As a parent, few experiences are more frightening and upsetting than seeing your child get injured. Your instinct is to run to your child’s side. Sometimes, that’s the right thing to do. Other times, you hold yourself back because you know you have to let your child learn to get back up. But, that parent’s fear never goes away.
It’s the fear of one day being in the situation of some of our clients, whose children have suffered severe, even life-threatening injuries because of someone else’s careless or reckless conduct.
At Boohoff Law, we understand that fear. We’re parents, too. There is nothing we wouldn’t do to keep our kids safe. That is why we consider representing the legal interests of an injured child and the child’s parents to be one of our most important and sacred roles as lawyers.
If your child has suffered a serious injury in the Seattle area because of someone else’s actions, the compassionate, dedicated team of legal Seattle child injury lawyers at Boohoff Law stand ready to help you protect your and your child’s legal rights as best we can. Contact us today to learn more.
Boohoff Law Knows How to Handle Children’s Injuries
Attorney (and mother of two) Tatiana Boohoff founded Boohoff Law more than a decade ago. During that time, she’s developed a hard-won reputation as a skilled personal injury litigator with a commitment to client service. Attorney Boohoff is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, one of the top law schools in the nation. She and her team at Boohoff Law focus their legal practice exclusively on representing plaintiffs in personal injury matters. Their mission is to seek compensation and accountability from those who did their clients harm. Boohoff Law attorneys always fight hard for their clients, but when that client is an injured child, they go above and beyond in the pursuit of justice.
Common Causes of Children’s Injuries
Children sustain injuries in a multitude of ways. Some of those are identical to how adults get injured. Others are somewhat unique to children because of their settings or because of the way children make decisions. There is not enough space on this page to catalog all of the ways a child might get badly hurt, but the following are some of the most common that we see in our practice at Boohoff Law.
Falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls are the single most common cause of non-fatal childhood injuries. They happen everywhere – on the playground, on a sports field, and around the house.
Motor vehicle accidents. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reports motor vehicle crashes resulted in 580 serious injuries on the roads of King County in 2018. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fatal injuries to children, according to the CDC.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Children run a high risk of injury in cycling and pedestrian accidents, because of their relative lack of situational awareness, as compared to adults, when riding bikes and crossing the street.
Attractive nuisances and bodies of water. An attractive nuisance is a property feature that is reasonably likely to draw children to it (such as a pool or trampoline) but which poses a significant hazard for injury. Washington property owners have an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries to children from attractive nuisances, but unfortunately they don’t always meet that obligation.
Defective products. Parents want to be able to trust that toys and other consumer products they give their children are reasonably safe to use. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 13 toy-related deaths, and a stunning 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2017.
Poisoning. Young children, especially, run the risk of accidentally ingesting toxic chemicals contained in consumer products. Manufacturers of those products should take precautions to make them difficult for a child to ingest, but that isn’t always the case.
Overexertion. Children do not have a good sense of when they need to rest or hydrate, which can lead to serious health complications if not monitored by parents, guardians, and caregivers.
Dog bites. Dog bites leave victims of all ages with physical and emotional trauma, but none more so than children. Oftentimes, young children in particular do not know how to recognize the signs of an agitated animal. Dogs may also be more likely to bite a small child in the face.
Of course, this isn’t a complete list, as we mentioned above. Kids get injured in a huge variety of ways. When the cause of a childhood injury is someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, the lawyers at Boohoff Law are ready to help hold those wrongdoers accountable.
Common Children’s Injuries
As varied as the causes of children’s injuries are, so too are the types of injuries children can sustain because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. Because of their size and stage of development, children are especially vulnerable to some injuries in particular. Here is a review of some of the common childhood injuries that bring parents of injured children through our door at Boohoff Law:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI results from the brain damage sustained in a sudden impact, penetrating injury, or deprivation of oxygen. According to Harvard Health, “The most common causes of childhood head injuries in the United States are motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, bicycle accidents and trauma related to sports.”
Suffocation/drowning. Infants and toddlers children have a relatively high risk of suffocation (particularly while sleeping). Children of all ages risk drowning in bodies of water because of a lack of awareness of, or precautions against, water conditions and/or an inability to swim. Suffocation can also accompany anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, such as in response to exposure to peanuts or insect bites.
Burns. Children often sustain burns because of a lack of understanding of the dangers of flames, hot surfaces, chemicals, and electricity. If they’re lucky, children will learn a valuable lesson from getting a small burn. Unfortunately, some children instead suffer severe burns over significant portions of their bodies when they make a careless or innocent decision to come in contact with something hot.
Broken bones. Some might think of a broken bone as a rite of passage in childhood. It’s true, because falls are the single most common cause of nonfatal childhood injuries, broken bones are extremely common, and they may heal. But, sometimes a broken bone in childhood leads to longer-term disabilities.
