Medical and Special Considerations

The younger a child is when it suffers a serious injury, the more difficult and complicated a claim for damages can become.  It is well-established that the vast majority of a child’s cognitive development occurs within the earliest years of their life.  That being so, even the most seemingly insignificant interference with this development can have a lasting impact on every aspect of the child’s future development.  Serious injuries will often times have a negative impact on the child’s development both cognitively and physically that may not be readily apparent to the untrained eye.  Physical injuries to the bones and joints of a child can adversely impact growth plates and slow or hinder physical development.  Injuries both mental and physical to the brain and cognitive functions will likewise slow or inhibit the child’s mental developmental progress sometimes to a point of permanent disability.

While some serious injuries to children have open and obvious long term consequences, others are not always so readily apparent.  In these situations, the lack of a well-defined baselines for comparison, of before and after accident abilities, complicates claims made on behalf of seriously injured children.  Adults have presumably reached full development at the time of their injuries and have a baseline for comparison before and after the injury.  The adult or other witness can testify that the injured person could do a specific activity before the accident, but can’t perform that same activity after the accident.  The causal connection is easily made.  This is not always the case for children, especially infants or toddlers who are constantly learning and developing with each passing day.  Any setback in early development can have a significant impact on the child’s future.  A young child simply does not have the distinct baseline and developmental delays or impediments can be considered more speculative if not properly documented and explained.  For this reason a medical and psychological expertise is necessary to not only document and treat the specific injuries but also to be able to explain to insurance companies and ultimately juries, what the child’s future will be like as a result of the injury. 

Special Considerations for Children's Injuries

While at times it may not be simple or convenient to determine, cognitive and physical developmental delays in injured children should not and cannot be minimized or discounted in anyway when a child’s best interest is the controlling consideration.  Many times with these injuries only time will tell what the future prognosis will be.  Patience and thorough evaluation by qualified medical and legal professionals is the only way to go when dealing with serious injuries to children.  You deserve a thorough work-up of the case and more importantly, your child deserves it.  As a result, a quick settlement for serious injuries to children is hardly ever advisable, unless it involves the insurance company settling a claim for the limits of a policy.

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