Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr. May 2019

19 may

Road to justice |

Ask 10 parents if they’d rather see themselves injured or their child, and they will all tell you they’d rather be the ones hurt. Sadly, we have no say in the matter. Accidents

When a Child Is Injured, Winning a Settlement Is Only Half the Battle

don’t discriminate when it comes time to choose a

victim. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still end up with an injured child.

Personal injury cases involving children proceed a lot differently than those involving adults. From an emotional perspective, guilt is often much more prominent when youngsters are involved. Even when a parent bears zero responsibility for an injury, they are always going to feel like there is something they could’ve done to avoid it. I totally understand this reaction, but the first thing you have to know is that these feelings are beside the point from a legal perspective. The quicker you put away your guilt, the quicker you’ll be able to pursue just compensation for your child. We recently oversaw one such case that ended in a huge success in terms of settlement. Now, I can’t disclose the terms or details of this particular case — child settlements often come with confidentiality agreements — but I can tell you about some of the ways these cases are legally different than others and how we alter our approach accordingly. As with any injury case, dealing with the child’s recovery is always our first concern. But even in this aspect, these cases are special. First off, kids don’t have their own health insurance. Instead, payments are made through their parent’s coverage. That becomes important once a settlement is agreed upon, and we’ll return to that later. From the start, though, it’s crucial that you see an expert doctor for your child’s care. They should be on the lookout for any possible future medical costs the child may incur as a result of their injury. If they don’t need surgery now but may need it later in life, that needs to be noted, because it affects the amount of a potential settlement. Once the settlement is reached, things really become different. In South Carolina, any substantial settlement a child receives needs to be approved by a court. You could agree to terms with an insurance provider on your

“As with any injury case, dealing with the child’s recovery is always our first concern. But even in this aspect, these cases are special.”

own or with our help, but the court will still need to sign off on it. As such, structuring an agreement in a way that makes sense for both parent and child is a significant portion of the work we do on these cases.

We interview financial services providers to ensure you are working with someone you can trust. Odds are, you may not want to give your child a huge, no-strings-attached lump sum of money when they turn

18. These firms can help you set up the disbursement of your settlement in the most financially prudent way, including reimbursing those insurance costs we mentioned earlier. Too many firms go through this process with an eye toward doing the bare minimum. We believe our work isn’t done until your settlement isn’t only fair but also organized in the most beneficial way possible. We wouldn’t feel right about doing it any other way.

Obviously, the last thing anyone wants to experience is seeing their child injured. However, if the worst does happen, you deserve to work with somebody who will address your needs from day one until a settlement is approved by a judge. It’s what we’d want for our kids, and we’d never give you anything less.

–Jim Snell | | F: 800-567-6249 | P: 803-753-1476 1

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