Lacerations and abrasions. Every child gets cuts and scrapes. Sometimes, those injuries take the more medically-significant form of lacerations (deep, often-uneven cuts) and abrasions (road rash) that require emergency treatment and longer-term care.
Severe dehydration/heat stroke. Because children routinely over-exert themselves, especially during outdoor play, they run a high risk of suffering from dangerous dehydration and overheating. Youth sports coaches, in particular, need to keep a close eye to make sure their young athletes hydrate appropriately. If they don’t, then children can end up in life-threatening condition
Most people survive the bumps and bruises of childhood without much damage. Those who aren’t so lucky, however, carry the scars, impairments, and health complications of these and other childhood injuries with them into adulthood. At Boohoff Law, our mission is to make sure children who suffer severe injuries receive the medical care and financial support they need to live healthy, productive lives.
Common Damages for Children’s Injuries
In Washington, children (usually through parents or guardians acting on their behalf) have the right to take legal action seeking compensatory damages for childhood injuries caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions. The law generally classifies damages into two broad categories: economic (or special) damages, and non-economic (or general) damages.
Economic damages pay for the out-of-pocket costs that accompany a childhood injury, most of which are usually borne by the child’s parents. Those costs often include:
- Un-reimbursed medical bills;
- Chronic or long-term care costs;
- Assistive medical devices;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages from time-off from work caring for a child; and
- Declines in the child’s long-term capacity to earn a living.
Washington, unlike most states, has a provision in its statutes allowing the party with legal liability for economic damages to pay those damages in periodic installments, rather than as a lump-sum.
Non-economic damages pay for the non-out-of-pocket costs of a childhood injury that are more subjective. They may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Damage to personal relationships (a.k.a. loss of consortium/companionship/parent-child relationship); and
- Negative impacts on quality of life.
The most tragic of childhood injuries have been known to lead to massive non-economic damages awards in other jurisdictions. Those awards are not as common in Washington, because Washington law caps non-economic damages at a maximum of 43 percent of the average annual wage in the state (an amount set by law) multiplied by the child’s life expectancy at the time of the injury (which is a minimum of 15 years). Washington law also does not typically allow courts and juries to award punitive (or exemplary) damages, which are also common in other states.
The Statute of Limitations Is Running
Parents can easily feel overwhelmed by a child’s injury. Caring for an injured child takes an enormous emotional toll, and taking time off from work help the child recover can cause significant financial strain. The child absorbs most of the parent’s attention, and that’s how it should be.
Seeking legal advice is often the last thing on the mind of the parent of a child recovering from a serious injury. But, parents should not wait too long before consulting with an experienced Seattle children’s injuries attorney. The more time that passes after someone’s careless or reckless conduct harms a child, the more challenging it can become to recover the compensation to which the child and her family are entitled under Washington law.
For one thing, as time passes, evidence can go missing and witness’s memories can fade. For another, the passage of time can benefit insurance companies whose policyholders may have legal liability for the child’s injuries. These companies aim to minimize their financial exposure in childhood injury cases, especially, because they know the potential damage awards can be large. Insurance adjusters hoping to protect their employer may try to speak with the child victim or her parents about the injury before they’re represented by an attorney, with the goal of getting one of them to say something that damages their legal rights. Insurance companies may also offer a quick, but inadequate, settlement offer, knowing the parents of the injured child are vulnerable and that they may act on impulse out of distress and a short-term need for money.
At Boohoff Law, we encourage any parent of an injured child to speak with an experienced Seattle children’s injuries attorney before having any interaction with an insurance adjuster, if at all possible. Unlike an insurance company, an attorney is on the parents’ and child’s side and wants to make sure the insurance company and any party with legal liability pay the maximum damages allowed under the law.
Seattle Child Injury FAQs
Often the most painful part of a child injury case is that it happens to your child. Beyond all the sorrow and love you will feel after that injury occurs lie the burdens and costs of potentially life-altering and lifelong consequences of those injuries and the knowledge that your life and your child’s life may never be the same.
Here are some frequently asked questions about child injuries in Seattle. If you would like to discuss specific questions that you have, contact Boohoff Law, P.A. directly for help from a Seattle child injury attorney.
Q. What are some of the common causes of children’s injuries?
Children suffer harm in many of the same ways that adults do. They also get hurt in ways unique to the life settings and decision-making capacity of small children.
Some of the more common child injuries are:
- Falls – According to the CDC, falls are the single most common cause of non-fatal child injuries. If you think about it, playgrounds, bicycles, roller skates, skateboards—a child’s life abounds with opportunities to fall. And the likelihood of any of these falls can be increased in Seattle’s sometimes grey and wet weather.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – The CDC says that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death due to injury among children aged 5 to 19.
- Cycling and Pedestrian Accidents – Because children don’t pay a lot of attention to where they are or where they’re going, they run a high risk of being in a pedestrian or cycling accident. Kids plan in the street, and kids ride bikes. That leads to accidents involving those kids.
