Fresno Child Injury Lawyers

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Robert May

Founding Partner

Fresno Child Injury Attorney

 
  • 25 + Years of Experience

    When you hire us, you’re adding unmatched experience to your team, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

  • 99% Win Rate

    Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

  • No Upfront Fees

    We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

An injury suffered by a child can have tragic consequences.

If your child suffers injuries at the hands of a negligent party, the experienced Fresno child injury lawyers at The May Firm can help you and your child receive fair compensation. There are no fees until we win fair compensation for you. Our first consultation on your child’s case is always free.

The May Firm has a long history of winning fair compensation for accident victims in Fresno, ranging from $2.3 million for injuries suffered in a car accident to $450,000 for the death of a bicyclist hit by an underinsured at-fault driver. While individual results never guarantee any future results, we can promise you that we will fight vigorously to see that you and your family receive justice. We negotiate with insurance carriers, investigate an accident’s causes, bring legal cases to court, and more.

Frequent Causes of Injuries to Children

The National Top 40 In fact, unintentional injuries are the single biggest cause of childhood deaths across the United States and in California. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 12,000 deaths of children 19 years of age and less occur each year from accidental injuries. Not only that, but more than 9.2 million children receive medical treatment every year for these types of injuries, including emergency department trips and hospital stays.

Vehicle accidents are by far the largest cause of accidental childhood injuries. Children receive injuries from riding in a car, truck, school bus, or other vehicle that collides with another vehicle or from suffering an accident while riding bicycles or simply walking.

But the many other sources of child injury in Fresno include accidents in schools or homes, with toys or other products that cause injuries, or accidents in places of amusement like swimming pools.

The most frequent causes of child injury are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, between vehicles or between vehicles and pedestrians
  • Suffocation
  • Drowning
  • Poisoning
  • Fires
  • Falls

These are overall results, but variation in causes by age exists. Drowning, for example, is the #1 cause of death when children are between 1 and 4 years old. Suffocation causes two-thirds of deaths if children are less than 1 year old. For children in the span between 5 and 19 years, vehicle accidents are the most likely cause of both injuries and deaths.

These common sources, unfortunately, do not exhaust the potential dangers to children. Children can suffer injuries from fires in a home caused by improper installation or use of or hot water heaters. A dog may bite or maul them. They can suffer sports injuries like concussions due to improper supervision or equipment. A wide variety of products used by children and families might be defective and cause injury.

Any time your child suffers injuries that are not the fault of the child’s actions, you may be eligible to seek compensation from the negligent party. We discuss who is at fault in the next section.

Who Is at Fault for the Injury: A Crucial Question

Child injury law depends on a crucial question: who is at fault for the injury. When a child suffers injuries due to the actions of another person (or a failure to take proper action), or an organization such as a company or school, the person or organization might be deemed negligent. If they are negligent, they are financially responsible for the injuries the negligence caused. (The legal term for financial responsibility is liability.)

People are expected to act with reasonable prudence and safety precautions and not to cause other people harm—both children and adults. A car crash provides a useful example of how negligence works. All drivers are expected to operate their vehicles safely, obey traffic laws, and keep their vehicles in good working order. This is known as the duty of care for all licensed drivers.

A driver who passes improperly and hits another car head-on, for example, has violated the duty of care. That driver is negligent. The driver, therefore, is financially responsible for the injuries.

The duty of care applies to companies that manufacture products, landlords, school districts, supervisors of places where children play (such as swimming pools and parks), caregivers, owners of private homes, and more. Any of these entities who violate a duty of care that a reasonable person or organization would have fulfilled may have exhibited negligence. If they do, they are financially liable.

Receiving Liability Compensation

How do children and their parents or guardians receive liability compensation? (The law terms this damage compensation.) There are several avenues.

The first is to pursue damage compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. This is probably the most frequently used method of pursuing damage compensation.

If you and your child are in a car crash, for example, always exchange insurance information with the other driver. (This is an action that should be taken at any time, whether the other driver is at fault or not or even if you don’t then know who is at fault.)

California is a fault state for car accidents, meaning that injured people can pursue compensation from the at-fault party (rather than their own insurance, as is expected in no-fault states).

The second method is to file a lawsuit.

Note that these two methods are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can begin by filing an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier and move to a lawsuit if the insurance carrier doesn’t settle the claim fairly.

Judges and juries are often more sympathetic and likely to rule in the injured party’s favor than insurance companies. For that reason, the idea of a future lawsuit is often a spur to insurance companies to settle fairly.

These methods are available for all childhood injury cases. If your child is injured by unsafe equipment at school or a swimming pool, for instance, the school district insurance company handles the liability claim (or you can file a lawsuit). If you rent and the property is unsafe for children, your landlord’s insurance may come into play. If your child is injured in someone’s home, their homeowner’s insurance would be involved. If a product injures your child, the manufacturer’s insurance would come into play.

