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It is one of the worst scenarios a parent can imagine: Someone else’s carelessness or recklessness injured your child. The injuries are serious and perhaps even likely to produce permanent disabilities that will affect your child for the rest of their lives.
You have other pressing questions, such as how to pay for the medical expenses associated with the injury and the enormous impacts your child has faced or will likely face on their quality of life.
In Bakersfield, there are many things for children to do. Unfortunately, there are many ways for them to get hurt, as well. If your child has suffered an injury in Bakersfield, you should be aware that they can’t file a claim until they reach 18 years old.
However, you have two options for obtaining compensation:
Read on for more information about childhood injuries and to obtain answers to general questions about seeking compensation for a child’s injury. For answers to the questions you have about your specific case, The May Firm will gladly provide a free case evaluation with a Bakersfield child injury lawyer who can let you know more about how we can assist you with your claim.
Known for the home-like atmosphere at our firm and a commitment to helping clients even with the most difficult cases, our award-winning attorneys have garnered tens of millions of dollars worth of settlements and court awards. While we cannot guarantee a result, we can promise to work hard and apply our experience to every case we take. Contact The May Firm today to see what we can do for you.
At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we had bicycle and Christmas tree giveaway’s dedicated for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.
We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us.
Motor vehicle accidents are the biggest cause of childhood deaths from injury in Bakersfield, where more than a dozen children are killed in traffic-related accidents each year. For every one of these deaths, dozens of more children suffer serious or even permanent injuries. A large portion of the traffic-related accidents resulting in the deaths or injuries of children involve children who were pedestrians or bicyclists at the time of the accident.
Homicide is the second-leading cause of childhood deaths from injury in Bakersfield, resulting in around six deaths a year. Hundreds of more children are injured in Bakersfield by intentional acts such as child abuse or bullying.
Other common causes of childhood injuries that can lead to disabilities or even death include:
Contrary to popular belief, children do not necessarily recover better or more quickly from injuries than adults do. Instead, it often takes years to determine the true impact of the injuries as the child continues to grow and develop.
Some of the common types of injuries to be incurred by children in Bakersfield include:
Children in California are not permitted to file lawsuits until they reach the age of majority. If you decide to file a claim on your child’s behalf and wind up accepting a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster, that the settlement will not go into effect without court review and the appointment of a guardian ad litem (an individual who ensures that the settlement contract is in the child’s best interests).
The act of settling a minor’s claim is called the compromise of a minor’s claim. Those who have a right to file a compromise of a minor’s claim include either parent if both parents live with the minor, the parent having legal custody of the child, or the guardian ad litem appointed by the court to ensure that its actions are in the minor’s best interest.
Among the other provisions of the settlement, settlement agreements made on behalf of a minor child generally must include provisions for an account to deposit the compensation.
Options include a blocked account for the money until the child turns 18, and only a court order can grant early access to the funds; a special needs trust which can provide funds for a permanently injured child without risking the compensation they can receive as an adult from Social Security Disability; or a more flexible settlement trust to hold the money until the child reaches the age of majority.
Very rarely are settlement funds distributed directly to the child’s guardian or caretaker, and this is generally only an option if the settlement amount is less than $20,000.
Few things in life are as emotionally distressing to a parent as seeing their child become injured. The legal team at The May Firm wants you to know that help is available for you and your child, even if you do not have the money to afford to hire an attorney. We work off a contingent-fee billing method that allows you to withhold payment for our services until there has been a positive outcome to your claim. Read on for the answers to general questions about the process of obtaining compensation for child injuries in Bakersfield, and contact us for a free case evaluation to learn more about this process.
Suffering a personal injury because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness is a very distressing event for most people. Even more distressing is having your child injured by negligence. Here are answers to questions that we commonly receive from our Bakersfield clients about child injury claims.
Yes, filing a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf within the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one of the ways of addressing compensation for child injuries in California. However, you should be aware that to obtain an out-of-court settlement for your child’s claim, the court must approve the settlement and appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests.
Compensation for a child’s injury usually comes in two parts:
For your child to file a personal injury claim, they must wait until they reach the age of majority, which is 18. At that time, they will usually have two years to file their claim. In other words, if your child wishes to file a personal injury claim, they must do so by their 20th birthday as the two-year statute of limitations is tolled until the child is legally of age to file the claim.
Entering into a settlement agreement on behalf of your child is called the compromise of a minor’s claim. Those who may participate in this process on behalf of the child include both parents if they each reside with the child; the child’s custodial parent or legal guardian; or a guardian ad litem whom the court appointed to determine the best interests of the child.
This process involves submitting a petition to the court for approval of the settlement.
The petition must include the following information:
Where you file this petition depends on whether you filed a lawsuit before settling. You didn’t file a lawsuit, you must file your petition in the county where the minor resides. However, if you filed a lawsuit, you must file the petition at the same courthouse.
