Skip to main content
small child sitting in front seat of car

Personal Injury Case For An Injured Child

3 Ways An Injured Child Personal Injury Case Differs From Adult Cases

If a child is injured due to the actions, or even inactions, of another party, his or her parent or guardian can pursue a personal injury case on the minor’s behalf. This is similar to how an adult who is injured by another party can pursue a personal injury claim to try and reclaim damages for their injuries. However, there are three ways in which a personal injury case involving a child differs from that of an adult:

  1. The statute of limitations is longer for children than it is for adults.
  2. The “standard of reasonableness” is applied differently.
  3. Settlements awarded to the injured child are protected by the court.

The Statute Of Limitations Is Longer For Children Than It Is For Adults

Wisconsin, along with every other state, has a time period within which a personal injury claim must be filed. This is called a statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations has expired, victims are unable to file lawsuits against the negligent party. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations on a personal injury claim is generally 3 years from the date of the injury…if you are an adult. If the injured party is a child, the statute of limitations expires two years after the child turns 18.

The idea behind this extended statute of limitations is to allow the injured child a chance to decide for him or herself, as an adult, whether or not they want to file a lawsuit. 

The “Standard Of Reasonableness” Is Applied Differently

Every personal injury case applies the legal doctrine “standard of reasonableness” to determine fault in the case. This standard examines whether or not the decisions made by the victim were legitimate or reasonable, given the situation. As an example, if an adult is hit by a car while crossing the street, but did not look both ways before crossing, it could be argued that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident since he or she did not exercise reasonable care. This standard of reasonableness is harder to prove when the victim is a child and depends greatly on the child’s age.

In Wisconsin, the state has determined that anyone under the age of 7 cannot be found negligent under this standard. If the child is over the age of 7, the question becomes how we would expect a reasonable child of that same age to act in that situation. While this does protect young children from being held to adult standards, it forces adult jurors to gauge the “reasonableness” of a child, which can be challenging.

Settlements Awarded To The Injured Child Are Protected By The Court

The third way an injured child case is different from an injured adult case is in how settlements are awarded. If a settlement is awarded, parents do not receive the money. Instead, it is put into a protected account.  Parents must petition the court every time they want to withdraw funds. Although general child-rearing expenses are not covered by the fund, the money can be used for medical expenses or care related to the injury. Once the child turns 18, the money is released to him or her.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney If Your Child Has Been Injured

These are just three common examples of how personal injury lawsuits may be different for children as opposed to adults; there may be other factors that can influence the case, which is why a consultation with a personal injury attorney is essential to securing a favorable outcome. If your child has been injured and you are wondering if you have a case, contact the personal injury attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison, WI to arrange a free consultation. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or to arrange your consultation today.