Childhood injuries are so common that your child getting hurt at a friend’s house is nearly inevitable. The majority of such injuries are minor and easily remedied with a bandaid or an icepack, and perhaps a hug. When more serious injuries occur, however, like a bone break, a deep cut, or a head injury, there may be legal repercussions. If the friend’s parents were negligent — not making sure their home and grounds were safe or that the children were appropriately supervised — you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs and attendant expenses.
In some cases, the other parents accept their responsibility graciously and everyone remains friendly. Unless the situation is easily and quickly resolved among the adults involved, however, you will need a savvy personal injury attorney to handle your case. At Compass Law Group in California, we have a national reputation for excellent negotiation and litigation skills. Even more important, we have an impressive history of successful outcomes and we never charge you any attorneys’ fees until we win you damages.
How Premises Liability Is Legally Determined
When your child is on a playdate, her legal status is that of a licensee, invited to the other person’s home as a social guest. According to California law, the owners of the home have a responsibility to ensure that their home is reasonably safe and that your child, as well as their own, will be offered age-appropriate supervision and care.
The four elements your attorney must prove to win your negligence suit are that:
- The homeowner had a duty to provide safe surroundings for your child
- That duty was breached
- The breach caused the accident in question
- Your child suffered real harm from the injury he received
A knowledgeable premises liability attorney will know which strategies will work best to settle your case out of court once these elements of liability are proven, but will be well-prepared to litigate with tactical agility if the case goes to trial.
Common Childhood Injuries That May Occur While Your Child Is Visiting a Friend
We all know that most children are explorers and often find trouble due to inexhaustible energy and curiosity. While skin abrasions and small cuts and bruises are part of every child’s life, more serious injuries require urgent medical attention. Depending on the age of the child involved, these injuries may include:
- Bone fractures and dislocations
- Head injuries, concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Eye injuries
- Choking or swallowing foreign objects
- Accidental poisoning
- Objects lodged in the ears or nose
Precautions Homeowners Are Expected to Take to Prevent Childhood Injuries
While any child can trip and fall or come to harm as a result of an awkward movement or a moment of inattention, the parents in charge have a duty to make certain that dangers like the following are not accessible to children in their home or on their grounds:
- An unsupervised swimming pool, hot stove or barbecue fire
- A dog with a history of biting
- Dangerously piled heavy objects
- A loaded gun or another weapon
- Pesticides, medications, cleaning products
- Plastic bags, heavy tools, sharp objects
- A slippery floor or icy outdoor path
- Small beads, buttons, toy parts (for very young children)
When Blame Is Not Entirely Clear-Cut
As careful as the family watching your child may be, accidents can happen, and it is possible that the court will consider the issue of comparative negligence. This means that while the other parents may have been somewhat remiss, the court comes to the conclusion that your child participated by going somewhere she was expressly told not to go, or touching something she was forbidden to touch. Perhaps she purposefully teased the dog that bit her.
In such cases, California Law allows liability to be split between the plaintiff and the defendant under the principle of “pure” comparative negligence, meaning that you will be able to collect a portion of awarded damages even if your child is found to be more than 50 percent responsible for his own injury. Your settlement, however, will be diminished by the percentage of your child’s fault. So, if your child is awarded $100,000 and found to be 50 percent at fault, you will receive $50,000.
Damages We May Be Able to Obtain for You and Your Child
At Compass Law Group, we are committed to fighting to provide you with the damages you need to cover:
- Medical costs
- Ongoing rehabilitation or therapy
- Your child’s pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Permanent scarring or other disfigurements
We know how traumatic having your child suffer a serious injury can be and we will offer you emotional support as well as legal counsel and representation. Compass Law Group is dedicated to your cause. We will do everything in our power to get you the resources you need to have your child recover and reach her full potential.