It is one of the worst feelings in the world when your child suffers injury. Her pain becomes your pain, and you just want to erase it. As a parent, your hurt is exacerbated when the harm your child suffered was preventable and when someone else caused it.
Our firm helps families in Washington and Oregon through some of the most difficult times in their lives, from serious auto accidents to accidents on someone else’s property. We consider it our mission to help parents seek full recovery for their children’s injuries or wrongful deaths. If your child was harmed because of another party’s carelessness or negligence, call Willis & Toews for a free consult with one of our child injury attorneys: 509-529-0908.
What kinds of injuries qualify for a restitution claim?
When someone is harmed because of another person’s wrongdoing, both Washington and Oregon laws provide the opportunity to file a tort claim or lawsuit against the wrongdoer to seek financial recovery for your losses. If the victim is a minor, then the parents will work with the attorney and file the claim on the child’s behalf.
Any injury your child sustained as a result of another person’s, company’s, or entity’s wrongdoing may be justifiable cause to make a claim. Tort claims are generally made based on one of three grounds.
- Negligence – If your child’s injuries arose out of another person’s negligence, i.e., the wrongdoer failed to uphold their duty of care, then you can pursue a tort claim for damages. Examples of situations that may qualify you to file a negligence claim include auto accidents caused by a distracted driver, daycare injuries caused by negligent staff, and more.
- Strict liability – Strict liability claims apply in Washington dog bite claims. If your child was bitten by a dog in the State of Washington then you can likely file a claim and the owner may be strictly liable for your child’s damages.
- Intentional harm – If someone purposely hurt your child, you can sue her in civil court for financial recovery. Bullying, abuse, and battery are examples of intentional torts.
Are there special rules for injury cases involving children?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case may be tolled if the victim is a minor. Under Washington law, the statute of limitations starts to run once the minor turns 18 years old. So if the victim is a minor, she may file a claim up until their 21st birthday.
In Oregon, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims is tolled in the event the victim is a minor. If, at the time that the cause of action accrues, the person is younger than 18 years of age, the statute is suspended for the period of minority, except that the time for bringing the action cannot be extended for more than five years or for more than one year after the disability ceases, whichever occurs first. ORS 12.160. The general two year statute of limitations is not tolled, however, with respect to any claim a parent or other individual has arising before 1/1/2008 out of the minor’s injury. In that event, parents needed to file a claim for their damages long before the minor’s 18th birthday to recover compensation for losses or expenses they experienced.
There are many exceptions under Oregon law to the general rules outlined above, including those for medical malpractice claims, claims under the Oregon Tort Claims Act and wrongful death claims to name a few. This summary is not intended to be exhaustive and it is critical that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs to discuss the applicable limitations period. Talk to Willis & Toews for clarification on the time limit you and your child must follow.
Do I need a lawyer to sue someone for my child’s injuries?
In most cases, you should consult an attorney for help holding someone legally responsible for your child’s injuries. Filing a claim or a lawsuit can be a very complex process. There will be evidence to collect and organize, documents to draft and file, and a series of detailed steps to take to bring your case to fruition. All of this can be an exceptionally challenging undertaking for anyone not familiar with child injury liability laws, legal processes, or her rights and responsibilities under the law.
If you reside in Washington or Oregon, call Willis & Toews. Contact us today at 509-529-0908 for a free, no-obligation consultation.