Albany Child Injury Attorney
As parents, we come to accept that our children will fall and get hurt every once in a while. They take tumbles on the City School District of Albany playgrounds. They get bumped and bruised on Albany Little League and Albany Youth Soccer fields. They suffer cuts and scrapes in Pine Hills backyards and Buckingham Lake driveways.
Still, we can never escape the fear that our children might someday suffer an injury that we can’t treat with a Band-Aid, ice-pack, or kiss on the forehead. It’s every parent’s nightmare that an injury will instead disrupt our kids’ lives, their schooling, and their growth.
Unfortunately, that sort of serious childhood injury can happen in Albany, and when it does, injured children and their parents often need financial support to pay for medical care and other unexpected expenses.
The skilled child injury lawyers at Finkelstein & Partners can help. We represent Albany families in legal actions seeking compensation for childhood injuries caused by someone else’s failure to keep children safe. Call our Albany office for a free case evaluation.
About Finkelstein & Partners
Founded in 1959, Finkelstein & Partners is an award-winning law firm serving the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, and Upstate New York. From the start, our law firm treated its staff and clients like family. We have grown from a single office opened by our founder, Howard S. Finkelstein, to a firm of more than 85 attorneys and 170 para-professionals led by Howard’s son, Andrew Finkelstein, as the firm’s managing partner.
To our core, Finkelstein & Partners is a law firm that understands the hopes and joys of parenthood, and the strain and heartache that accompany a child suffering a serious injury. Parents of injured children in Albany come to us at one of the most upsetting moments of their lives. They need our help to hold parties who harmed their children accountable. We are always ready to come to their aid.
Our mission in any case in which a child has suffered serious injuries is to secure maximum compensation that ensures the child and family have the financial support they need not just to heal from an injury, but to thrive. Over our decades of law practice, we have delivered results time and again for families facing the nightmare of a serious childhood injury. We invite you to contact us today to learn how we can help your family during this difficult, stressful time.
Common Causes of Albany Childhood Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries kill more than 9,000 children per year in the United States. They also send millions of American children to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.
Leading causes of childhood injury in the U.S. include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Poisoning (including long-term toxic exposures);
- Fires & burns;
- Firearms accidents; and
- Sports and recreation.
These are just some of the mechanisms that can cause injury to children in Albany. No matter how a child suffers an injury, the team at Finkelstein & Partners possesses the resources and know-how to investigate the facts and to identify the at-fault party or parties who should bear financial responsibility.
Severe Childhood Injuries and Their Impacts
Numerous injuries can result from preventable accidents and incidents that harm Albany children.
Over our decades of law practice, Finkelstein & Partners lawyers have succeeded in securing compensation for virtually all of them, including:
Albany children risk suffering traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries alike.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) commonly occurs when a child sustains a violent blow or jolt to the head or body, or a penetrating injury like a gunshot wound. They commonly occur in car accidents, falls, and while participating in youth sports.
A TBI can take a significant toll on a child’s growth and development, affecting their abilities to think, reason, move, express emotion, and interact socially. Concussions constitute the most common form of TBI suffered by Albany children. If ignored or left untreated, a concussion can have long-term negative effects on a child’s cognition, concentration, and sleep, and puts a child at serious risk of re-injury.
A non-traumatic brain injury can occur in any circumstance in which a child’s brain tissue sustains damage from a cause other than a violent external force. Drowning, poisoning (including long-term exposure to an environmental toxin like lead paint dust), birth complications, and illnesses that involve brain swelling, like meningitis, can all inflict brain injuries in children.
As with TBIs, these non-traumatic brain injuries can have profound negative impacts on a child’s cognitive, motor, emotional, and social abilities.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Any injury to the spinal cord threatens to transform a child’s and family’s life. By interrupting the transmission of messages between a child’s brain and body, a spinal cord injury (SCI) may leave a child paralyzed, unable to feel or control limbs and bodily functions.
Unlike some forms of childhood trauma, spinal cord injuries rarely heal. Instead, they often confine a child to a wheelchair permanently, shorten a child’s lifespan, and limit a child’s life opportunities.
Spinal cord injuries in Albany children can happen through violent trauma, such as from a motor vehicle accident, fall, collision on the playing field, or gunshot wound. They can also occur through non-violent mechanisms, such as when a medical professional fails to diagnose or treat a childhood illness that causes swelling or malformation of the spinal cord.
