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San Diego Child Injury Attorney

Most people would rather endure suffering than watch a child feel pain. Parents, family members, guardians, and others who must watch a child cope with a serious injury might find themselves full of anger when they find out the injury was preventable. Whether the injury was intentional or accidental, the outcome is the same. You face medical expenses and you have to take time away from work to care for your child.

California law allows you to take action against those who have harmed your child. A lawsuit will not turn back the clock, but a verdict in your favor or a settlement can help you afford the medical treatment your child needs and alleviate some or all of the financial burden caused by your child’s injury.

If you live in the San Diego area, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Gomez Law Firm at (619) 237-3490 for a free case review to discuss the circumstances surrounding your child’s injury.

The Gomez Law Firms Fight for Children

At The Gomez Law Firm, our award-winning legal team empathizes with the devastation and tragedy of child injuries. We have more than 20 years of experience helping parents and guardians recover damages after a severe accident or event that led to serious injuries to their child.

The firm’s passionate dedication to seeking justice and advocating for injured children has led to the recovery of millions in compensation for clients. Some recent case examples include a $1 million settlement for daycare negligence, a $1,250,000 verdict in a school sexual abuse case, and a $5 million settlement for a bicycle accident.

These results do not guarantee an outcome for your case because circumstances vary, but the skilled child injury attorneys at The Gomez Law Firm will build the strongest case possible against the defense and aggressively pursue the best outcome for you and your family

We Represent Multiple Types of Child Injury Cases

Children can suffer injuries in many ways, and are often more vulnerable than adults. Kids are resilient, but severe accidents can occur, and nefarious persons might cause a child intentional harm. Although we can represent you in any type of child injury case, below are some of the more common child injury cases that we handle:

Even when babies and young children are secure in a car seat or booster seat, they still are more vulnerable to injuries than an adult when a car accident occurs. Additionally, safety features adults depend on to protect them from injuries, such as seat belts and airbags, can injure a child. The small frames and lighter weight of children put them at increased risk for common car accident injuries such as whiplash and concussions.

The human brain is not completely developed until after age 20, so even a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause developmental issues that parents or victims might not notice for months or years after an accident. When another party causes a car accident that injures your child, a California court might find them responsible for losses related to the injury.

  • School Bus Accidents

Riding a school bus is generally the safest way for your children to go to and from school. Even so, accidents and injuries still happen. Buses may not come with airbags or seatbelts, and drivers need to contend with extraordinary distractions that could result in serious injuries. If that happens to your child, call our team to see if we can help you recover damages.

  • Bicycle Accidents

California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports 29 traffic accidents in San Diego involving bicyclists under age 15 in their most recent yearly data. Southern California’s pleasant climate makes cycling a fun activity for all ages, but especially young children for whom riding bikes is a major milestone in their life. Even with all of its health benefits, cycling carries risks.

Drivers have a legal duty to others on the road to drive safely and with caution; this duty extends to children riding their bicycles. Distracted or careless drivers can cause a bike accident, forcing a child victim to cope with severe injuries if they live through the accident.

  • Birth Injuries

Childbirth is supposed to be a joyous time for new parents, but a birth injury can quickly impede precious memories. Some birth injuries naturally occur with little or no explanation, but others are a result of negligence or medical malpractice. When doctors fail to diagnose critical conditions during pregnancy, or give a misdiagnosis, newborns are in danger of injury that can lead to lifelong health issues. Similarly, doctors who incorrectly use birthing tools and don’t properly monitor the fetus during childbirth can also lead to severe injuries.

Sometimes birth injuries are immediately apparent, other times parents might not notice symptoms until their infant misses a major developmental milestone. If you suspect your baby or toddler suffered a birth injury, one of our San Diego child injury attorneys can help you file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and/or hospital who caused your child harm.

  • Playground Injuries

San Diego’s warm and sunny weather throughout the year gives children plenty of time to play at the park. Those tasked with maintaining playground equipment at San Diego’s public and private parks have a duty to keep the area safe for visitors, including children. When they fail, your children risk serious, sometimes fatal, injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 200,000 children under 14 years old receive treatment for playground injuries each year. This includes the ten percent who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Most playground injuries are broken bones, abrasions, and contusions, which can heal pretty quickly. When poorly maintained playground equipment or unkempt park areas lead to your child’s injury, a California court might find property owners financial liable for injuries.

