Injuries to Children in Kansas
For legal purposes, an injury caused to a child is similar to an injury caused to an adult. Liability has to be proved, and nature and extent of damages have to proved in similar fashions. There a few differences that need to be noted:
Any suit brought by the child must be filed by the parent as the “next friend” of the child, with the one of the parents usually being named as the proper party on behalf of the child;
Also, there is sometimes a longer statute of limitations for a child. In Kansas, an accident usually must be settled, or a lawsuit filed, within two (2) years of the date of injury or the claim is lost forever. When a child is involved, the time can be extended further (but at most eight (8) years, even if the child is still a minor).
Another issue arises when the parent is negligent and causes injury to their own child. This usually happens when a parent negligently drives a car with the child in the back seat (i.e. runs a stop sign or red light) and an accident occurs. While it may be awkward for the child to have a cause of action against their own parent, the fact is the child can recover against any liability insurance policy (usually auto policy) that covers the parent. Such a recovery can be very important to cover a child’s future medical needs or provide for other needs of the child that may result. Just as an insurance company won’t cover someone if they can find any legitimate grounds, so the child and parent should not be shy to make a recovery for the child if applicable.
Damages to a child often need expert medical testimony to fully document future problems a child may face – especially if PTSD issues are involved. While many physical injuries to a younger person will more easily heal, emotional damages are often lifelong and have great impact.
Immature actions by a child are often not given as much weight in determining degree of fault – such as interacting with animals, or playing with friends. In Kansas, a child like an adult will not be able to recover, however, if their degree of fault is greater than 50% of all fault involved in the injury.