The serious injury of a child is one of the worst experiences a parent can have. In addition to their immediate recovery, you might also be concerned about your family’s financial situation and how you will pay for expensive long-term care. If your child’s injury permanently impacts their future ability to earn a living, that is another thing to consider. Because of these concerns, you should reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney.

When someone’s negligence contributes to an accident that harms a young person, parents could seek compensation on their child’s behalf. A Hazel Crest child injury lawyer could hold the responsible parties accountable and help ensure a secure future for your child.

What Damages Are Available in Child Injury Cases?

The party whose negligent acts or omissions injured a child is responsible for paying for the results of their negligence in the form of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Because the ramifications of a severe childhood injury might last for decades, it is critical for parents to receive a fair settlement that will support appropriate care and a decent quality of life for their child.

Economic Damages

Economic damages address those losses that have a fixed value. In addition to already incurred costs, a claim for economic damages will estimate the funds necessary to care for the child in the future. Damages for medical care might include past and future:

  • Doctor’s appointments, copayments, and medications
  • Surgeries
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Mental health care
  • Expenses related to accommodating the injury, such as home renovations or adapted vehicles
  • Necessary nursing care or home health care

If the injury could affect the child’s future employment prospects, economic damages could include lost wages and reduced earning capacity. This can be complicated because it is difficult to know what future the child might have had without the accident. However, a local child injury attorney could call on their network of actuaries and other experts to estimate the value of the future earned income that the child lost out on.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the losses that an injured person experiences that do not have a price tag. The aim is to attach a monetary value to the losses that cannot be easily calculated.

A judge or jury could award non-economic damages to a child in compensation for pain and suffering, lost companionship, diminished opportunity to enjoy life, embarrassment and inconvenience, and other aspects of a reduced quality of life. Illinois does not cap the amount of non-economic damages an injured child could receive.

Punitive Damages

When the negligence that led to the child’s injury was especially egregious, 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2-1115.05 allows an injured person to seek punitive damages. This requires showing that the negligent party’s behavior was intentionally malicious or comprised reckless indifference to a high probability of injury to others.

The law caps punitive damages at three times the amount of economic damages. However, there is no cap when the responsible party’s behavior leads to a criminal conviction that could carry a prison sentence.

What Happens to the Money Awarded to a Child?

Parents should understand that they are bringing suit on behalf of their child and the money awarded is earmarked for the minor’s support. In most cases, a trust will hold the money awarded to children. A parent could be the trustee and be able to make decisions regarding disbursements, or the court might appoint a trustee instead.

Parents could be penalized and lose control of a trust if they use the money for their own benefit or for anything other than the child’s best interests. A Hazel Crest child accident lawyer could explain the provisions of a settlement agreement and help ensure that the parent knows how to access the funds and spend the settlement.

Secure Your Injured Child’s Future with a Hazel Crest Child Injury Attorney

When you are trying to see your child through their recovery after a serious injury, you need compassionate assistance. Potentially responsible parties and their insurance companies are not above taking advantage of stressed and grieving parents, so protect yourself and your child by securing professional representation.

A Hazel Crest child injury lawyer could help ensure that any settlement appropriately addresses your child’s needs now and in the future. There is a limited time to bring an action, so schedule a consultation today.