arguments in child sex abuse cases are a good example. A few states, most notably Maryland, have weakened or abolished the SOL in these cases, which is usually two years.
The brain suppresses traumatic memories. Therefore, most victims go through decades of therapy before they piece together what happened to them, and who was responsible. By the time enough evidence is available to file a legal action, the SOL has passed.
The delayed discovery rule usually comes into play in these cases. In South Carolina, injury victims have two years to file legal claims starting from the time they “discover” their injuries. 390
Attorneys also file legal paperwork to trigger the discovery requirement. The court orders both parties to put all their cards face-up on the table, in terms of their claims and defenses.
Evidence obtained during discovery usually bolsters the victim’s case. Most defendants conceal damaging evidence as long as possible. Additionally, discovery gives an attorney a preview of the other side’s case, making it easier to refute any legal defenses.
Resolving the Case
Usually, the last thing anyone wants is for a child to take the witness stand, relive the traumatic injury, and face aggressive questioning from another lawyer. That’s the main reason attorneys work so hard to obtain favorable settlements in child injury cases.
Informal negotiations, which were mentioned above, usually pick up steam after a lawyer files a legal action. In the event these talks stall or break down, most Richland County judges appoint mediators.
These professionals work with both sides, usually during a marathon daylong negotiating session, and help them resolve their differences. Experienced and capable mediators usually resolve about 90 percent of the cases they handle.
Count on a Savvy Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. Virtual, home, after hours, and hospital visits are available.