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Omaha Child Injury Attorney

Compassionate Representation When Your Child Is Injured in Omaha

As a parent, you try to protect your child from harm. Mild bruises and scrapes are a fact of life for children, but there are some injuries that can cause lifelong disabilities, pain, and emotional trauma. If this happens, it is common for parents to feel guilty and confused as to how to give their children the best life possible within mounting medical expenses. However, if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf to recover compensation.

Recovering compensation for your child’s injuries is not a simple task. You need strong legal guidance to hold the negligent party who injured your child accountable. Your best option is to contact an Omaha child injury attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our knowledgeable team can explain to you how to file a claim and what rights your child has to receive compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (402) 505-8234. Let us advocate for you and your child’s best interests.

How Are Children Injured in Nebraska?

Children in Nebraska love to spend time outdoors, whether hanging out with friends, exploring their neighborhoods, or playing sports. As safe as we like to think our neighborhoods in Omaha are, there are certain dangers that are always present. Most people are injured in auto accidents near their homes, and this is especially true for teenagers. Younger children are harder to spot when they enter crosswalks and intersections. This can lead to traumatic injuries if they are struck while walking across the street or riding their bikes, often because drivers are distracted or intoxicated.

But negligent drivers are not the only danger children face in Nebraska. Children are easily enamored by animals and may not realize when it is unsafe to pet one. Dog bites can be incredibly distressing for children, resulting in years of emotional distress and serious facial scarring. While parents should teach children not to approach unfamiliar dogs, especially when they are growling or barking, homeowners should also keep their dogs away from children and on leashes according to Omaha’s leash laws.

In many of these instances, if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf. Based on our years of experience, Bottlinger Law L.L.C. can represent you and your child in cases involving:

What Are the Long-Term Impacts of Child Injuries?

While we like to believe that children can bounce back from any injury, the fact of the matter is their bodies are still developing, and a traumatic injury can seriously impact that development. While a broken arm can heal with proper care and time, spinal cord injuries can leave children wheelchair-bound for the rest of their lives.

Any disabling injury can be extremely costly for the average family. Most people cannot deal with the costs of an emergency bill, much less the long-term care that comes with a traumatic brain injury or paralysis. Your child may require assisted living equipment, corrective surgery, medication, and physical therapy. Despite all of this, your child may still deal with lifelong pain and discomfort.

But, even a seemingly superficial injury can drastically impact your child’s life. Deep lacerations and burns can leave children scarred. If they suffer scarring to the face, for example, after a dog attack, then such a disfigurement could affect their self-esteem.

Both the financial costs of treating your child’s injuries and the emotional trauma of their injuries can be included in a claim, however. In the state of Nebraska, if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence, then you are well within your rights to demand compensation for their injuries, both physical and mental. The process, unlike filing a personal injury claim for an adult, is a bit more complicated.

How to Recover Compensation for Your Child’s Trauma

When you are injured by someone else in the U.S., you can file a civil claim against that person or their insurance company to cover the costs of your injuries. However, children are not allowed to file personal injury claims in Nebraska on their own. Instead, according to Nebraska Revised Statute 25-307, a legal guardian or “next friend” can file a claim on the child’s behalf. A “next friend” refers to an individual assigned by a Nebraska court to act as the child’s representative, such as an aunt, uncle, or another individual that the court deems responsible.

In most situations, parents can file personal injury claims on their child’s behalf. Normally, adults have four years from the date of an injury to file a claim, but for children, the clock starts ticking after the child has turned 19. This means, in Nebraska, a person injured as a child has until age 23 to file a personal injury claim. However, most people are advised to file a claim as quickly as possible to avoid losing important evidence. In addition, claims for medical bills are limited to the standard four-year statute of limitations. If you do not file within that initial four years, then you cannot receive compensation for your child’s medical expenses.

Compensation that is awarded to a child must also be approved by a judge. The judge will review the settlement to determine if it is fair and reasonable for your child. If it is, then the judge will divide the claim into certain categories.

First, if you paid for any of your child’s medical expenses out-of-pocket, you will receive reimbursement for your expenses as well as funds to cover the costs of any remaining medical bills. If your child has any future expenses, such as physical therapy, medication, or even prosthetics, then the court will place these funds in trust and distribute them on a case-by-case basis.

Then, all compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, will be placed in a trust until your child is a legal adult. These funds will accrue interest and become available to your child at 19 years old.

Does Negligence Apply to Children?

You can only receive compensation for your child if someone injured your child through an act of negligence. For example, if a driver failed to check a blind spot before making a right-hand turn and struck your child, you could file a claim against the driver’s insurance company.

Traditionally, with adults, fault can be shared on both sides of a claim. Nebraska is a comparative fault state, meaning the court can limit the amount of compensation you receive based on the percentage of fault you are assigned. If you receive 50% or more fault, then you cannot receive compensation.

With children, the matter is a bit more complicated. Children are not held to the same standards as adults, as they may not be aware of common dangers, such as an angry dog, a wet floor, or even the standard rules of the road. This is especially true under Nebraska’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, which holds property owners liable if children injure themselves on an “attractive nuisance,” such as a swimming pool, slide, or treehouse, that is not properly gated and secured against child trespassers. For example, if a homeowner left a back gate open and children could clearly see and access their pool, the homeowner could be held liable if a child snuck in and drowned, even though the child was trespassing.

In these cases, the court may look at several different factors, such as the child’s age, intelligence, coordination, and reasoning ability to determine if the child shares any fault. Typically, with younger children, no fault will be assigned, but it is important to have your case handled by an experienced Omaha child injury lawyer.

Call an Omaha Child Injury Lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Today

No parent should have to see their child go through a catastrophic injury, especially one that results in a lifelong disability. The costs can add up rapidly and make it difficult for you to provide for your family, must less prepare for your child’s future. That is why, if someone injured your child through an act of negligence, you should not hesitate to contact an Omaha personal injury attorney.

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., our legal team can provide support throughout your claim. We understand just how difficult a time you are going through and can advocate for proper compensation for your child’s injuries. You should not have to bear the burden of medical bills if someone else is at fault. Call our office at (402) 505-8234 to learn how we can represent your family in a personal injury claim. We offer free consultations, so there is no cost to speak with us.

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Jason Bottlinger has been named one of the Top 40 Lawyers under the age of 40 in the state by The National Trial Lawyers organization.

Our firm has a perfect A+ from the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska, which grades based on 13 different factors.

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