As the father of four, Father’s Day is definitely a day to count my blessings. Fortunately my kids are healthy, in school, and free to pursue their lives passions. My wife and I have supervised and enjoyed the journey so far with each of them. They all are different, but our unwavering love for each of them is the same.
So when Father’s Day came around Sunday, I took stock. I realized how my good fortune is juxtaposed to that of others. The news is riddled with images of children being torn from their parents at our borders, and closer to home, gunshot victims, who will never share another holiday, milestone or victory with their parents.
Then I thought of my clients. In my work as a personal injury attorney I see families devastated when their loved ones are injured. Cases involving children are catastrophic. These tragedies due to another’s negligence occur suddenly and can occur to any one of us. Parents or guardians are often unaware or uncomfortable undertaking legal action on behalf of a child. Yet it is imperative to secure their future so they can pursue healthy productive lives, education and their livelihoods.
Lawsuits may be filed on behalf of children just as they would be for adults. Children may be victims of medical malpractice by any healthcare provider, including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, or therapists. They may also suffer injury as the result of the negligent conduct of another person, like the driver of a motor vehicle, a life guard at a pool, or the maker of a toy. In the worst case scenario they may suffer wrongful death. The law recognizes the unthinkable damage and the family is entitled to recover for the loss of the society of the child (the love and companionship of the child).
Personal injury cases on behalf of children must be brought by a parent, guardian or court-appointed representative. While the time limit for bringing such cases under Illinois law may extend to up to two years after the minor’s 18th birthday, certain cases, like medical negligence cases, have a shorter time frame because they are tied to the date of the injury or discovering the injury. It is important that parents or guardians seek legal counsel as soon as they believe a child has suffered an injury at the hands of another.
The idea of putting a monetary value on a child’s injury, disability, or disfigurement can be difficult and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, my focus in winning a monetary recovery on behalf of a child is to ensure they may have every opportunity available to them. Damage awards may include money for past and future medical expenses that include essential treatment, therapies or surgeries getting them closer to a full recovery. We can seek money for disability may replace the income the child could not otherwise attain once reaching adulthood. I have also obtained significant awards for pain and suffering or mental distress giving children greater financial resources for therapies that improve their lives and sustain them as they grow-up.
I believe, like every parent, my children are precious and special to me and our family. It is our hope that they will each make the world a better place for others. As an attorney who advocates for victims, I know every child is precious and special and deserves a chance to live their best life; and on behalf of the children and their parents, it is my job to fight for it.