As much as we wish we could keep our children in a protective bubble for their whole lives, we can't. We have to let them out into the world to grow, learn, make connections, and realize their limitless potential. Unfortunately, bad things do sometimes happen. Children get hurt in accidents and by adults who harm them intentionally or who fail in their duties to keep them safe.
One of the most serious injuries a child can sustain—one that can impact the rest of their life—is a traumatic brain injury. These injuries can cause permanent disability and an extreme financial burden on the family. When a negligent party is liable for the accident, child injury attorney Michael Behm will fight to hold them accountable.
Leading Causes of Childhood Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of childhood brain injuries are falls, motor vehicle accidents, and sports-related injuries. Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries in children under the age of 14, while motor vehicle accidents and sports-related injuries are more common in older children and teenagers.
Unfortunately, child abuse is also a significant cause of brain injuries in children. Shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head trauma, is a form of child abuse that can cause severe brain damage in infants and young children. The shaking motion can cause the brain to bounce back and forth inside the skull, leading to bleeding and swelling in the brain.
Long-Term Effects of Childhood Brain Injuries
The long-term effects of childhood brain injuries can be significant and far-reaching. Depending on the severity of the injury, children may experience physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes. They may have difficulty with memory, attention, and language skills, and they may experience mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
In more severe cases, children may develop epilepsy or other seizure disorders, and they may require lifelong medical care and support. Giving a child with a brain injury a chance at a normal, productive life can be enormously expensive. Typical costs include:
- Medical expenses. These can include hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, and ongoing medical care. Depending on the severity of the injury, these costs can quickly add up and become a significant financial burden.
- Therapy and rehabilitation. Children with brain injuries often require ongoing therapy and rehabilitation to help them regain lost skills and learn new ones. These can include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, as well as specialized therapies like music or art therapy.
- Special education services. Children with brain injuries may require special education services to help them succeed in school. This can include specialized classroom settings, individualized education plans, and tutoring services. When these are not provided by a school district, the financial burden can fall on the parents.
- Assistive technology. Some children with brain injuries may require assistive technology, such as communication devices or mobility aids, to help them perform daily tasks. Keeping up with this technology can be prohibitively expensive for many families.
- Home modifications. Depending on the severity of the injury, parents may need to make modifications to their home to accommodate their child's needs. This can include installing wheelchair ramps, modifying bathrooms, or making other accessibility changes.
Figuring out how you are going to pay for all of this is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a parent of an injured child. However, when someone else was at fault in causing your child's injury, they can and should be made to pay.
Who Is Liable When a Child Is Injured?
Determining who is liable when a child is injured depends on the circumstances surrounding the injury. In cases of child abuse, the perpetrator may be held criminally responsible for their actions, but the abuser likely does not have the resources to pay for the damage they have caused. In other cases, liability may fall on the person or entity responsible for the child's safety at the time of the injury. Included in this category are professionals such as doctors and teachers who are required by law to report suspected abuse of the children they see. If they fail to do so and the child suffers further injuries, these mandated reporters and their employers can be sued for damages.
If a child is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the driver of the other vehicle may be liable if they were driving recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the child was injured while playing a sport, the coach or athletic organization might be liable if they failed to provide proper equipment or supervision. It can be hard for a parent who is caring for an injured child to think about who is responsible. That's when a child injury lawyer can step in and help.
How a Lawyer Can Help an Injured Child
If your child has suffered a brain injury, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A Michigan brain injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options and can guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your child's injuries.
A lawyer can help you determine who is liable for your child's injuries and can help you gather the evidence needed to build a strong case. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that your child receives the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
In addition, a lawyer can help you navigate the complex medical and legal issues involved in a brain injury case. They can work with medical experts to assess the extent of your child's injuries and to determine the long-term impact of those injuries on their health and well-being.
With a lawyer's help, you can make sure that your child has access to the following essential resources for life:
- Medical professionals. Parents will need to work closely with doctors, therapists, and other medical professionals to develop a comprehensive care plan for their child.
- Educational advocates. Parents may need to work with educational advocates or attorneys to ensure that their child receives the special education services they need to succeed in school.
- Support groups. Support groups can provide a valuable source of emotional support and advice for parents of children with brain injuries.
- In-home care providers. Depending on the severity of the injury, parents may need to hire in-home care providers to help care for their child.
- Cutting-edge technology. Major advancements are made in assistive technology every year. When injured child has financial resources, they can keep up with innovations in mobility, communication, and personal assistance technology for the rest of their life.
Contact Our Experienced Child Injury Lawyer Today
As a Michigan child injury lawyer, Michael Behm understands the devastating impact that a brain injury can have on a child and their family. He has fought for many other children to get the compensation they deserved after a brain injury caused by neglect or abuse, and he can help your child too. If your child has suffered a brain injury, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact Behm & Behm Law Fim today to learn about your child's options.