Tulsa Child Injury Attorney
Fighting for families in Oklahoma
Whenever a child is injured, the pain is multiplied. The parents suffer along with their children. Children who suffer any permanent injury have to live with the injury for decades and decades, which can add significant expenses for the child’s care. When a catastrophic or permanent injury is the result of an act of negligence, you have legal options.
At Biby Law Firm, we treat each client like family. That’s why we are uniquely able to guide children and their parents through each stage of an accident claim. We work with physicians who are trained to understand the challenges of diagnoses and treating childhood injuries. We explain why defendants may owe an extra or a higher duty of care to children. We work to get your child just settlements and verdicts that compensate him/her for the hurts and pains, the medical bills, and any other damages Oklahoma law permits.
What are common causes of childhood injury in Oklahoma?
Kids get hurt all the time, but sometimes those injuries are severe, and sometimes they are permanent. According to the CDC, car crashes are the leading cause of childhood injuries, and the leading cause of death for kids between 5 and 19.
Aside from car crashes, other common causes of childhood injuries in Oklahoma include:
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Drowning and pool injuries
- Accidental ingestion of poison or hazardous materials
- Dog bites
- School bus accidents
- Playground accidents
- Burn injuries
Children are also likely to be hurt in ATV accidents, from falls, and in youth sports.
What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?
In premises liability cases, property owners generally do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. There is an exception for children, though, in some cases. The attractive nuisance doctrine recognizes that children are curious and love to explore. Property owners can be liable to children who trespass if:
- The property owner should have known his or her property had an attractive nuisance – something that would interest a child – such as a swimming pool.
- The property owner failed to secure the area (at a reasonable cost)
- A child would not likely understand that the attraction was dangerous or hazardous
What are some of the challenges of handling a childhood injury case in Tulsa?
Children’s injuries are different than adult injuries. Most medical exams begin by asking the patient what happened and how the patient feels. Younger children can have a much tougher time explaining, because they often don’t know the words to express how they feel. Certain types of injuries can affect how a child grows, too, which can create problems when he or she is older.
Why does this matter? Because damages are awarded, among other reasons, for lost wages and loss of earning capacity. For an 8-year-old child, this determination can be hard to make for a number of reasons.
One thing to note is that children are required to have a representative in legal matters. They’ll need a parent or a legal guardian to file the lawsuit on their behalf. And because some children may be too young to testify on behalf of themselves, cases that rely on child witness testimony can be more difficult. On the other hand, if your case goes to trial, juries are generally more sympathetic to children.
Settlements and verdicts are payable to the parents or the guardians. Generally, any damage award is set up in a trust agreement or some other financial arrangement such as a structured settlement until the child reaches the age of majority (18).
In many cases, the parent pays the medical claims for the child unless the child is covered by insurance. Even with insurance, the parent pays the deductibles – but settlements and verdicts are often set up in trust for the children. We can explain how all of this works during a free initial consultation at our Tulsa office.
Contributory negligence is different for injury claims involving children
Contributory negligence is legal doctrine in Oklahoma. In short, if you contribute to your own injuries or the cause of your own accidents, your personal injury award may be reduced. However, under Oklahoma law,
- Children under 7 can’t be negligent.
- Children between 7 and 14 are presumed not to be negligence, but this doctrine can be rebutted.
- Children 14 and over are presumed to be capable of negligence, but this presumption can be overcome for some children.
For example, if a ball rolls into a street, a 6-year-old child chases it and is struck by a car, the defendant will be 100% liable. If the child is 14 or over, the claim against the driver may be dismissed, or the amount of the damages may be significantly reduced due to the child’s negligence.
What you should know about filing a claim against a school in Oklahoma
Your children attend school five days a week. They spend at least 1,080 hours in school, not including extra-curricular activities, such as athletics, choir, or other activities. That is a lot of time for them to be under the care of another person, who is also caring for 25-35 other kids. Our teachers work hard for long hours, and are committed to their students, but even superheroes miss things every now and then.
If your child attends public school, and is hurt during school hours, on a class trip, or at any time while under the care and supervision of school personnel, you can file a claim against the government for his or her injuries. However, this can be incredibly challenging. You have one year to file a “notice of tort claim” with the clerk of that entity, and then you wait 90 days for the entity to respond. After the 90 days passes, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit.
Even if all goes well, the amount of money your child may be entitled to receive could be capped. You cannot sue for punitive damages, either.
The good news is that it’s not impossible to sue a school in Tulsa. In fact, Jacob Biby has successfully represented parents in lawsuits against their children’s schools. In one case, Jacob was successful before the Oklahoma Supreme Court when he argued that a seriously injured child should be able to proceed with his case against a local school that was negligent in supervising the child. The Oklahoma Supreme Court sided with Jacob’s client and reversed the decision of the trial judge, who had previously dismissed the lawsuit. Thereafter, a settlement was reached for the young man.
The most important thing to remember is that the statutes of limitations are different, so you need to move fast if you want to bring a claim and you should consult with counsel who has experience handling claims against schools.
Fighting to protect Oklahoma’s children when they suffer injuries due to negligence
No parents ever want to see their children cry. No parents ever want their children to be in pain. When accidents do happen, every parent wants their children to make the best recovery possible. At Biby Law Firm, we are parents, too. We take childhood injury cases personally. We’re dedicated to holding everyone who caused your child harm accountable for your child’s pain and suffering and his or her medical care. We understand the unique challenges that are involved when children are victims. To discuss your child’s legal rights with an experienced Tulsa childhood injury lawyer, please call us at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form. We represent children throughout Oklahoma, including in Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, and Muskogee. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.