Any child injury is cause for concern. However, the most common cause of child injuries in Bakersfield is traffic-related accidents, including accidents where the child was injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle and those involving injuries to a child as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Drivers in California are generally required to operate their motor vehicles safely and legally to protect the safety and property of others. Because children do not have the developmental ability to accurately judge a gap in traffic or understand that it is not safe to chase a ball or other toy into the road, drivers owe children a special duty of care, especially near parks or schools, and to slow down in anticipation of children in these areas who could run out into the road.
Homicide is the second-most common cause of child injury fatalities in Bakersfield, behind only motor vehicles in the frequency of fatal injuries. Homicides involving children are most often the result of child abuse, though injuries are a more common outcome than death. The Kern County Child Protective Services investigates thousands of claims of physical abuse each year.
If child abuse at a daycare injured your child, you can file a claim against the daycare provider or even the company that employs the provider.
Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, children do not recover better from traumatic brain injuries than adults. While it may seem initially that a child has recovered from the injury, it is often impossible to know the long-term impacts of the injury in a child until that child’s brain has reached maturity. At every new phase of development, new deficits can emerge that—without knowing that a brain injury had occurred—the defense could blame on learning disabilities or mental health issues.
The brain tends to develop from the bottom up and the back forward, meaning the frontal lobe—responsible for functions such as reasoning, judgment, and the ability to control behaviors and impulses—is the last part of the brain to develop. If a very young child suffers a frontal lobe injury, it could be years before the effects of the injury fully emerge.
Children who suffer from traumatic brain injuries often require special accommodations at school to assist them in working around the injury. These accommodations can include paying a paraprofessional who can help the child stay organized and provide instructional assistance; the extra time to complete assignments or finish tests; shorter school days or fewer days of attendance at school for the child to cope with fatigue, which is commonly experienced after a brain injury; and the option to take oral tests or tests written in multiple-choice form rather than in essay form; the ability to record lessons to play back later and refresh the child’s memory about the lesson.
Because of the permanent nature of brain damage, deficits incurred by your child’s injury will likely accompany them into adulthood and prevent the child from earning an income or completing personal care tasks independently. Your attorney will help you determine an appropriate level of compensation that can take care of your child’s future needs.
No. The IRS does not consider money obtained in compensation for physical injuries as income and doesn’t tax it. However, if your claim goes to court and you receive an award that includes punitive damages, the IRS can tax that portion of the award.
You should know that if you deducted medical expenses from your child’s injuries on your taxes and the settlement you receive on behalf of your child includes compensation for medical expenses, you must repay the IRS.
No, you cannot.
Having an attorney can be absolutely critical to your ability to recover the maximum compensation for your child. Lawyers spend years obtaining the education and training needed to provide the most effective services to their clients. This education and training take so long because the legal systems in California and the U.S. require complex formalities that the average person would not know and would find very difficult to learn in the limited time provided before settlement negotiations take place or the case goes to trial.
Filing any claim without an attorney means that you will not have the advantage of the attorney’s experience with the process. This lack of experience will not permit you to make errors or take shortcuts.
You will, instead, need to negotiate with insurance adjusters and attorneys, understand the evidence to prove your claim and how to obtain it, understand how to depose witnesses and what information to seek through depositions, how to file the claim and where, and many more overwhelming steps. You must do all of this when you have an injured child at home to care for. The burden is usually even greater for child injury cases, as the settlement must be approved by the court and found to be in the child’s best interest.
If the cost of hiring an attorney makes you reluctant to speak with one and causes you to wonder about filing a claim without one, rest assured that we can answer your legal questions and provide more information at no cost or obligation to you.
Additionally, if we decide to continue working together on your claim, you will not have to pay for your attorney’s services until there has been a positive outcome to your claim.Let a child injury lawyer from The May Firm help you obtain compensation after someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional acts injured your child. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (661) 244-9712.
Clients were rear ended by a utility vehicle.
Judgment for wrongful death of pedestrian struck by motor vehicle.
Wrongful death of pedestrian struck while walking his dog.
Clients were rear ended by a utility vehicle.
Car accident causing a traumatic brain injury resulting in a policy limits settlement prior to filing suit.
Policy limits settlement for clients’ who suffered spinal injuries. No surgeries required. The case settled before suit was filed.
Client was rear-ended resulting in low back injury.
Client rear-ended and suffered neck and low back injuries.
Bike vs. motor vehicle collision resulting in low back injuries. Disputed liability.
Speeding vehicle struck client’s parked car.
For client whose truck struck a tire that had fallen from a defective tire assembly.
Motor vehicle vs. bicycle resulting in death of cyclist. At fault driver was underinsured.
The staff was friendly and very helpful throughout my entire case. Sienna stood out with her great customer service and help. I would recommend The May Firm to anyone looking for a personal injury attorney.
A friendly and professional firm. Always answered questions quickly. Highly recommended to anyone who needs a personal injury lawyer. Extremely satisfied with the outcome.
Robert, Cameron and his staff are great. From day one the expectations were explained and updates were always provided. Robert put me at ease by reassuring me the case would be handled appropriately from beginning to end. I give him and his staff credit for the quick resolve to my case.