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How to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim for Your Child 2
John Bruscato Dec. 14, 2023

Parents and guardians do everything they can to protect their children from harm. Despite their best efforts, accidents and injuries can happen. If someone's carelessness or negligence injures your child, you may have the right under child personal injury law in Louisiana to hold the responsible party accountable on behalf of your child.

A personal injury lawyer in Louisiana, like Bruscato Law, can evaluate your circumstances, present your best legal options, and discuss an average payout for a personal injury claim.

Severe injuries may impact your child's future physical or mental well-being. In this case, getting the compensation they deserve is crucial.

First, let's review some special considerations for children under personal injury law in Louisiana. Next, if you're pursuing a personal injury case for your child, follow these steps immediately after an accident.

Special Considerations for Filing a Child Personal Injury Claim

Because children's bodies and brains are still developing, they are vulnerable to all sorts of accidents and injuries. Car accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and slip and fall injuries are personal injury claim examples in Louisiana that can involve children.

A seasoned personal injury Louisiana attorney can guide you through filing any of these types of claims, and thankfully, Louisiana laws aim to protect children in the event of an accident.

For example, the prescriptive period (also known as statute of limitations in other state and federal jurisdictions) for personal injury claims for adults under Louisiana Civil Code art. 3492 is one year from the day the injury or damage is sustained. It's different for minors. There may be circumstances that extend that period for children. Deadlines such as prescriptive periods or statutes of limitations are just one of many reasons people with claims should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. 

Furthermore, children don't have the ability to fight for or make decisions for themselves. Therefore, a child's parent or guardian must file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. The person who acts with this authority for a minor child in Louisiana is called a "tutor."

Usually, parents have the authority to act on their minor child's behalf and are, therefore, their "tutor." This is called "tutorship by nature."

Louisiana Civil Code art. 250 lists persons who are entitled to be tutors by nature. When parents are married, both parents are co-tutors for their child. Tutorship can change in the following circumstances:

  • If parents are divorced, the parent with primary custody can sue.

  • If divorced parents share joint custody, both parents are co-tutors with "equal authority, privileges, and responsibilities." Modifications require a court order or a parental agreement that's approved by the court that awarded joint custody.

  • If one parent dies, tutorship belongs to the surviving parent.

  • If both parents are deceased and the parents have a will that names who will take care of their child if they die, that person has tutorship if they accept the responsibility.

  • If there is no will, the Louisiana court can choose a guardian for the child. This is typically a grandparent or another close relative.

What to Do Immediately After Your Child's Accident

If your child is injured because of someone else's negligence, follow these steps immediately after the accident or incident.

Seek Medical Attention

A child may not be able to tell someone they are hurt, may not realize something is wrong, or that they have serious injuries. Some injuries may not even present themselves right away.

It's crucial to seek medical care for your child immediately after an accident. In some cases, you might need to call 911 for help and for an ambulance to take your child to a hospital for treatment.

If injuries don't require emergency services, be sure to take your child to a hospital or urgent care center right away for a medical exam. Getting prompt medical attention to diagnose and treat injuries as soon as possible can impact their odds of a full recovery.

If you're filing a personal injury claim, a medical exam also establishes when injuries occurred.

How to Pursue a Personal Injury Claim for Your Child 1Photo: via Shutterstock.com

Gather Evidence and Keep the Accident Scene Intact

If you won't aggravate any of your own injuries, are present at the scene, and can safely move around without putting yourself or anyone else in danger, try to gather evidence. This includes:

  • Take photos of the scene, such as vehicle damage or placement in a car accident.

  • Take photos of your child's injuries.

  • If applicable, get contact information for the other drivers, such as driver's license, phone number, and insurance information.

  • Get contact information and statements from any willing witnesses.

Authorities may investigate the accident scene. So, don't move or alter anything when you're gathering evidence.

Keep Track of All Medical Expenses

If you file a personal injury claim, your attorney will seek compensation for all medical bills, treatments, supplies, and losses related to your child's accident. So, keeping track of all accident-related medical expenses is critical.

Medical bills can pile up quickly. You may get multiple bills over time for surgical procedures, hospital bills, physical or occupational therapy, or medical equipment. Also, be sure to track any lost wages you incur while caring for your child, during their hospital stays, or taking them to doctor's appointments and treatments.

Don't Accept a Check from a Liable Party's Insurance Company

An accident is a traumatic experience for your entire family. It might be hard to think clearly — especially if your child is seriously injured.

An insurance company may contact you soon after an accident and offer a settlement check to avoid a lawsuit. They may also try to pay much less than what your child deserves. A fast check might seem appealing. But accepting one may sell your child short.

To help ensure your child receives maximum compensation, contact a personal injury attorney, and never negotiate or accept a check from the responsible party's insurance company by yourself.

Consider the Future

According to the 2020 National Health Interview Survey, 6.8% of children aged 17 years and under had ever had symptoms of a concussion or brain injury.

Sadly, some accidents are life-altering and catastrophic. For example, severe head or spinal cord injuries from falls, car accidents, or sports injuries can happen in the blink of an eye and cause long-term or permanent physical or mental impairments.

Deficits like these can also impact your child's physical, educational, and social development, as well as future income and job prospects.

Therefore, it's essential to consider the future in your child's case. If a responsible party's carelessness injured your child, they deserve compensation for their losses.

Contact an Experienced Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Seeking an experienced personal injury Louisiana attorney who is deeply knowledgeable about personal injury laws for children is vital. Look for one who is also skilled at gathering evidence, proving fault, and calculating fair and just compensation for various accidents and injuries, including damages for pain and suffering.

Bruscato Law is Here to Help

At Bruscato Law, our clients are our top priority. As a seasoned Louisiana attorney, I have helped numerous personal injury victims get the compensation they deserve

I'm ready to hear your story and see how I can help you and your child. Contact me at 318-855-1613 to book an appointment.