No matter the cause, an SCI will likely cost the child and child’s family millions in lifetime care expenses, according to The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
Burns, Scarring, and Disfigurement
Albany children sustain severe burns from house fires, by touching dangerously hot objects in the home like stovetops or wood stoves, by spills and other contact with scalding water, and through exposure to caustic chemicals such as those found in household drain cleaners. They can also suffer other injuries that, like burns, leave them badly scarred or disfigured, including cases of severe road rash, and traumatic injuries resulting from playing with dangerous implements like power tools or handguns.
Any injury that leaves a child scarred or disfigured risks causing a lifetime of difficulty and disability. In particular, children may endure severe emotional trauma in living with a visible scar or disfiguring injury.
Abuse and Neglect
Children suffer when adults seek to harm children and when adults who should know better turn a blind eye to children in harmful situations. Tragic accounts of sexual abuse, in particular, continue to emerge in connection with church and community organizations to whom Albany parents had entrusted their children’s care and safety.
Children who survive abuse and neglect by adults often live with deep emotional scars, and struggle with mental and physical health difficulties including depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress, and acts of self-harm.
Broken Bones, Lacerations, and Orthopedic Injuries
In contrast to many of the injuries above, bones mend, cuts heal, and injured tendons, ligaments, muscles repair often repair themselves as a child grows. Still, that does not mean that these injuries merit less consideration from child injury lawyers like the team at Finkelstein & Partners. Any injury to a child can cause significant physical, emotional, and financial pain, all of which deserve compensation if the careless or reckless actions of an adult caused that harm.
How We Help Injured Albany Children and Their Families
Many of us at Finkelstein & Partners are parents ourselves. We understand the pain and trauma that a severe childhood injury can inflict. We wish our work on behalf of injured children and their families in Albany could make that difficulty disappear. Of course, we also know it can’t.
What we can do, however, is work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to ensure that they receive as much compensation as possible to support them while they heal from and adapt to a severe childhood injury. Money cannot erase the harm a child has suffered, but it can provide an essential foundation for the child’s growth, development, and success.
We Target Parties Whose Actions Harmed Children
Albany parents who seek our help after their child has suffered a preventable injury want to hold the at-fault party accountable. Our job, in large part, is to identify any party or parties who bear legal liability for a child’s injury under New York or other applicable law.
As a general rule, everyone owes an obligation to keep children safe from harm by making reasonable decisions and taking reasonable actions. Individuals, businesses, schools, organizations, and others who fail in that basic obligation, by engaging in unreasonably dangerous conduct or neglecting the safety of children their actions affect, owe compensation for the harm they cause.
Every Albany child injury case we handle at Finkelstein & Partners presents a unique set of facts and circumstances for our team to examine, but our goal in every one is essentially identical: to pinpoint the at-fault parties, as well as those answerable for the at-fault party’s actions.
That may include, for example:
- Careless motorists who cause car accidents that injure children;
- Adults other than parents who fail to keep dangerous items, like toxic household cleaners or guns, out of children’s hands;
- Property owners who do not take reasonable steps to prevent children from accessing potentially dangerous features of their properties, like unfenced backyard swimming pools, untended construction materials, or unlocked vehicles;
- Individuals who abuse or neglect children, and the schools, churches, and organizations that failed to prevent that harm from occurring;
- Manufacturers of defective and dangerous consumer goods, including household appliances and toys, that can harm children;
- Coaches, sports leagues, and school athletic departments that fail to take reasonable steps to protect young athletes from injuries and illnesses during practices and competitions.
These are merely some examples of parties we may seek to hold accountable for a child’s injury in Albany. Contact our team for a free consultation to discuss who may owe financial compensation for the injury your child suffered.
We Pursue the Full Range of Compensation Possible
The Finkelstein & Partners team also works diligently to understand, prove, and pursue maximum compensation for injured children and their families. Just as no two Albany child injury cases present the same set of facts, so too, the potential range and types of compensation a child and family may recover vary widely.
We put special emphasis on listening closely to injured children and their family members to gain a detailed understanding of the ways an injury has taken its toll on their lives, activities, and relationships. Then, we set to work devising a strategy for obtaining as much compensation as possible, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The particulars of the strategy we recommend and ultimately pursue can vary, but it often includes taking legal action in New York court seeking payment from the at-fault party or parties for:
- A child’s current and future medical care for an injury;
- Current and future out-of-pocket expenses a family will incur because of that injury;
- Income an injured child’s parent misses earning while caring for an injured child;
- Loss of future income suffered by the child because of disabilities that limit the child’s opportunities;
- The child’s pain and suffering, including emotional and social struggles, due to the injury; and
- Sometimes, punitive damages that punish the actions that caused the child’s injury.
If a child tragically dies from injuries, our team can also help families seek compensation for the child’s wrongful death.
