Fort Lauderdale Child Injury Lawyer

June 16, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Most people are pained to think of a child suffering an injury, even from something as innocent as a tumble off a bike. It is even more awful to think of a child who has been injured due to the intentional or negligent acts of another person.

Unfortunately, children suffer injuries due to the acts of others all too frequently. Children are often injured in the same accidents as adults, such as car accidents or slip and fall accidents.

Some injury-causing acts, however, are unique to children—including child abuse and neglect, bullying and harassment, and the failure to keep property safe for children. If a child you love was injured, a lawyer can act as a powerful advocate on behalf of the child.

The Fort Lauderdale Child Injury Lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have significant experience representing vulnerable members of society, including children. We are committed to advocating on behalf of all of our clients and ensuring that we bring a special sensitivity to issues involving injuries to children. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have law offices on both Florida coasts, making us well-positioned to support the needs of clients in Fort Lauderdale and other areas across Florida. For a free case consultation, contact us now.

The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Has a Proven Track Record

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have long been recognized for the skill of its attorneys and the favorable results it receives for its clients. The team consists of award-winning trial attorneys with a history of successfully arguing complex cases in Fort Lauderdale courtrooms.

The strong work of all the attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has resulted in the following recognition:

  • Lawyers of Distinction 2019
  • America's Top 100 High Stakes Litigators 2019
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Super Lawyers
  • Florida Legal Elite 2018

Our lawyers bring compassion and zealous advocacy to each case they handle, and they are committed to being available and accessible to their clients. While we believe this is important for all clients, we believe it is particularly important for cases involving injuries to children. We understand the additional stress and emotional turmoil this can bring for children and their loved ones, and it is our goal to relieve as much of that stress as possible.

Causes of Child Injury

Children may find themselves injured due to many reasons, including the negligence or intentional act of another party. Given the long life ahead of a child, these injuries can be especially life-altering. Read on to understand the common causes of injuries to children.

Personal Injury

Children sustain injuries in many of the same ways as adults, including in car accidents, pedestrian accidents, boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, or the use of a faulty or dangerous product. Don't discount the significance of these injuries. In a recent year, 675 children under the age of 12 died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and 116,000 sustained injuries.

Two years later, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled a total of 241 products, 58 of which were children's product recalls. This represents 24 percent of total recalls and constitutes over 13 million units of children's products. This shows the scope of potential injury from products currently on the market.

Cases involving child personal injuries are handled very similarly to those for adults. To recover compensation, the plaintiff must establish the negligence of the other party. There are unique considerations, however, such as the impact of any injuries to the child, including emotional injury, and the long-term significance of the injuries given children's longer anticipated lifespans.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Children in Florida and across the United States all too frequently suffer abuse and neglect. In a recent year, 678,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment in the United States. Of these victims, 60.8 percent were victims of neglect, 10.7 percent were physically abused, and 7 percent were sexually abused. More than 15 percent of the victims suffered from more than one type of maltreatment. An estimated 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect in the following year.

In Florida, the Children's Advocacy Centers served over 34,000 children who were victims of abuse or neglect. Of these victims, 35 percent suffered from sexual abuse, 27 percent were victims of physical abuse, and 17 percent suffered from neglect. In one recent year, 101 child deaths resulted from reported abuse or neglect in Florida.

Florida law provides the following definitions for child abuse and child neglect:

  • Child abuse: Child abuse is any (1) intentional infliction of physical or mental injury on a child; (2) intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or (3) active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
  • Child neglect: Neglect of a child includes (1) a caregiver's failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or (2) a caregiver's failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

Any act of abuse or neglect is a felony. The degree of felony will depend on the extent of the aggravated, willful, or negligent actions of the perpetrator.

While in some states, only certain individuals, such as teachers, are considered mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect, Florida has broad reporting requirements. Any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected by a caregiver must report the abuse or neglect.

Child abuse and neglect can present complicated evaluations of the actions of the alleged abuser and whether relevant individuals acted to report the abuse or neglect in a timely fashion. If a child you love has been harmed due to abuse or neglect, or you believe a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect, an attorney can help you understand your obligations and options for supporting that child in finding a safe environment and recovering for his or her injuries.

Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and harassment are pressing issues for children, especially with the increased use of social media. Consider the following statistics on bullying in the United States:

  • A child is bullied every seven minutes.
  • In 85 percent of bullying instances, there is no intervention by either a peer or an adult.
  • Approximately 1 million children experienced harassing, threatening, or other cyberbullying behavior on Facebook in one year.
  • 39 percent of children who use social networks have been cyberbullied in some way.
  • An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day from fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
  • There are approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million victims of bullies in the American school system during a given year.
  • Students who experience bullying are more likely to grow up anxious, with less self-esteem, and with a higher need for mental health services throughout their lives.

Florida has strong anti-harassment and anti-bullying legislation and provides the following definitions for prohibited behavior:

  • Bullying: Bullying includes cyberbullying and means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, public or private humiliation, destruction of property, and/or sexual, religious, or racial harassment.
  • Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication and includes scenarios where someone knowingly poses as or imitates another or distributes or posts content in a way that creates the conditions detailed in the definition of bullying.
  • Harassment: Harassment is any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that:
    • Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;
    • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits; or
    • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.

To prevent bullying and harassment, every Florida school district must adopt policies that prohibit the behavior and provide an avenue for reporting and investigating bullying and harassment. If a child suffers from bullying or harassment, the school district is required to address the offending behavior. The degree of intervention or punishment for the offender will depend on the nature of the conduct.

Strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment laws are a great building block for preventing these behaviors but may not be enough to support and compensate a victim of bullying. The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are experienced in evaluating a party's responsibility and supporting clients in securing appropriate relief.

Unsafe Properties

In most scenarios, a property owner is not responsible for injuries that occur to trespassers. One notable exception to this is the concept of attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is any unsafe structure or feature of a property that may draw in a child trespasser, who is unable to comprehend the danger associated with the object.

There is no set list of items that constitute attractive nuisances. Instead, the court will consider the following factors when making its determination:

  • Whether the object was located in a place where the owner knew or should have known children might trespass
  • Whether the danger attracted the child onto the property
  • Whether the property owner knew or should have known that the object posed a risk of serious harm to children
  • Whether a child would realize the danger of the object
  • The benefit of the dangerous object compared to the risk posed to children
  • Whether the property owner took reasonable steps to remove the object or mitigate the danger to children

The above analysis is not required for abandoned or discarded iceboxes, refrigerators, deep-freeze lockers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, and other airtight units that are deemed attractive nuisances under a Florida statute.

Understanding Damages for Child Injuries

Determining the value of damages for a child's injury may prove complicated for many reasons. First, it is often more difficult to evaluate the long term physical or emotional impact of a child's injuries. Second, to analyze the recovery rights may require an understanding of federal and state civil and criminal laws for injuries resulting from abuse and neglect or bullying and harassment.

An attorney can help you understand your ability to secure monetary compensation for a child's injuries, which may include the following:

  • Medical expenses: If your child's injuries are physical, you will likely face medical expenses associated with the injury. These may include doctors' bills, the cost of prescription medicine, and any ongoing medical needs, such as physical therapy.
  • Parental financial impact: After an injury to a child, a parent is often required to leave the workforce temporarily or permanently to remain home and care for the child. This change can significantly impact the family's finances and thus should be included in any damages claim.
  • Future earnings impact: If a child suffers a substantial injury at a young age, it can have a long-term impact on his or her future job prospects. You should seek damages for compensation for this loss in future prospects.
  • Property damage: Property damage is a common consequence of bullying, including damage to electronics or physical defacement of property.
  • Emotional distress: Child injuries are very likely to result in emotional distress, including behavioral conduct disorders, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Financial compensation won't be able to take away the pain that a child has suffered, but it can relieve stress and ensure that a child receives the best possible medical care and other support moving forward.

Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA if Your Child Suffered a Preventable Injury in Fort Lauderdale

The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA pride ourselves on our years of experience and deep expertise in assisting clients to recover from their injuries. Our focus on advocacy and accessibility ensures that clients feel supported during some of their most stressful times.

We are committed to providing affordable representation, which means that we have a no recovery, no fee promise. Contact the firm today at 833-552-7274 or through our website to schedule a free consultation.

Fort Lauderdale Office
150 E Davie Blvd Suite 201-2
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: (754) 208-1130

What Our Clients Have to Say:

“This firm is amazing! Very professional, they helped me with my case until the end. They were available and very flexible. Dolman Law Group would answer all my calls/emails and wouldn't hesitate on explaining all of my concerns. They represented me on my case, in which it turned out to have a successful result. Super recommend them!”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thiara Bandeira
June 2018
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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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