As adults, it is our duty to protect the children in our community, even if they are not our own flesh and blood. Far too many children in South Carolina don’t have anyone looking out for them. Whether they are in foster care or state-run facilities, they don’t have a voice when they are abused or neglected.
At Hite & Stone, we do all we can to be their voice and to fight on their behalf against their abusers or those who allow the abuse to continue. We also fight for fair compensation for children who have been injured in accidents due to the negligent actions of adults. If you are concerned about the well-being of a child, call our child injury and abuse lawyers for help.
Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
If you suspect or are aware of child abuse or neglect, please notify your local law enforcement agency immediately. If you have already done so and don’t feel like sufficient action has been taken, Hite & Stone may be able to help with the case by representing the child’s interests. It is possible that the abused child has a claim against the person who abused him or the agency or institution that allowed it to happen.
If you work or volunteer with children, it is important to be on the alert for signs of abuse. Some indications of abuse can include the following:
- Marks on the skin, including bruises, abrasions, burns, and lacerations.
- Behavioral changes, including anxiety, depression, aggression, and withdrawal.
- An unwillingness or fear of returning home.
- Use of drugs or alcohol.
- Inappropriate sexualized behavior or use of explicit language.
- Changes in attendance or performance in school.
- Reports or mention of sleeping problems, or habitual tiredness.
- Extreme loss or gain of weight.
- Difficulty walking or sitting.
Children who are being neglected often exhibit the following signs:
- Consistently poor hygiene.
- Inadequate clothing.
- Continuous or consistent illness.
- Frequent complaints of hunger, dangerously low weight, or noticeable lack of food.
- Lack of supervision or reports of lack of supervision.
No matter how small your suspicions may be, it is of the utmost importance that you investigate the situation or alert the appropriate authorities. When there is a possibility that a child is being abused—whether physically or emotionally—it is always better to be on the side of safety and call someone to investigate.
Statute of Limitations
It is important that cases of child abuse or neglect are reported as soon as possible after the abuse is discovered as there are limits on the amount of time an abused child has to file a claim against the abuser. The laws are complex, but in general, a child who is abused has until he or she turns 19 to file a claim against the abuser. If the abuse was sexual, the victim may file a claim until he reaches age 27. However, there are exceptions to these limits and every case of child abuse—no matter how long ago the abuse took place—should be discussed with an attorney to determine if it’s still possible to file a civil suit. These rules apply to anyone wishing to report the abuse, including a parent, guardian, attorney for the victim, or the victim herself after her 18th birthday. Please call our child abuse attorneys if you were a victim of abuse as a child or you suspect a child in your life has been or is being abused.
Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries in Children
When a child is injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, dog attack, or any other incident caused by a negligent adult, he should be compensated for his medical bills and pain and suffering. We represent children who have been injured in serious accidents and help them recover the damages to which they are entitled.
Common injury accidents involving children include the following:
- Motor vehicle crashes. When a child is injured in a car crash, whoever is responsible for the crash should be made to compensate the child for the medical bills and emotional trauma he has suffered because of his injuries. We are proud to represent the interests of the injured child in these kinds of motor vehicle accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents. Children are not always predictable near streets or in parking lots, and drivers must be extra cautious in neighborhoods and near playgrounds and schools. When a careless motorist or inattentive bus driver hits a child, he should be held accountable.
- Dog bites. Children are the most frequent victims of dog bite injuries. When a child is attacked by a dog, the owner of the dog must take responsibility. Dog bites can cause serious injuries and life-threatening infections, leading to expensive medical treatment.
- Swimming pool accidents. The owner of a swimming pool is required by law to make sure that children are never unattended in or around the pool. When a child suffers a near-drowning—or worse, drowns—the property owner is liable under premises liability law.
When Children Die in Tragic Accidents
When any one of these terrifying scenarios leads to a child’s death, it is usually considered a “wrongful death,” meaning the child’s parents—assuming they are not the ones responsible for the accident—may be able to recover damages on behalf of the deceased child. These damages can cover final medical expenses, funeral costs, and compensate loved ones for their pain and suffering. A judge may also order punitive damages to punish the negligent party for his or her actions. At Hite & Stone, we handle child wrongful death claims with care and compassion.
Hite & Stone Is Here for Children
If you are aware of a child who needs help, contact our Abbeville law firm. We are proud to fight on behalf of our youngest citizens throughout the state of South Carolina. No child is too young and no case is too big for our compassionate, experienced child welfare attorneys.