One of the most vulnerable groups in our population is children. When children are injured by the negligence of others, the entire family is affected and potentially devastated. If the injury is permanent and catastrophic, parents worry about how to take care of their child long-term.
At Vaage Law, we have helped countless injured children and their families. We understand the special and sensitive needs of children, the specific types of experts required, and the often overlooked emotional and financial costs to the family. We believe that the voices of victims should be heard, especially when the victim is a young child.
If your child has been injured or harmed because of the negligence of another individual or party, contact Vaage Law at (619) 338-0505 as soon as possible. Not only can our San Diego-based attorneys assist you with your child’s case, but we are connected to some of the most esteemed child injury experts in their respective fields. We handle the legal work so you can devote your time to your family’s well-being.
Read on for general information about what to do immediately after a child’s injury and how a lawyer can help.
What Do You Do if Your Child Is Seriously Hurt or Sick?
The first step for a child seriously injured or sick is to seek medical care. Here are general guidelines for evaluating your child’s condition and important questions to ask a physician:
For Physical Injury
Here are common physical injuries for children and when to seek professional medical attention:
- Head injuries: If injured at play, watch for signs of concussion like unusually severe crankiness, slurred speech or changes to speech patterns, and vomiting. If your child’s head is injured in a car, truck, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, seek medical evaluation and the advice of an attorney right away.
- Eye, mouth, and tooth injuries: Eye injuries that involve nosebleeds, blood in the whites of the eye (sclera), or scratches to the eye’s surface need immediate medical care. Injuries to a child’s adult teeth should be seen by a dentist. Any significant injury to the lips/mouth due to a fall or bite injury should be seen before it causes infection or permanent scarring/disfigurement. These injuries are common in slip and fall cases, especially with young children who still struggle with balance and don’t yet throw their arms out to break their falls.
- Broken bones: All broken bones and some severe sprains need professional medical attention for x-rays, cast setting, and surgical repair if necessary. Injuries from falls may be premises liability cases if they involve schools, parks, daycare locations, apartment complexes, and public locations like stores and sidewalks.
It’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek a clinical evaluation if you have any suspicion that your child’s injury may be serious.
For Sickness or Illness
Unexplained illness in a child could come from food poisoning at school or defective food products purchased from the store. Defective medical products or prescription errors with medicine meant for your child could cause unforeseen illness, as could an overdose of dangerous drugs.
Signs of distress like vomiting, sustained fever, or lack of appetite from your child should be evaluated by an ER doctor or your pediatrician.
Here are some basic suggestions for what to do if your child is sick:
- Bring a list of symptoms with you to make sure they are communicated to the doctor
- If your child is taking any medication, including over-the-counter cold remedies or fever-reducers, make sure to jot down:
- The type of medication
- The dose administered
- The time of dosage
- Bring your own questions and also consider asking:
- Is it a viral or bacterial infection?
- What symptoms indicate it is under control? What symptoms mean it is growing worse?
- What medicines are being prescribed?
It’s advised that you have the doctor read the prescription to you and write down the medicine’s name clearly. Also note how it should be consumed, the recommended dosage, whether the medicine should be taken with or without food, and what allergic reactions to look for. Make sure the drug you pick up at the pharmacy matches what you’ve written down, as pharmaceutical errors can further injure a child by overwhelming their small body.
How Do You Know if Your Child Is Ok After a Fall?
Children have normal, non-emergency falls all the time, and it may be worrisome to guess at whether the latest fall is ok or quite serious.
Keep on the lookout for delayed signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI) like:
- Moderate symptoms
- Fatigue or trouble sleeping
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Poor concentration, amnesia, or memory changes
- Mood changes, mood swings, and uncharacteristic anger, anxiety, or depression
- Sensory changes like light sensitivity or loss of smell/taste
- Severe symptoms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech or inability to speak
- Numbness in limbs or paralysis
- Spinal fluid coming from ears and nose
- Epilepsy, seizures, or coma
When in doubt, figure it out at the hospital. The expense associated with emergency and ongoing treatment can be recovered by a child injury lawsuit. Delaying care could mean the difference between a moderate and catastrophic injury, so if you suspect your child needs medical care, always trust your parental instincts.
Accidents happen, but falls due to unsafe premises, defective toys, or poorly maintained jungle gym equipment are preventable. By seeking justice for your child, you can also help make the environment safer for other children and families.
When Should I Take My Child to a Hospital?
General signs that should prompt an immediate trip to the ER can be remembered as the five Ps:
- Pain: Extreme discomfort and sensitivity
- Pallor: Pale, yellowish/sallow, or waxen appearance of skin
- Pulse: Weak or not detectable
- Paresthesia: Unexplained or persistent numbness or tingling
- Paralysis: Inability to move the injured body part
Time is of the essence after a child is injured. If the child or you cannot pinpoint the exact causes, know that physicians usually respond well to statements like, “I don’t know what it is, but I just know something is seriously wrong with my child.” If a physician brushes off a statement like that, find a new doctor.
Most doctors realize parents know their children best and can communicate information that children – especially young children – cannot verbalize or explain.
When Should You Contact a Child Injury Attorney?
The first step after a child is injured or suffers illness is medical care. The second step may be to contact an experienced child injury attorney. A lawyer can help you and your child by:
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Investigating the cause of your child’s injury
- Calculating often undervalued losses like pain, stress, and the emotional toll on families
- Building a case for a lawsuit that may end in a substantial settlement or verdict
- In the most devastating circumstances, filing a wrongful death claim
Pursuing a lawsuit could mean affording your child the specialist care he or she needs, improving safety standards before other children are hurt, or potentially removing unfit adults from jobs that involve working with children.
If you need to discuss your child’s needs with a proven legal professional, contact Robert Vaage and the attorneys at Vaage Law online or by calling (619) 338-0505. Whether you need help with birth injury, infant injury, child brain injury, child medical malpractice, or other child personal injury, we have the experience your family can rely on as your child and family heal and move forward.