Our Atlanta child head injury lawyer knows that when a child suffers a skull or brain injury, it can create a lifetime of physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges. As the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) notes, the full consequences may take years to become apparent. This is why it is crucial to ensure the child receives the best medical treatment possible.
If you believe the injury your child has suffered may have resulted from the negligent or wrongful acts of another, it is also critically important that you seek legal advice. An Atlanta child head injury attorney can investigate what happened, determine who, if anyone, should be held responsible, and can seek the just compensation that your child and your family will need moving forward.
If you would like to learn more about the legal steps you can take, contact James M. Poe, P.C. Attorneys Jim Poe and Matt Poe can review your case in a free consultation and help you to understand your rights and the options available to you and your child. Our firm serves Atlanta and areas throughout Georgia.
Why Did Your Child’s Head Injury Occur?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is “the leading cause of disability and death” among children ages 18 and younger, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. According to the CDC, every year, TBI results in:
- 435,000 children requiring an emergency room visit
- 37,000 children needing hospitalization
- 2,685 children suffering death.
Age of Injury
A study recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that a child’s head injury risks change as they grow. The researchers identified the following as the top causes of head trauma in three different age groups:
|Falls from elevation||5,887||54%|
|Falls down stairs||1,533||14%|
|Falls from standing / walking / running||979||9%|
|Falls from elevation||5,653||24%|
|Falls from standing / walking / running||3,189||14%|
|Object struck head – accidental||2,181||9%|
|Occupant in motor vehicle crash||1,659||18%|
Cause of Injury, by Age Group
As a parent, you are concerned about finding out the underlying cause and party responsible for your child’s head injury. The potential answers may vary by age group as well. Consider the following:
- Ages 2-under – Medical mistakes may occur during delivery due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse or midwife. The child may fall or suffer head trauma due to a negligent or abusive babysitter or child care provider or due to a defective crib or “baby gate.”
- Ages 2-12 – School, day care- and playground-ground related head injuries may occur due to defective equipment or negligent supervision. Children in this age group may also be struck by cars while playing or cycling near streets.
- Ages 13-17 – A child may be harmed by “bullying” or suffer a concussion due to improper equipment, lax supervision or careless injury management in a sport or recreational activity. Other injuries in this age group are related to car accidents. A teen may suffer an injury in a crash as a driver or while riding in a car driven by an inexperienced driver, or worse, a driver that is distracted or has been drinking.
An investigation will include accident scene review, interviewing of witnesses and collection of other evidence. It may also include consultation with experts who can provide insights and, perhaps, testimony as to the cause of the head injury and the impact it will have on the young victim’s life.
How Is Your Child’s Head Injury Being Treated?
As the BIAA points out, the signs and symptoms of TBI vary depending on the extent of damage and location of the injury. You should review the BIAA website to get a better idea of what these indicators are – especially if your child is too young to communicate what he or she is feeling.
It is crucial to have your child promptly tested and diagnosed. For instance, a CT scan may reveal that the child is suffering from excessive and potentially life-threatening bleeding in the brain and/or nerve and tissue damage.
A severe injury may require immediate surgery. A mild injury such as a concussion may, at the least, require keeping the child out of activity until it has healed.
A long-term treatment regimen may include a mix of medication, therapy and counseling that help the child adapt to and compensate for physical, cognitive and social challenges. As the BIAA notes, common deficits that child head injury victims face involve “processing information, impaired judgment and reasoning.”
Legal Options for Parents and Children with Head Injuries
If an investigation reveals that a person’s negligent, reckless or intentional conduct caused your child to suffer a serious head injury, an attorney can take steps to pursue legal action on behalf of both your child and you as a parent.
These cases can be complex and involve unique issues. For instance, many people don’t know that there are actually two separate claims involved when dealing with an injury to a child. One claim belongs to the parents, who are entitled to recover damages for past medical care and expenses, as well as any future medical expenses through a child’s 18th birthday.
The child also has a separate claim. The time within which the child’s claim must be asserted varies depending on the type of claim. Most personal injury claims can be brought within two years of the child’s 18th birthday because the two year statute of limitations will not start to run until the child reaches the age of majority.
Child Head Injuries Involving Medical Malpractice
It is important to note, however, that a different rule applies in cases and claims involving injuries resulting from medical malpractice. Medical malpractice injury claims by minors must be brought within 5 years of the date of injury if the child is over the age of 5 at the time of injury. For children under the age of 5, claims must be asserted no later than the child’s 10th birthday. Damages for the child’s medical expenses after age 18, lost earning capacity and/or the child’s loss of future earnings, as well as for the pain and suffering the child has experienced are all included in the child’s claim.
In each case, because there are so many special rules and statutes in place to deal with injuries to children, it is important to have an experienced attorney review the circumstances of a particular claim to make a determination of when a particular claim must be asserted to ensure that any potential claims are preserved, and not permitted to expire without ever being acted upon.
Contact an Atlanta Child Head Injury Lawyer
Attorneys Jim and Matt Poe have many years of experience with helping child injury victims in Atlanta and across Georgia. They will treat your case with the professionalism and compassion that you and your child deserve. To schedule a free consultation, simply call or contact the firm online today.
Sources and More Information
- Epidemiology of Blunt Head Trauma in Children in U.S. Emergency Departments, New England Journal of Medicine
- Children and Brain Injury, Brain Injury Association of America
- Traumatic Brain Injury, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention