Abused and neglected children often can't speak for themselves. Even those who are old enough to be capable of telling an adult when they have been harmed may not speak up out of shame or fear. Vulnerable children rely on the adults in their lives to look out for them, but who can these adults turn to for help when a child has been hurt by a negligent caregiver?
If a concerned parent or other adult wants to protect the child from further injury and ensure that the child has the resources they will need to overcome the harm they have already experienced, they need a lawyer in Michigan who fights for injured children. Attorney Michael Behm represents children who have been abused or neglected by day care workers, teachers, and health care providers, and he welcomes your questions.
Negligent Child Supervision and Mandated Reporter Violations in Michigan
The first thing to understand is when a child might have a claim for damages under Michigan law. It is important to differentiate between a criminal charge for child abuse and a tort claim for damages. If you suspect that a child has been intentionally harmed, you should call the police and Child Protective Services so that the abusive or negligent adult can be investigated and criminally charged.
However, in order to also hold the person and potentially their employer responsible for restoring what they have taken from a child, you should contact a child injury lawyer to represent the child in a claim for damages. Just like calling the police with your suspicions, you do not have to believe you have an ironclad case in order to talk to a lawyer. Give us a call if you think either of the following charges applies:
- Negligent child supervision. Unlike a claim of child abuse, which alleges that a child was intentionally injured by an adult, a negligent child supervision claim alleges that a child was injured due to an adult's negligence in supervising or providing a safe environment for the child. Serious injuries sustained at day care, in school, on a school bus, or with a babysitter are almost always worth investigating for a negligence claim.
- Mandated reporter violation. Certain professionals who work with children have a legal obligation to report suspicions of abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. If you discover that a child in your life was abused and a teacher, doctor, social worker, clergy member, or police officer who interacted with that child failed to identify the signs and report their suspicions, the child might have a claim for damages.
If you are concerned about a child in your life, contact Behm & Behm Law to tell us why. We would be happy to listen and help you understand the child's rights and options.
What Attorney Michael Behm Does for His Young Clients
As an advocate for an injured child, Michael Behm will use all of the resources at his disposal to build a case for damages against the individual or institution that caused harm. Every case we take is unique in its details, but generally speaking, we may take the following steps when pursuing a claim for damages on behalf of a child:
- Talk to witnesses. Our first goal is to determine what happened. We might talk to other adults who may have witnessed the abuse or neglect, doctors who treated the injured child, family members who spend time in the home, and more.
- Review medical records. A child's medical records can tell us a lot about potential causes of injuries, the timing of suspicious incidents, patterns of abuse, and more. We also use medical records to identify health care workers who might have ignored signs of abuse that they should have reported.
- Talk to experts. Child advocates, social workers, doctors, psychologists, and other experts can often help us get to the bottom of a child injury case to determine if negligence or abuse might have played a role.
- Utilize an investigator. We work with skilled investigators who can track down pertinent information, locate witnesses or previous victims, uncover patterns of abuse or neglect, and much more.
- Talk to the child. Depending on the child's age, we will also speak to the child about what happened to them. Over the years, and with a great deal of training, we have learned how to speak with injured kids in a professional and caring way.
- Determine monetary damages. Based on the physical and emotional harm that has been done, we will come up with a dollar amount that we believe will give our client the best chance at a bright future. Abusive and neglectful adults deprive children not only of their physical well-being but of a promising future. A financial settlement can make a difference.
- Negotiate a settlement or go to trial. If we cannot negotiate a settlement that we believe the child needs to live an independent life in the future, we will take the battle to court for a judge and jury to decide.
This is just an overview of the steps we might take in a child injury case.
What Difference Will Money Make to an Injured Child?
In our decades of helping injured children in Michigan, we have been blown away by their strength and resilience. Even though they have been robbed of the life they should have had, they overcome tremendous odds to live full lives with brain injuries, paralysis, facial scarring, and other permanent disabilities. These kids are fighters, and even without financial compensation, we know they will do well in life. But they deserve better. With the money paid by the negligent party's insurance company, these children can get cutting-edge medical care, state-of-the-art mobility aides, skilled in-home assistance, top-notch psychiatric care, free higher education, and much more.
Will a financial settlement erase what has happened to them? No. Will it give them a better shot at a productive, independent life? Yes.
Contact Our Experienced Negligent Child Supervision Lawyer Today
As a Michigan negligent child supervision lawyer, Michael Behm understands the devastating impact that a serious injury can have on a child and their family. When a negligent adult caused that injury, he will fight to help them get the compensation they need to live an independent life. If you suspect that a child in your life has been abused or neglected, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact Behm & Behm Law Firm today to learn about the child's options.