Indianapolis Catastrophic Childhood Injury Lawyer
A catastrophic injury changes your life in some major way, usually permanently, and also changes the lives of those around you. Severe bodily damage translates into long-term suffering that can last a lifetime. When a child suffers a catastrophic injury, it can mean many decades of special care, pain, and worry, as well as calamitous financial burdens for the child’s family. If another party’s reckless disregard or negligent actions are responsible for such devastating harm, the situation can be a parent’s worst nightmare. The anguish they experience can feel unbearable.
At Stephenson Rife, we understand that financial compensation will not undo the harm you suffered. But that does not mean your catastrophic injury claim is something to be taken lightly. The fact that your child may never fully recover from the physical injuries inflicted during an accident makes proper handling of the legal claim imperative. Your future depends on it. Contact our team of Indiana trial attorneys now to learn more about your rights.
Situations That Can Create Catastrophic Injuries
Certain types of accidents are more likely to result in childhood catastrophic injury than others, and they can be different than those responsible for adult catastrophic injury. For example, adults can experience catastrophic injuries in the workplace; children, of course, do not.
- Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for children less than 15 years of age and can result in serious brain and spinal cord damage. Each year, roughly 2.8 million children visit hospital emergency departments because of falls.
- Motor vehicle crashes. Vehicular collisions are a leading cause of injury for teens ages 15 to 19, but that does not mean that smaller children do not suffer from serious injury in collisions. The CDC reported that more than 121,350 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2014. Keep in mind that other types of vehicular accidents also injure thousands of kids a year, including bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and school bus accidents. Children can also be injured in non-traffic vehicular accidents such as backovers.
- Sports injuries. Tens of millions of children take part in sports, and some begin playing them as young as four. Approximately 3 million children are seen in ERs nationwide for sports injuries each year. Such injuries are the second most common reason that kids and teens visit emergency departments.
- Fires and other burn-producing residential injuries. Most common in children under the age of four, burns and scalding from fires and other residential accidents can scar a child for life, both inside and out. Fire and scalding residential injuries can be caused by another’s negligence if a third party was involved or if you rent your residence.
- Most common in children under the age of four, most poisoning episodes occur in the home, but a negligent care situation or inattentive property owner could result in a child’s eating or drinking something dangerous. Because poisons affect the brain and nervous system, a child who recovers from a severe bout of poisoning can suffer lingering aftereffects that impact their daily lives.
- Near-drowning or suffocating. Such injuries occur most often in children under the age of four. A lack of oxygen to the brain, when it continues for several minutes, creates lasting damage that can be impossible to recover from. An inattentive property owner with a pool or hot tub could potentially be liable for catastrophic injuries.
- Defective products. Accidents involving dangerous products, such as from child safety seats, furniture, and toys, can also cause catastrophic injuries.
Childhood Catastrophic Injury Types
Generally, the younger the child is, the greater the risk of injuries to that child. However, all ages of children can potentially suffer from one of the following common types of catastrophic injury:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by many types of accidents, but the results are the same: long-term brain damage that can affect every aspect of a child’s life. Childhood TBIs are especially dangerous because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. The following slide show can provide you with significant information related to childhood brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI). Catastrophic spinal cord injuries can cause partial or total paralysis. Motor vehicle crashes account for nearly half of all spinal cord injuries (SCI), often resulting in significant, life-long disability.
- Burns and scalds. Burns can create some of the most disfiguring catastrophic injuries possible, producing a great deal of pain and suffering and very long recovery and rehabilitation times. The financial costs can be enormous. Some severe burns can also result in the loss of a limb.
- Fractures can be much more than a broken arm. Severe compound bone breaks can result in nerve trauma or even eventual loss of limb because the bones cannot be sufficiently repaired.
- Traumatic amputations and crushing injuries can mean limb loss and a long, painful, expensive recovery.
- Poisoning can mean severe internal burns as well as permanent nervous system and brain damage.
The Costs of Care
Caring for a suffering child carries both an emotional and a financial cost. While emotional costs cannot be measured, financial costs can be and have been measured.
It might shock you to discover that the average dollar amount needed to care for severe injuries can range, per year, from $516,938 to $9,550,704. (Medical and rehabilitative care is generally more expensive during the first year.) Additionally, research has shown that the lifetime costs for an adult with a severe spinal injury who is hurt when they are 25 can be as high as $4,729,788. While we do not have a similar figure for childhood catastrophic injury, we might reasonably expect the lifetime costs of care to be higher for a child.
Practically no one has the resources to pay seven-figure bills—the amounts are mind-boggling—and not everyone carries health insurance that might defray some of the costs. However, if recklessness or negligence on the part of another party caused the catastrophic injury, you could seek the following damages:
- Payment of past and future medical bills and costs
- Costs of ongoing rehabilitative and therapeutic expenses
- Costs of ongoing home care
- Costs of home and vehicle modifications
- Loss of future earnings capacity
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
If a child’s catastrophic injury resulted in death, the child’s beneficiaries may be able to pursue compensation in a wrongful death suit. Monetary damages in Indiana are not capped for child wrongful death cases under the state’s Child Wrongful Death Act.
At Stephenson Rife, we believe justice matters.
If someone’s negligent or reckless actions have caused injury or death to your child, it is your right to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, but it is critical to have a knowledgeable and trustworthy legal professional representing you. We suggest you talk with the child injury lawyers at Stephenson Rife. Both Mike Stephenson, with his more than three decades of experience, and Brady Rife, with his diverse experience in personal injury litigation, will commit the highest standards of client care to your case.
Let our Indianapolis child injury lawyers fight for you. The resources of Stephenson Rife can be your means of achieving justice when your child is the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness. What is your next step? You can start now by calling Mike or Brady, or you can use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.