Pediatric Injury Lawyer in San Jose
Under California law, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim involving a child is typically one year after his or her 18th birthday, except where the defendant is a government or public entity. The child's parent or guardian can file a suit on the minor's behalf any time prior to legal adulthood, but in many cases, it might make better sense to wait until the full extent of the injury, damages, and future treatment needs are better understood. Few litigation results are more unfortunate than a favorable settlement or successful jury verdict for badly underestimated damages, only under very unusual circumstances will it be possible to reopen the claim for additional compensation.
Child injury claims are frequently difficult to assess, even where liability is relatively clear, because of the problems involved in projecting the need for future surgery, medical treatment, or rehabilitative therapy in many pediatric trauma cases. For example, in severe burn injury cases involving children, the sequence of surgeries might last ten to fifteen years, depending on the age of the victim and the extent of the burns.
Traumatic brain injury, severe fractures, soft tissue injuries to muscles or joints, or facial scarring can all present special treatment challenges in growing patients, and the course of recovery can be unpredictable.
California Infant, Child or Adolescent Injury Claims
At Shea & Shea, our San Jose personal injury attorneys are experienced with child injury litigation and can advise you as to the best approach to take in your specific circumstances. Even if we determine that it would be premature to file formal suit, we can still investigate and document the facts bearing on the defendant's liability, so that the critical evidence of negligence will be available whenever the damages elements of your case are ripe for suit.
We also provide second or third opinions for clients represented by other counsel when your case has progressed to the stage where you must decide whether to accept a serious settlement offer. Without interfering with your attorney-client relationship, we can help analyze the adequacy of a given proposal in light of your reasonable treatment needs.