Alabama Law Governing Injuries to Children
It seems like everyday we hear about a tragic injury occurring to a child or baby due to a defective product, neglect by a parent or unforeseeable hazards. Alabama law has many nuances and subtleties addressing the tort claims that may be brought in some of these instances. In today’s modern environment of motor vehicles, day care, falling hazards and toys, diligence must be exercised by businesses, parents and product manufacturers in order to avoid harming our most precious resource.
Alabama law does not allow children (minors) to bring a direct claim for personal injury. Only the parents or legal guardian may bring a civil action for the child. Additionally, no compromise or settlement of the claim can be made with judicial or Court approval. Moreover, the Court will normally appoint a guardian ad litem , usually a local attorney, to review the proposed settlement and report to the Court whether the proposal is in the best interests of the child. If the judge deems the settlement fair, then the Court will usually hold the money in an interest bearing account until the minor reaches the age of majority (19). In extreme instances where ongoing money is needed for items such as medical treatment or school supplies, the Court may allow the parents to hold some of the money in a special account as “conservators” for the child.
What kinds of claims can be brought for a child?
As with any tort or personal injury matter, children, by and through their parents, can make any claim that an adult can make, so long as it is proved that some person or company caused injury to the child due to negligence. Our firm has handled injury claims for children due to all manner of incidents involving the negligence of a third party, such as: daycare neglect, auto accidents, falling objects in stores, choking hazards in toys, crib injuries due to defective design, dog bites, etc.
What if the child was partially negligent or played some role in causing the injury?
With regard to injuries to children, Alabama law has declared that children under age 7 or conclusively presumed to be incapable of contributory negligence, such that their own actions will not bar a recovery. However, children from 7 to 14 can be barred from recovering if it can be shown that they appreciated the danger or hazard, or that their conduct was the sole, proximate cause of the injury.
In any situation where a child is seriously harmed by a defective product, car accident or daycare neglect, consult with a lawyer who has experience with child injuries in Alabama. For more information contact our Birmingham personal injury lawyers.