5 important facts to know about children and personal injury cases in Wisconsin
Because children who are involved in personal injury cases obviously can’t make decisions about their own person, the law has special rules and procedures relating to compensation and liability in an accident caused by negligence.
In most states, children (those under the age of 18) have the same rights to be compensated as do adults. This includes compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent injury, or disability. There are, however, some distinct differences.
5 differences between children and adult personal injury cases in Wisconsin
Children cannot file their own personal injury lawsuit or negotiate a settlement claim. Only a competent parent or legal guardian, assuming there is one, can file the personal injury lawsuit or settle a claim on behalf of the child.
In cases where no such representative exists, the courts will appoint a guardian ad litem who will represent the interests and the rights of a child. “Ad litem” means “for the lawsuit”. A guardian ad litem can be an attorney or a trained, concerned adult of any background. If the guardian ad litem involved in a child’s personal injury case is not an attorney, he or she frequently works with a personal injury lawyer.
In Wisconsin, except in medical malpractice cases, a person has 2 years after his or her 18thbirthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. In medical malpractice cases involving children, they must abide by Sec. 893.56 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The statute generally provides that children must bring claims against health care providers either within a three year time limit or by the age of 10 years, whichever is later. Failure to do so, would forever bar the child’s claim.
The types of compensation involved in a personal injury case involving a child may include the following: - Reimbursement for medical bills and future medical costs - Lost wages and future wages if the child was working at the time of the accident and the injuries prevent him or her from working in the future - Lost wages for the parent taking care of the injured child - Disfigurement - Pain and suffering
A child victim of a personal injury in Wisconsin is not held to the same standards as are adult victims, who are held to a standard of reasonableness. If over the age of seven, the child will be held to a reasonable childstandard. If under the age of seven, a child cannot be found to have acted with partial or whole negligence. If a child is hit by a car as a pedestrian, a child over the age of seven might be held to have contributed to the accident. Under that age, the judge cannot find a child’s actions contributory.
If your child is a victim of a personal injury in Wisconsin because of someone’s negligence, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. These cases can be complex and having someone knowledgeable and experienced to help you is very important.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
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