If a child is severely injured in an accident caused by someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, the parents or other legal guardians may have the right to demand compensation from the at-fault party. When the unthinkable happens and your child is seriously hurt in an accident, turn to the Myrtle Beach personal injury law firm that so many South Carolinians have trusted for legal guidance in times of need.
The Myrtle Beach child injury lawyers of Joye Law Firm have been protecting the rights of injured children and their families since the firm was founded 50 years ago. We know that you never imagined that your child would be seriously hurt due to someone else’s negligence and you just want your child to have all the needed medical care to recover.
Our experienced attorneys are here to sit down with you and discuss the accident during a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll evaluate your case at no charge and will discuss all of the legal options available to you. If we represent you, we will aggressively seek compensation from all responsible parties.
Common Childhood Injuries in Myrtle Beach
Some of the most common kinds of accidents that cause child injuries include:
- Automobile accidents
- School accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Camp accidents
- Day care abuse
- Crosswalk accidents
- Dangerous or defective toys
- Child crib accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Drowning accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Lead poisoning
- Prescription medication errors
- Suffocation, strangulation, or choking
Every accident has unique elements. Most accidents and personal injury lawsuits may involve only one liable party. But there can be cases in which multiple parties could be named as defendants.
The first thing a parent should do after their child has been involved in any kind of accident is to make sure the child receives medical attention. Even if a child says he or she was not hurt, it is important to be examined by a doctor, as some injuries can involve delayed symptoms.
When possible, take photos of everything that was involved in your child’s accident. If anybody saw the incident, get their names and phone numbers. Having seen the accident, the witness may have important information to share.
Make sure that you do not say anything to any insurance company without seeking the guidance of an attorney.
Differences in Law for South Carolina Child Injury Cases
When an injury victim is a child, several important differences can come into play. The first significant difference concerns the length of time allowed to file a case, which is known as the statute of limitations.
South Carolina Code § 15-3-530 establishes that personal injury claims must be filed within three years. However, the time limit may be extended when the person injured is a minor. In such cases, a minor has until three years after the date of their 18th birthday.
A parent can file a claim on a child’s behalf, but they cannot recover damages for the child’s pain and suffering. You will want to speak to a lawyer to determine the most advantageous time to file your case.
Another significant difference concerns the element of contributory negligence, a common defense in personal injury lawsuits. South Carolina uses what is commonly referred to as the “Rule of Sevens” when evaluating a child’s negligence.
Under this rule:
- A child under seven years of age is incapable of negligence
- A child between seven years of age and 14 years of age is presumed innocent, but the presumption is rebuttable with evidence
- A child 14 years of age or older is capable of negligence
How to Find Fault in a Myrtle Beach Child Injury Accident
Determining fault for your child’s injury will largely depend on the circumstances of the accident. You want to contact an attorney as soon as possible because they can immediately commence an independent investigation to collect critical evidence and prove the actual cause of the accident.
Many motor vehicle accidents are caused by another driver’s negligence. An accident that occurs because of a dangerous property condition may be the result of the property owner’s failure to correct a hazardous condition or secure the property so the child cannot gain access to a hazard.
Even when you have determined who was at fault for your child’s injuries, it can be difficult to get that party to accept responsibility. While many people will express immediate remorse and even a willingness to help when they have caused an accident that injures a child, insurance companies for the negligent parties are not likely to be quite as sympathetic.
An insurer will find any way possible to reduce or eliminate its client’s liability. Unfortunately, a typical insurance company tactic is pinning most of the blame on the child.
What If My Child Was Injured at School?
When a child is injured at school, the school district could be liable, but South Carolina state law limits the liability of school districts in specific circumstances. South Carolina Code § 59-63-75(D)(5) says that the athletic trainer, physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who evaluates a student-athlete during practice or an athletic competition and authorizes the student to return to play is not liable for civil damages (unless the acts or omissions constitute gross negligence or willful, wanton misconduct).
Under South Carolina Code § 59-63-80(H)(1), a parent or guardian is required to sign a statement acknowledging that the school district and its employees and agents are not liable for injuries arising from a student’s self-monitoring or self-administration of medication. South Carolina Code § 59-63-95 establishes that a school district and other enumerated entities are not liable for damages caused by injuries to a student or another person resulting from the administration or self-administration of an epinephrine auto-injector.
The general idea with a child injury at a school is that school officials had a responsibility to supervise children and ensure their safety. An experienced lawyer will know how to make sure that the negligent parties are held fully accountable.
What About Injuries Due to Negligent Supervision?
Any party who was responsible for caring for a child may be liable for injuries a child sustains when an accident occurs while the child is under their supervision. Numerous people could have supervisory roles as it relates to children.
Some of the most common examples include:
- Foster parents
- Day care providers
- Other school faculty and staff
- Camp counselors
- Youth group leaders
- Other parents
A negligent supervision claim will involve the same elements central to most negligence claims, including that:
- a defendant had a duty of care to the child to provide for their safety
- the defendant breached that duty by not adequately protecting the child
- that breach of duty caused the child’s injuries
- those injuries caused damages. In some cases, the negligent party’s failure could also make their employer liable for child injuries.
Negligent supervision is only applicable in cases in which people had clearly defined responsibilities to care for children. In all other cases, people are only expected to act with the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in the same situation.
Contact Our Myrtle Beach Child Injury Law Firm Today
Injuries to children can be particularly devastating because some injuries have the potential to affect a child’s development. Some injuries can create an entire lifetime of challenges and difficulties that a child will have to overcome.
Families should not be forced to pay the expenses relating to their child’s medical care out of their own pockets if the injury was caused by someone else’s carelessness or disregard for safety. Some parents must reconfigure their homes to accommodate medical equipment for a child’s severe injuries. Others will have to support a child for a much longer period of time than they usually would have because the child is disabled and unable to work.
Did your child sustain catastrophic injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence in Myrtle Beach or a surrounding community in Horry County? You will want to seek legal guidance from an experienced Horry County child injury lawyer right away, so you can seek justice.