  • Toy-Related Injuries

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), children across the United States suffer more than 250,000 injuries each year because of toys. Approximately three-fourths of those injuries happen to those under age 15. The CPSC reports the most dangerous toys as non-motorized scooters. Kids play and roughhouse and regularly hurt themselves with toys, but if your child has sustained serious injuries from a defective toy, contact an experienced child injury attorney as soon as possible.

Toys can be defective because of poor design or poor construction. Additionally, toy manufacturers have a responsibility to warn consumers about the dangerous aspects of a particular product. If your attorney proves your child’s toy was defective or the manufacturer failed to warn you of information about hazards, a California court might hold the company strictly liable for damages related to your child’s injury.

  • Swimming Pool Accidents

Whether public or private, San Diego has swimming pools galore. The CPSC reports about 150 children under age 15 drown in swimming pools during the summer months. This doesn’t take into account those who are injured in other ways around the pool, those who were saved before drowning, and any accidents during the other nine months of the year. Swimming is great exercise and a fun activity that allows children to expend some energy, but swimming pools can be deadly for small children.

Over 60 percent of all drownings resulting in the death of those under age four occur in swimming pools. Pool owners have a legal obligation to maintain safety, and when they fail, children suffer. Poorly maintained pools, lack of barrier fencing, slippery concrete, and broken pool features can lead to severe injuries. Pool owners must also protect children who trespass from accidentally falling into their pool and drowning or suffering injuries.

  • Dog Bites

Aggressive and territorial dogs can attack anyone, but children are especially at risk. Young children aren’t always aware of the risk of approaching a strange dog, and their smaller stature puts them closer to a dog’s height. This means bites and attacks can not only be deadly, but a dog might bite a child’s face, leaving permanent scars or disfigurement.

A recent 13-year study of fatal dog bite attacks across the U.S. revealed California had the second most fatal dog bite attacks among all states.About half of all attacks were experienced by those under age nine and little more than one-fourth of all attacks involved those under age two. When people keep dangerous animals or don’t properly leash their dogs, children can suffer severe dog bite injuries that often carry emotional trauma that stays with a child for life.

  • Sports Injuries

Older, school-aged children are especially vulnerable to injuries from playing sports in school or after school. According to the CDC, over 2.6 million children visit emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. Football, boxing, hockey, and other full-contact sports typically lead to the most severe sports injuries. Full-contact sports can lead to one or more concussions for participants. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that heals on its own pretty quickly. Yet, children who suffer repeated concussions risk permanent brain damage leading to lifelong struggles with brain function.

Many schools require parents to sign waivers for their children to participate in sports, so you might think you have no options if your child has suffered a sports injury. Even if you signed a waiver, you still might be entitled to take legal action. Consult with a child injury lawyer as soon as possible, so he or she can evaluate your case and help devise the best plan for you and your child.

  • Daycare Negligence, Abuse, and Neglect

Working is a reality for most families, and not every child is fortunate enough to have mom or dad stay home with them during their toddler years. This means daycare is also a reality. The vast majority of daycare providers are kind, loving people who love children and provide exceptional care. Yet, accidents happen, and some daycare providers are abusive and neglectful. When you trust someone to care for your child, and they intentionally harm them, it will likely incite rage.

In addition to getting law enforcement involved and pushing for criminal charges, you also have recourse for child abuse and neglect in California civil court. Daycare child abuse and neglect cover a wide range of actions or inactions that can harm your child, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, malnutrition, confinement, and lack of proper supervision. Let an experienced child injury lawyer advocate for you and your child while you help your child cope with the physical and mental trauma of their injury.

San Diego Child Injury FAQs

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: Your child is seriously injured. On top of the trauma of seeing your child go through the pain and hardship of the experience, expenses are mounting and you might even need to take a second job to pay for everything while also trying to be with your injured child as much as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death for children younger than 19. More than 12,000 U.S. children die annually from unintentional injuries and 9.2 million more obtain treatment in hospital emergency departments.

If your child is injured in San Diego, you have recourse to cover the expenses and impacts of the injury. However, the process of obtaining this compensation is somewhat different than in other cases. Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get at Gomez Trial Attorneys about San Diego child injury cases.

What are the most common causes of child injuries in San Diego?