Albany parents, like all parents, live with the constant worry that their child might sustain a serious injury in a preventable accident. The opportunities for those injuries are seemingly endless, from motor vehicle accidents on I-787 and falls on an Albany City Schools playground to mishaps on playing fields at Washington Park.
Parents of children who sustain injuries in incidents around Albany frequently have lots of questions about whether and how to seek compensation from at-fault parties for harming their child. We answer some common questions in the FAQ below, and you can always also contact us to learn more about your child’s rights.
How do I know if I have a case for my child’s injury?
Kids get hurt from time to time, more so than adults. Albany parents sometimes figure that because childhood injuries are a normal part of growing up, a child getting hurt in a preventable accident might not constitute enough reason to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
That’s an understandable instinct, but it’s often incorrect. Yes, children suffer injuries, and no, not every bump and bruise your child sustains should send you running to the courthouse. But parents also have strong gut instincts for situations in which their child really shouldn’t have gotten hurt, that an adult could and should have taken reasonable steps to keep their child safe.
If you feel that instinct after your child suffers harm, trust it. Chances are you’re right, and that a lawyer can assist you in seeking the compensation you and your child deserve to pay medical expenses and other costs of your child’s injury.
Does my child have the same right to compensation as an adult in Albany?
In general, yes. For the most part, children have a right to receive compensation for their injuries in the same way adults do. The specific types of compensation a child might recover, however, can differ from compensation awarded to adults.
Typically, the compensation in a child injury lawsuit falls into two broad categories.
- Economic damages consist of financial impacts of an accident and injury, such as medical and other costs, and lost wages and income from missing work. In child injury cases, many of these financial impacts are usually borne by the child’s parents, rather than the child directly. Parents may therefore have the right to seek compensation on their own behalf for certain expenses or losses they personally incurred because of the harm their child suffered.
- Non-economic damages consist of the host of other, non-financial life challenges and difficulties that accompany a child’s injury, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, diminished quality of life, and the disruption of the child’s social development. Because a child may have fewer economic damages than an adult with a comparable injury, these damages often constitute an important component of damages sought in a child injury lawsuit.
Experienced Albany child injury lawyers work closely with injured children and their families to assess the full scope of harm they have suffered, to ensure that any legal action seeks as much compensation as possible.
What happens to the money from a personal injury claim filed on my child’s behalf in Albany?
Laws in New York protect the money a child receives from a lawsuit. The money belongs to the child, and oftentimes the court will order it deposited into a separate account for the child to be held in trust for the child’s benefit until the child reaches adulthood.
In other words, a child is not simply given money from a personal injury settlement or jury award, to spend as he or she pleases. The law recognizes this would not be a responsible thing to do. Instead, courts limit access to those funds so that they pay for a limited set of financial needs during childhood, with any remainder held until the child can make informed decisions about how to spend or invest it.
What is the time limit on filing a child injury personal injury claim in Albany?
Under New York law, in most cases, a child generally has three years after turning eighteen to file a personal injury claim for any injuries sustained during childhood. Cases involving harm due to medical malpractice are an exception. If your child suffers injuries as a result of negligence or other wrongful conduct by a healthcare provider, the claim must be filed within ten years of the harmful act.
Just because a child has until their 21st birthday (in most cases) to pursue legal action for damages arising from a childhood injury, however, does not mean that’s always the best option. In fact, in many cases, it is not a good idea to wait until the child turns 18 to allow the child to decide if and when to take legal action.
Instead, parents can (and often should) pursue legal action on their child’s behalf soon after the child gets hurt, when evidence is fresh and a skilled lawyer can make the strongest possible case for damages. Taking prompt legal action also assists families with expenses related to a child’s injury, which can be particularly important in cases where a child suffers severely disabling trauma, such as a spinal cord injury, that requires expensive ongoing care.
Our experienced child injury lawyers in Albany encourage parents to contact us right away after a child gets hurt, to make sure they have the best possible opportunity to secure the compensation they deserve.
An insurance company representing the business where my child got hurt offered a settlement. Should I take it?
Be careful. We strongly encourage anyone who receives a settlement offer like the one described to consult with an experienced child injury attorney in Albany before agreeing to anything and before signing any document.
Insurance companies that know their policyholders face legal liability sometimes try to offer quick but low settlements to limit their financial exposure for a child’s injury in Albany. The amounts they offer often fall far short of what the child needs and deserves. Insurance companies intentionally offer low-value settlements in hopes the child’s parents will agree to take the money before speaking with an attorney and finding out how much money they and their child actually have a right to receive.