At times, negligent parties may not have insurance or may be underinsured. Talk to your lawyer about cases like these; a lawsuit in court is always an option to get you and your child just compensation.

The Statute of Limitations

Top 40 under 40 If your child is injured, you have from two years of the date of injury to file a lawsuit for damage compensation, by California law. This is called the statute of limitations. After that date, the court will no longer accept a legal filing on the case.

This may sound like a long time. In fact, the best course of action is to file a suit as soon as you know the at-fault party (or when the insurance company has had a reasonable time to settle). Successful court cases require evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, medical evidence of the injuries, or police reports. All forms of evidence can be lost, misplaced, or fade with time. The sooner a case is pursued, the more likely the evidence is to be available and sufficient.

If you are drawing close to the two-year deadline, consult a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s best to call us long before that, however.

What Damage Compensation Can Your Child Receive?

Damage compensation is sought by category, regardless of whether you approach an insurance company or file a lawsuit. You can seek redress in the following categories.

Medical expenses – Injured children (and families) can receive compensation for almost all standard medical treatment, including transportation to an emergency department, emergency treatment, doctor’s office treatment, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, prescription medication, physical therapy, devices such as crutches, and so on.

For some injuries, you may need modifications to your home and/or at-home care. These expenses can be reimbursed via damage compensation claims as well.

If your child needs future medical treatment for the injuries, that can be part of your insurance or legal claim.

Pain and suffering – Damages for physical, mental, and emotional pain.

Wages lost from work – If your child is of an age to work and was earning wages, you may seek damages for wages lost from work due to the injury.

The lifetime value of earnings – At times, serious injuries that result in partial or full disability can affect a child’s ability to earn a livelihood entirely. Compensation in these cases can include the estimated value of the earnings your child could have expected to receive had they not received these injuries.

Specific Causes of Injuries

At times, specific laws apply to specific causes of injuries. We briefly discuss dog bites and criminal behavior below.

Dog bites. Dog bites are, unfortunately, one of the most frequent childhood injuries. Under California law, an owner of a dog that bites anyone is always strictly liable as long as the person was in a public place (such as a park) or legally in a private place (such as a home or yard to which they were invited). That means that you have no duty to prove that the owner was negligent; strict liability means the dog’s owner must compensate you for injuries from a dog bite.

The strict liability rule only applies if the injury is a bite, however. A different set of laws applies to other types of injuries dogs can cause, such as knocking your child off a bicycle.

What happens in the cases of these other types of injuries? While the strict liability dog bite statute won’t apply, other laws may. You can try to prove negligence, by proving that the dog’s owner didn’t take a reasonably prudent person’s care in restraining the dog by a fence or a leash or other barriers.

In addition, if dogs have bitten someone before, California law specifies that the owners need to take prudent steps to “remove any danger” of attacks.

If a dog has bitten a human twice separately (or, in the case of a trained attack animal, one severe bite), and a civil lawsuit is filed against the owner, the court may order the owner to take reasonable steps to protect public safety, by (for example) destroying the dog or sending it to live elsewhere.

If a dog is deemed a dangerous dog, animal control needs to file a petition. (This can occur because of public complaints.) The court may order the owner to keep the dog in a secure location away from children, such as behind a fence or to always be restrained on a leash.

Crimes. Most common child injuries stem from accidents. Unfortunately, however, some stem from crimes, such as abuse or shootings.

These cases are treated differently from accidents and negligent behavior, and in an entirely separate court system. First, the cases are handled in criminal courts, which are different from the civil courts that hear lawsuits.

Second, the state brings charges in a criminal case, rather than the individual injured people. Third, the goal of a criminal case is punishment for the wrong-doer, not financial compensation for the injured.

In some cases, you may pursue child injury compensation if your child is injured in a crime. A criminal charge does not affect your ability to do this, as the goals of the two systems are different. Consult our child injury attorneys today.

If You Need a Child Injury Lawyer in Fresno

At the May Firm, our personal injury lawyers handle child injuries in our local Fresno office. Our first consultation is always free. We can help you investigate who or what caused the injury, negotiate with an insurance company, and file a legal suit. We fight to see that justice is done for the families of Fresno. Contact us today for your free consultation.

If You Want to Talk to a Fresno Child Injury Attorney, We’re Here for You

The May Firm has long experience representing the injured. We offer a free one-hour consultation to discuss your case at your convenience. We can help you with insurance negotiations, gathering evidence, estimating your damages, and investigating the causes of your child’s injury. The most important thing is to get your child’s life back on track, and vigorous pursuit of just damages can provide a crucial ingredient. Contact us today or call us at any time at (559) 385-2090.

Community Involvement

At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we organized bicycle and Christmas tree giveaways 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.