- Attractive Nuisances – Children are born with a lot of curiosity and not much caution. That is why they love to investigate things like construction sites, swimming pools, and big holes in the ground. Attractive nuisances are property features that attract children and pose a significant hazard for injury. Washington requires property owners to take reasonable measures to prevent child injuries from attractive nuisances, but they still occur.
Q. What are the common injuries that children suffer?
Just like the causes of children’s injuries, the actual injuries vary widely. Accidents can result in traumatic brain injury, drowning, broken bones, bruises and cuts, and burns. Children can also suffer relatively minor injuries that still need emergency medical care.
Q. What causes traumatic brain injury in children?
Childhood head injuries usually result from car accidents, falls, assaults, bicycle accidents, and trauma related to sports (such as football). TBIs can have lifelong effects, including loss of motor skills, paralysis, and cognitive impairment.
Q. What is the most common non-fatal injury?
Broken bones are among the more common childhood injuries simply because falls are the single most common non-fatal cause of injury in children. People who fall a lot are also people who break bones.
Q. What damages do people seek for Seattle child injuries?
A parent or guardian can seek economic (or special) damages and non-economic damages on the child’s behalf. In Washington, the party paying damages may be eligible to pay them on an installment plan rather than all at once. Typical damages covered include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Long-term care costs
- Assistive devices and physical therapy
- Declines in the long-term ability of the child to work
- Pain and suffering
- Negative impacts on quality of life
Parents will struggle to cope with these impacts and should work with experienced legal counsel to help ensure their child’s future.
Q. How soon should I consult a Seattle child injury attorney?
You should contact an attorney as soon as you feel able to do so. Although the injury and caring for your child may be overwhelming, Washington imposes a three-year statute of limitations on personal injuries. Given all the complexities a parent of a seriously injured child faces, being able to offload some of those responsibilities onto a knowledgeable and experienced child injury attorney should bring a lot of peace of mind to you.
Q. Who is liable when your child suffers injuries in Seattle?
Who is liable depends on what happened and who caused it to happen or let it happen. The answers to those two questions will define who is liable. Please be sure that a lot of childhood injuries are not the fault of the child. Your children may be active, outdoorsy Pacific Northwest citizens, but they are entitled to be in a safe environment and should recover compensation for their injuries when someone else caused them.
Q. What happens if my child sustains injuries at school or daycare?
The claims can be very tricky to navigate in Seattle because schools, although they are responsible for keeping your children safe, are also political subdivisions that essentially have sovereign immunity from being sued. If, however, you believe that the injury happened due to negligence on the part of the district or one of its employees, then you should consult with an experienced premises liability attorney to assist you in recovering on behalf of your child.
Claims that you might file against a school or school district can include:
- Injuries from bullying tolerated by the school
- Physical or sexual abuse by school staff
- School bus accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dangerous toys or playground equipment
- Sports-related injuries
Private schools and daycare centers are not political subdivisions and, therefore, not immune. Suits against these schools and the staff are more straightforward and may include more complicated issues of negligence involving maintenance or neglect.
Q. Why are cases involving children injured in bicycle accidents more complicated?
Children in a motor vehicle aren’t driving and, therefore, cannot be at fault in any way. However, a child on a bicycle may have failed to follow the rules of the road and thus have contributed to causing the accident.
Courts nonetheless will take some factors, including a child’s age, into consideration before assigning blame. The older the injured cycling child is, the more likely the court expects the child to have followed all the rules. Be sure your attorney understands the facts in any bicycle injury case.
Boohoff Law Seattle Children’s Injuries Lawyers
As parents, the talented, compassionate legal professionals at Boohoff Law know just how important it is to take care of an injured child. That is why they make it a top priority to deliver the best possible legal advice and client service to injured children and their parents. Serving the interest of the most vulnerable victims of personal injury isn’t just a job for the team at Boohoff Law, it’s a personal mission.
Do not wait to reach out to the skilled, determined children’s injuries lawyers at Boohoff Law after your child suffers a serious injury in the Seattle metro area. You and your child deserve an advocate on your side who will fight for ever dollar of compensation available. Contact Boohoff Law or call us at (877) 999-9999 today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of their team.
“From the very beginning Boohoff was everything we could have hoped for and more. Linsey and Michelle were AWESOME!!! They both checked on all of us throughout the entire process. I am extremely glad that I was referred to them. This was my first time working with and attorney and I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical. They laid my skepticisms to rest. Linsey felt like a friend. She even adjusted and used my Daughter’s nickname for reference. May not seem like much to you, but it meant a lot to me. She congratulated me when I closed on my house, and started my new job. The attorneys and staff at Boohoff are phenomenal and they walk the walk. Most importantly, they walk alongside you every step of the way! You won’t regret choosing them”
– Dionica D.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Boohoff Law P.A. Seattle Location
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121