When considering any legal matter that involves children, it is important to understand that the law treats children differently than adults due to the fact that children may not have the same judgment and understanding that an adult does. Issues of liability, settlements and the awarding of compensation all differ from typical civil cases. If your child has been injured, it is important to understand your rights as a parent, your child’s rights as the injured party and how liability is assessed if the accident that resulted in the injuries involved other children. The Chicago Injury Center’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers is happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Children’s Rights as an Injured Party
Children are entitled to damages for pain and suffering as well as any permanent disfigurement or disabilities that result from an accident. These rights do not differ from those of an adult, but the child’s parent also has the right to damages in the amount of medical bills and costs that are associated with the child’s injuries. Children are not able to negotiate or accept out of court settlements and any settlement that a child’s guardian accepts on his or her behalf may require the approval of the court in order to ensure that the agreement is in the child’s best interest.
Children’s Rights as the Liable Party
The law affords children protection from liability due to the fact that they are unable to assess or understand risk in the same way that adults do. The age of the child and his or her understanding of right and wrong will impact the degree to which the court determines the child was responsible for an accident as well as his or her liability. Younger children are typically exonerated from their liability while older children that are believed to have a better understanding of risk and the repercussions of their actions may be treated more as an adult would be. Older children may be held liable, but it is often difficult to collect compensation from a child— in which case an insurance company (the child’s or the parents’) may become involved.
The Liability of Parents
It is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their children are not in a position to cause harm to others or themselves. While children are often excused on the grounds that they do not yet have the proper understanding and judgment to be held liable for an accident, their parents may be liable for their actions and required to provide compensation to the victim.
If you have further questions or your child was injured due to another person’s negligence, contact the Chicago Injury Center today to schedule a free consultation with a qualified personal injury lawyer. We will be happy to evaluate the details of your case and let you know more about your legal options.