  • Memorial Golf Classic
  • Rodeo
  • Hope
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  • CASA

Where Compassion Meets Experience

We take pride in working hard for each of our valued clients and will help you recover from your injuries and losses, including lost wages, mental anguish, future earning potential, disability or continued health care needs and lost or damaged property.

Our Fresno injury lawyers stay well-informed and up-to-date on all applicable legal changes, so you can be confident that you will always receive relevant, current legal advice.

If you have suffered a personal injury or are a victim of an accident that is not your at fault for, contact our award winning Fresno attorneys 24/7 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also call our Fresno office at 1-(559)-385-2090. Let us be your personal injury and accident advocate.

“My number one goal is to help others. When you step foot into our firm, you’ll be treated like family, period.”
Robert May, Attorney | Founder

Fresno Child Injury FAQs

The May Firm is dedicated to providing justice for Fresno-area children injured due to the negligence of another and their families. If your child suffers an injury, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed. Here, we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we receive and explain how a lawyer can help.

If your child is hurt, get medical attention as quickly as you can. Dial 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room or a doctor’s office.

If you know your child has been in an accident but doesn’t show signs of injury, have them checked out in an emergency room or by a doctor as soon as possible. A car crash, for example, can injure children in ways that are not visible, such as a concussion. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is potentially very serious, but you and your child may never even notice the symptoms, which can include momentary loss of consciousness.

If your child is too young to note symptoms or talk about what they are feeling, be sure that the doctor who sees them is experienced in treating children of that age group.

Don’t try to treat your child at home by assuming their injuries are minor. You need a medical professional to determine what is major and minor.

After the injuries are treated, it’s prudent to seek a lawyer’s attention if the injuries were caused by another person or an organization, such as a landlord or a manufacturer of products.

If your child is hurt, get medical attention as quickly as you can. Dial 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room or a doctor’s office.

If you know your child has been in an accident but doesn’t show signs of injury, have them checked out in an emergency room or by a doctor as soon as possible. A car crash, for example, can injure children in ways that are not visible, such as a concussion. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is potentially very serious, but you and your child may never even notice the symptoms, which can include momentary loss of consciousness.

If your child is too young to note symptoms or talk about what they are feeling, be sure that the doctor who sees them is experienced in treating children of that age group.

Don’t try to treat your child at home by assuming their injuries are minor. You need a medical professional to determine what is major and minor.

After the injuries are treated, it’s prudent to seek a lawyer’s attention if the injuries were caused by another person or an organization, such as a landlord or a manufacturer of products.

It’s not uncommon for families to feel that they are drowning under medical bills, especially if your child’s injuries were severe and if you are not insured.

If another person or organization is at-fault (negligent) for your child’s injuries, you can get reimbursed for medical bills of all types—and you can receive compensation in other categories as well.

The compensable damage categories are as follows.

  • Medical bills and treatment – For emergency department treatment and transport, doctor’s office visits, prescription medication, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, assistive devices, and more. You can also receive reimbursement for at-home car and retrofitting your home for treatment.
  • Wages lost from work – If your child is a teenager, worked, and earned wages, wages lost from work due to the injuries are compensable.
  • The lifetime value of earnings – If a child’s earnings are sufficiently severe to make earning a future livelihood challenging (or not doable), you may seek the lifetime value of earnings that your child could have been expected to earn had they not been injured.
  • Pain and suffering – Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering.

Damage compensation can either be sought via the at-fault party’s insurance company or by filing a lawsuit in civil court.

It’s also possible to start with an insurance claim and move to a legal claim if the insurance company denies the claim or doesn’t offer a reasonable amount.

Tragically, some children die because of injuries sustained. Most information on childhood injuries centers on legal compensation for the injuries, but what is the recourse of loved ones when a child dies?

Family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim for certain types of compensation if they could have filed a lawsuit had the child lived. Parents and siblings, if no parents survive, may file such a claim.

Wrongful death claims enable the parents to seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses and medical bills incurred by the injury. Damages for loss of love, companionship, and affection can also be sought.

We realize that no claim can compensate a family for the loss, but the law does recognize liability and the need for family members to receive economic compensation for financial and emotional losses.

Folks may be almost afraid to approach a child injury lawyer because they fear it will cost too much. But rest assured on that score. You will see no fees unless we at the May Firm win your case.

It’s simple. We work on a contingency basis. We are paid out of the eventual payment of compensation for injuries to you, whether it’s an insurance claim settlement or a legal victory. We take a certain percentage as a contingency fee.

If you do not receive a settlement of a claim or a legal victory, you owe us nothing. Not even one red cent.

For that reason, it pays you to consult us about your case. There are many ways in which you could end up receiving less than the injury is worth if you don’t consult a lawyer.