Some of the more common causes of childhood injury include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are the overall leading cause of death for children under 19 years old. Children, with their developing and more vulnerable bodies, often sustain life-changing injuries in accidents, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The motor vehicle accident injury rate is highest for teens, as this age group features beginning drivers who lack experience and are prone to driving distractions. The risk of teenage motor vehicle accidents increases substantially with the addition of each teenage passenger to the vehicle.
  • Bicycle/ pedestrian accidents: Children are all about San Diego roads, riding their bikes, walking to school, and playing with friends. Unfortunately, some children are hit by negligent motorists. Motorists have a higher duty of care when it comes to driving around children. Drivers are expected to slow down and be particularly cautious when driving in areas where children are known to be, such as near schools, parks, or in residential neighborhoods. Children are often less aware of risks in traveling a road, such as on their bicycles, and have a lesser-understanding of rules and rights-of-way. Children often have difficulty judging distances, the time needed for vehicles to come to stops, etc.
  • Dangerous property features: San Diego children may be injured when exploring things on others’ property that spark their curiosity, like swimming pools. California, like many other states, had an attractive nuisance law until recently. Attractive nuisance laws make property owners legally responsible for properly securing features that could spark a child’s curiosity and cause injury. Common features that fall under this law include swimming pools, abandoned vehicles, ponds, or trampolines. California no longer places a burden on property owners to determine if their property contains features that could lure and harm a child. Instead, the state places a general burden on the property owner to keep his or her property free of hazards.
  • Negligent security: San Diego children might also be injured due to negligent security of a property. Property owners or managers of properties must keep their properties free from hazards, including security risks. Negligent security occurs when a property owner or manager fails to keep visitors safe from security risks that are known or should have been known to exist in the area. A child who is abducted or attacked at an amusement park like Belmont Park or SeaWorld San Diego is an example of negligent security by the owners who must keep their child patrons safe from crime.
  • Drowning: While we all love to cool off in the water in San Diego, this activity sometimes leads to drowning, especially for younger children and infants. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury and death in children ages 1-4. Children who are saved from death by drowning often suffer a severe form of TBI known as anoxic brain injury. Anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation lasting several minutes causes brain cells to begin dying, leading to severe disability.
  • Fire: In our warm, dry climate, San Diego experiences fires, often in homes where the flames can spread quickly and injure children. The majority of fires causing injury or death to children are residential fires. Most injuries to children in fires are caused by inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, rather than contact with flames.

Who is liable in a San Diego child injury case?

The list of persons or entities that are potentially liable for an injury to a child in a San Diego accident is broad and often includes multiple parties. Liability, or legal responsibility, is dependent on the unique facts of a case.

However, liable actors in child injury cases often include:

  • School or daycare staff, including teachers, volunteers, office assistants, or bus drivers.
  • Sports coaches or leaders of extracurricular groups
  • Pediatric care providers.
  • The manufacturers or distributors of items made for children, such as toys, clothing, bedding, or playground equipment that caused injury to a child due to defects in design, manufacturing, or packaging.
  • The owner of a property where your child was a guest that contained a hazardous feature that resulted in an injury.
  • Negligent or reckless motorists.

How do I obtain compensation for my child’s injury in San Diego?

As with other cases in San Diego, if your child’s injury was the result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct, you can pursue compensation for the expenses related to the injury and the impacts the injury has had on your child’s quality of life.

However, the process of filing a lawsuit when a case involves a child differs in certain ways, such as:

  • Children under the age of 18 in San Diego have “legal disability” and cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf. To recover compensation for your child, you must file the San Diego child injury lawsuit on their behalf.
  • The statute of limitations in San Diego is generally two years. However, in cases involving a child victim, the deadline to file the lawsuit is generally “tolled” or paused until the child turns 18. The statute of limitations differs for child medical malpractice claims.
  • If a San Diego child injury case settles out of court, a judge must approve the settlement.

What compensation is available in a San Diego child injury case?

Some of the common forms of compensation in adult injury cases, such as lost wages, do not apply to child injury cases. A child can, however, obtain compensation for the non-economic impacts of the injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disability, and loss of the enjoyment of life.

Parents, being legally responsible for a child’s medical expenses, can also file a claim against a responsible party, seeking compensation for medical and other expenses incurred to provide emergency care and treatment for a child. Other kinds of compensation, such as lost wages, might also be available to parents, for any expenses or harms that resulted from the child’s injury.

What is a blocked account in a San Diego child injury case?

