Special Considerations in Litigating Pediatric Injury Claims

Children can suffer serious orthopaedic and brain injuries through the fault or negligence of others in a variety of ways including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Daycare and summer camp negligence
  • Sporting and recreational negligence
  • Cycling and pedestrian accidents
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In Ontario, there are complex requirements and restrictions in place to handle litigation where children are plaintiffs. Not only do children require litigation guardians, but courts are also required to ensure that any settlement is made in the best interests of the children involved. It takes knowledgeable lawyers who understand these special challenges and restrictions to ensure your child receives the compensation he or she deserves.

If your child has been harmed, you can rely on us to protect their future.

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If Your Child has been Harmed, You can Rely on Us to Protect Their Future.

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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Despite regular use of proper car seats and restraint systems, motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of injuries to children in Canada.  When a pediatric injury has occurred in a motor vehicle accident, you may pursue a personal injury claim for financial compensation against the at-fault party, called “damages.”  Financial compensation may be necessary to pay for the care that the child will need in order to maximize recovery from injury.

If your child has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you need a personal injury lawyer who is committed to representing their best interests and ensuring that your child gets the compensation necessary for their recovery.

Daycare and Summer Camp Negligence

Summer camps and daycares are a great way to keep your child active, engaged, and most importantly, supervised by a responsible team of people. Parents who leave their children in the care of teachers, camp counselors, and recreation leaders, trust them with the responsibility of protecting their children and exercising the highest degree of caution. Unfortunately, daycare and summer camp accidents can occur and result in serious injuries to children.

Common types of injuries that can occur during daycare and summer camp include:

  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Spinal Cord injuries
  • Choking
  • Drowning
  • Heatstroke

If a child is severely injured as a result of the negligence of a daycare or camp employee, the responsible parties will be required to compensate the child for their injuries and losses.

If recreational or childcare facilities have failed to meet the proper standard of care for your child, and your child sustains an injury, you should contact one of the personal injury lawyers from McLeish Orlando for a free evaluation of the case.

Sporting and Recreational Negligence

Involvement in organized sports can be an important aspect of a child’s life, however, participation in sports can sometimes lead to child injury. Children involved in competitive sports routinely sustain minor injuries such as sprains and bruises, but there are risks of more serious and permanent injuries such as traumatic brain injury, fractures, and spinal cord injuries.

Having a personal injury lawyer with experience litigating sporting and recreational negligence claims is essential. When pursuing a claim for damages for injuries suffered in a recreational sport, the lawyer you hire will have to prove that the injury to the child was caused by the negligent act of a participant or the negligent supervision of the activity and was not as a result of a normal and accepted risk inherent in the activity.  Marshalling all of the available evidence as soon as possible will give you the best chance for success in the case.

Cycling and Pedestrian Accidents

Injuries to children suffered as a result of a cycling incident occur far too often.  Cyclists are in danger of serious head and orthopaedic injuries when involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.  Likewise, the injuries suffered by a child struck by a car as a pedestrian can be devastating.  Proper precautions must be taken when children are cycling, including wearing a properly fitted helmet, ensuring the bicycle’s brakes are in working order and having reflectors on the bicycle to increase visibility. As a pedestrian, children need to be aware of their surroundings when crossing the street.

Despite children obeying the rules of the road as a pedestrian and cyclist, they can be injured as a result of the negligence of a motorist who is drunk, distracted, driving erratically, speeding, or simply not keeping a proper look out.  If your child has been injured, speaking to one of McLeish Orlando’s personal injury lawyers with experience in cycling and pedestrian accidents will enable you to understand your child’s rights.