We also offer a completely free initial meeting to discuss your case. At that point, we will ask you what happened, who or what you feel is responsible for your child’s injuries, and how the injuries impact your child and your family.

After the meeting, we will give you an opinion about whether you have a legal case.

What happens at the initial meeting? A lawyer needs to know what happened and what the precipitating event caused in terms of effects on your child’s life and yours. Anything that contributes to that understanding is helpful.

You should put together notes to discuss your case. If you have them, police reports, pictures of the injuries, pictures of an accident scene if it was an accident, eyewitness statements, and contacts if available can all be helpful. Doctor’s diagnoses and records are also helpful. If these aren’t immediately available, a lawyer can help you obtain them.

Here’s a brief rundown of what our lawyers can do.

Conduct insurance company negotiations. The first stop for many families whose child has received injuries is an insurance company.

You may think it only fair that an insurance company is your only stop. Unfortunately, insurance carriers often don’t work for the best interest of injured parties. They can ultimately simply be a source of stress and annoyance.

Why? Because insurance carriers exist to earn a profit. In their world, paying out an insurance claim decreases potential profit. Thus, they don’t want to do it!

Insurance adjusters are actually trained in how to deny and minimize claims. It may seem unbelievable that they are actually trained to make children and families suffer unnecessarily, but that’s the net effect.

Let’s say that you don’t have the paperwork for your child’s medical visits—or didn’t take them to the doctor initially. Insurance adjusters are trained to make the lack of documentation or the lack of medical visits seem like your child was not injured as you say, or not as seriously as you say. After all, if the injuries were serious, you’d take them to the doctor, right?

Or let’s say you have a lot of medical bills and don’t make a lot of money. Insurance adjusters are trained to make you a low offer almost right off the bat. Sounds incredibly good, right? It does, until you realize that the claim is far, far below what your child’s injuries should have received. They know the claim payout will be good news and are preying on that.

Other techniques are to simply take forever to process the claim and not return your e-mails or phone calls. They are hoping you’ll become too discouraged to pursue it further.

A lawyer is familiar with the mindset of the insurance companies. They are far more apt to negotiate successfully for a fair settlement.

Crucially, they can also take your case to court if the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair claim. The court case will be heard by judges and juries, who are both notoriously more sympathetic to injured people than insurance companies are. Insurance companies don’t want a court case, because they see it as a potential money-loser. They are more apt to settle fairly with a court case in the offing.

Investigating causes. Another common insurance technique is to dispute who caused the injury to your child. They don’t deny the injury, they just deny that their insured caused it. They may name another at-fault party, blame you or your child, or just deny responsibility without naming anyone else.

In these cases, it can really help to have someone on your side investigate the causes in an impartial way.

You and your child may both receive injuries in accidents—such as car accidents—in which you’re not sure who or what caused it because the accident knocked you unconscious.

Lawyers often work with investigative teams that specialize in finding out how an accident occurred. They pull surveillance footage, talk to eyewitnesses, talk to the police (if there were police involved), and can even reconstruct similar events to find out what happens.

Estimate your losses. One of the most stressful parts of going to an insurance company or filing a lawsuit can be estimating your total losses.

You may not have received or kept medical or other paperwork. If your child needs future medical attention, it is almost impossible to estimate the costs. If your child deserves a lifetime value of earnings, it is almost impossible to estimate that amount.

That’s to say nothing of pain and suffering. How can you know what pain and suffering damages to ask for?

A lawyer can help with all these issues.

First, they can add together existing bills. Bills are often the basis for medical damage claims. If they need to call hospitals or doctor’s offices to receive and track down bills, they do.

Second, they can work with medical professionals to estimate likely future medical charges. These are arrived at by ascertaining standard treatment. Then, they forecast the estimated duration of treatment. Some medical treatment is over within a month; some medical treatment may last the rest of your child’s life.

Then, they estimate the costs of that treatment and multiple it by the duration.

For earnings, they consult established professionals who work with average livelihood costs. Estimating these types of damages requires professional expertise.

Pain and suffering damages are arrived at by establishing the expected impact and duration of the injuries on a person’s life. The pain and suffering of someone who will need life-long care are universally agreed to be much more severe than that of someone whose injuries are more minor and which will heal relatively quickly.

Gathering evidence. Evidence is needed to establish what happened and the extent of your child’s injuries.

But you may not have much evidence to begin with. People in car and other vehicle accidents, for example, should report it and receive a police report from law enforcement. But you may not have received a police report or have kept it.

Lawyers’ teams know how to gather evidence. If you were in a vehicle accident and don’t have a record of it, they can pull one from the state. They can see if surveillance footage shows the accident or if eyewitnesses took video or pictures. They can track down and interview eyewitnesses.

Lawyers’ teams can also make sure that they have all medical records, including diagnoses, evidence of (and pictures of) the injuries, and medical feedback on expected consequences of the injuries.

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