Working with an experienced Albany child injury lawyer protects you and your child from these underhanded tactics. A lawyer knows how to evaluate the current and future financial impact of a child’s injury, to ensure that you know exactly how much money you should receive. Attorneys also understand how to negotiate with insurance companies to convince them to pay what their policyholders truly owe. Oftentimes, those negotiations result in a far higher settlement offer than what the insurance company initially put forward.
Can I file a personal injury claim on my child’s behalf if my child suffered an injury in an Albany school?
Yes, it’s possible to sue for injuries your child suffered at a public or private school in Albany. Schools have a special duty to keep children safe. The failure by teachers, administrators, and staff to protect children from harm can amount to a profound betrayal of trust for which those individuals, and the institution they work for, should be held accountable.
Taking legal action against a school can pose a variety of challenges, however, so it’s important to select a lawyer who has years of experience advocating in Albany-area courts on behalf of injured children. For example, a public school is a government entity, which means that special laws and deadlines apply to when and how parents of an injured child may pursue a claim. And, no matter what type of school bears the blame for a child’s injury, taking legal action can raise questions about the child’s education and wellbeing that it may take a seasoned legal advisor to answer.
What are a family’s rights if a child dies as a result of child injuries in Albany?
The tragedy of a child’s death causes unfathomable pain and suffering to parents, siblings, and other loved ones, for which the parties at fault should be held accountable. A wrongful death lawsuit cannot begin to fill the void left by the loss of a child, but it can provide essential financial support to a family during a time of immense personal difficulty.
A skilled Albany child injury lawyer can represent grieving parents and family members in all aspects of taking legal action, working with authorities, managing the media, and the countless other necessities and challenges that arise after a child’s death.
Will my child have to testify in court?
Parents understandably worry about the trauma to a child—particularly a young child—of testifying in a court proceeding. The answer to the question above is that it’s unlikely, but still possible, that an injured child would have to testify. Most Albany child injury cases settle out of court before the potential need arises to put a child on a witness stand.
In the unlikely event that a child does need to testify (or participate in any other court-supervised process), parents can rest assured that their attorney, and Albany-area courts, will take all measures necessary to protect the child from emotional trauma. Children should never have to be subjected to additional harm merely to obtain compensation for injuries wrongfully inflicted on them.
How long does it take to settle an Albany child injury claim?
A settlement is an agreement to resolve a legal dispute. In child injury cases, a settlement typically involves the at-fault party (and its insurance company) paying money to the injured child, in exchange for the child releasing that party from future liability.
As mentioned above, most (but not all) child injury cases in Albany settle without the need for a trial. But that doesn’t mean they all settle on the same timeline. In fact, the duration of a legal matter from start-to-settlement can vary widely.
Factors affecting the timeline may include:
- The time necessary to evaluate the child’s medical condition and develop a prognosis
- The availability of evidence and need for investigation
- The number of parties involved in any legal action
- The degree of dispute over important issues like liability or the proper amount of compensation
Most of these factors are not within any one party’s ability to control. Parents of injured children in Albany do, however, control one important aspect of the timeline for their child’s case: when they speak with an experienced Albany attorney. The sooner they take that important step, the sooner the rest of the matter can take its course.
Does my child have a claim for an injury suffered at a private residence in Albany?
It’s possible. In fact, many preventable child injuries in Albany occur in and around private homes. Backyard swimming pool accidents, for example, commonly contribute to severe child injuries. A homeowner who fails to safely maintain a pool, monitor children’s use of it, or prevent children from accessing it without permission may face legal liability for a child’s injuries.
In fact, in New York, all property owners have a special duty to ensure the safety of children on their properties. Under what is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine, property owners must take reasonable steps to prevent children from getting hurt by any feature of a property that may tend to attract children to play on, in, or around it (like a pool, a trampoline, or even a big pile of dirt). Property owners owe this duty even to children who do not have permission to come onto their properties because children often do not appreciate safety hazards the same way adults do.
An Experienced Albany Child Injury Attorney Can Answer Your Questions
Did your child suffer an injury in Albany that an adult should have taken reasonable steps to prevent? Do you have questions about your legal and financial options? If so, contact an experienced Albany child injury attorney today at Finkelstein & Partners for a free consultation to learn about your rights.
Compassionate, Knowledgeable Child Injury Lawyers in AlbanyYou and your child have a right to compensation for the pain and expense inflicted by a preventable injury caused by someone else’s wrongful actions. For over 60 years, the compassionate, committed child injury lawyers of Finkelstein & Partners have helped Albany families like yours secure the money you need and deserve.
1707 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205