Procedural Considerations

Unlike adults, children are not permitted to start a lawsuit in Ontario.  An adult must agree to act as the minor’s litigation guardian by signing an affidavit indicating agreement to act in the child’s best interests and swearing that they have no adverse interest to the child.  The litigation guardian provides instructions to the personal injury lawyer representing the minor.  While the general time limit for starting a personal injury case in Ontario is two years from the date of the incident, this time limit does not begin to run for a child until they have reached the age of eighteen or until a litigation guardian has been appointed.  Lastly, any settlement of a claim of a minor is not binding until it has been approved by a Judge who must determine if the settlement is adequate in the circumstances and serves the best interests of the child.

Considerations in Proving Damages

As a general rule, the recovery period for traumatic injuries lasts for 18-24 months.  It’s after this period of time that a physician will provide a prognosis for the future with respect to the impact that the injury is likely to have on a person’s ability to function in their home and work settings and provide an opinion regarding the cost of care associated with the injury in the future.  This general rule typically does not apply to cases involving pediatric brain injury, other neurological injuries, or serious orthopedic injuries.  Depending on the age of the child, a pediatric neurologist or orthopaedic surgeon may indicate that they will not be able to provide a prognosis for the future until some later period of time.  They may have to wait to provide an opinion  on the future impact of the injury while the child progresses through the normal developmental milestones.  Our experienced pediatric injury lawyers have worked with children who had seemingly recovered from a traumatic brain injury only later to show signs of impairment as their academic demands increased.  A cautious approach is always warranted, particularly when dealing with pediatric brain injury cases.

Why Choose McLeish Orlando’s Paediatric Injury Lawyers?

Proving damages in pediatric brain and orthopaedic injury cases pose unique challenges.  Unlike many adult clients, pediatric clients have not settled into a career path and oftentimes have yet to reveal their academic potential.  Our experienced pediatric injury lawyers will gather all available evidence including pre-accident interests and aptitudes, academic and social achievements, and parental and sibling education and vocational achievements.  We will also retain highly qualified experts such as pediatric neurologists and psychoeducational consultants who will provide us with an opinion of a person’s likely pre-accident educational path as compared to the path they will take following their injury.  Likewise, we retain experts that will provide an opinion on the likely impact of the injuries on the child’s ability to perform in a competitive workplace following their education.

McLeish Orlando lawyers are passionate advocates for children and their families.  They work together to ensure the child recovers to the fullest extent possible, obtains fair compensation,  and goes on to lead an optimal life. Call our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.

 

 

Paediatric Injury FAQs

When should a parent/guardian file for a child injury claim?

Under the Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 1.03), a child under the age of 18 is considered to be a party under disability, and therefore must be represented by a litigation guardian in a civil proceeding (Rule 7.01). When a child under the age of 18 wishes to file an injury claim, a parent, guardian, or any person who is not under disability can be appointed as the litigation guardian. The role of the litigation guardian is to diligently attend to the interests of the child and to take all steps necessary for the protection of those interests. If your child has suffered a serious personal injury due to the negligence of another party, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss the process of becoming a litigation guardian and advancing your child’s claim.

What is the timeline to file a child injury claim?

A personal injury lawsuit typically needs to be commenced within 2 years from when the incident occurred, pursuant to the Ontario Limitations Act, 2002. However, the limitation period for minors does not start running until the child has reached the age of 18 or until a litigation guardian has been appointed. With that said, it is still best practice to contact a personal injury lawyer right away following an incident where a minor is injured.

Can I sue if my child gets hurt at daycare?

The short answer is yes. If your child has been injured at daycare, you and your child may be entitled to compensation. A daycare provider owes a duty to a child in their care to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the child.  Additionally, in the Occupier’s Liability Act, property owners and those having responsibility for and control over the condition of the property are legally responsible for ensuring the property is reasonably safe for those using it – including children at a daycare. The Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 further provides minimum standards that licensed daycares are required to meet, as well as minimum staff-to-child ratios to ensure adequate supervision. Contact our office today for a free consultation if your child has suffered a serious injury at daycare.

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If you or your loved one has suffered from paediatric injury, as a result of the negligence of another person, please contact McLeish Orlando’s team of personal injury lawyers on our toll-free number for a free consultation.

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