When a child receives a settlement or court award in San Diego, the funds often go not directly to the child or the parents but, instead, in a blocked account. A court order opens the blocked account and only a court order can withdraw them Generally, the money held in the account can go to the child as soon as they turn 18.

While blocked accounts are a common way to deal with the proceeds from a child’s settlement or award until they are old enough to take control of the funds, alternatives include:

  • Issuing funds to a guardian or conservator for the benefit of the child.
  • Transferring funds to a special needs trust for the child, for cases where an accident leaves a child with a severe disability, like those often resulting from TBI.
  • Transferring funds to a general trust, to be disbursed when the minor turns 18.
  • If the funds are less than $5,000, paid to a custodial parent in a trust until the child turns 18.

Will my child’s case go to court and will they have to testify?

The majority of San Diego child injury cases resolve outside the courtroom. The chances are that your child’s case will be too. However, there is a chance that a defendant will fail to offer a fair settlement, requiring you to take the case all the way to trial. For this reason, it is important to know that the San Diego child injury attorney you hire is equipped not only to engage in settlement talks but also, if necessary, prepare for a trial and deliver top-quality representation in court.

While a child need not necessarily testify, the court may permit them to, and your attorney may advise you to have them take the stand if it will be advantageous to winning your case. When a child testifies, San Diego judges ensure that they are treated with respect by both sides’ counsel, and not treated in the aggressive, adversarial way as adult plaintiffs often are.

What is a minor’s compromise action?

As previously stated, children cannot file lawsuits on their own in California. They cannot choose to settle a lawsuit brought on their behalf either. They will need to be represented by a Guardian Ad Litem – an adult who acts in the best interest of the child.  This is usually the parent or guardian, and this person works with the child injury attorney on the child’s behalf.  In the settlement of a San Diego child injury case, once both sides have agreed to the settlement terms, a petition for approval of Minor’s Compromise must be filed with the court. This allows the judge to set a hearing to review the settlement and ensure that the child’s best interests are represented in the settlement. It also allows the court to oversee the disbursement of the funds and to require protection of those funds for the child’s benefit.

A child’s parent, guardian, guardian ad litem, or conservator will generally complete the Minor’s Compromise Action petition.

The petition must include:

  • The name, date of birth, address, and age of the minor.
  • The petitioner’s relationship to the minor.
  • A description of the nature of the claim, including whether the action was the result of a pending action that has been filed.
  • A description of the incident that precipitated the claim, including date, time, place, and persons involved.
  • A description of the minor’s injuries and the treatments that the minor has received for that treatment.
  • A detailed description of the extent of the minor’s injuries and recovery, including doctor’s reports on diagnosis and prognosis.
  • A description of the settlement, including the total amount offered and a breakdown of the contributions from each named defendant.
  • Any settlement payments that are to be made to others, such as a payment for medical expenses for the child’s parents.

My teenager was injured in a car accident in San Diego that was caused by her friend, who is also a minor. Who is liable?

If your daughter’s friend is also a minor, then her parents will be responsible for the injuries to your daughter if they have not named their teen driver on their insurance policy. If they did put their daughter’s name on the policy, then the insurance carrier should be responsible for paying the claim.

What type of lawyer do I need to help me with my child’s injury case in San Diego?

If your child has suffered a serious injury in San Diego, having a local attorney with experience in child injury cases is important. Child injury cases are not only emotionally draining, but especially complex. The experienced child injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys understand not only the pain that parents experience in these cases but have the expertise to recover the compensation a child needs to move on and adjust to their life going forward.

For a free case evaluation, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys online or call us today.

Contact The Gomez Law Firm in San Diego After Your Child Suffers an Injury

Seeing your child suffer in the wake of an accidental or intentional injury can easily be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. Knowing the injury was preventable makes matters worse. At The Gomez Law Firm, we understand the challenges you might face and we are here to advocate for you and your child.

Our skilled legal team can investigate your child’s injury to seek justice and hold liable parties accountable for their actions. In the event of a settlement or a court verdict in your favor, you might receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages from missing work to care for your child, and for the emotional distress and physical pain your child has experienced.

If your child was injured as a result of another party’s carelessness, negligence, or willful harm, contact us online or by phone at (619) 237-3490 to schedule a free consultation and discuss the details of your child’s injury. The Gomez Law Firm handles personal injury cases, including child injuries, on a contingency fee basis, deducting our attorney fees only from any settlement or court-awarded damages you receive.

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