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Case study: How a child's injury changes a family's life

When you're injured and you decide to seek compensation, you may be looking mostly at the direct costs. You missed work. You had to go to the hospital. You needed treatment and medication.

As the bills come in, you realize what you have to pay. The need for compensation, and the numbers, are clear.

But what if your child gets injured? These cases have to be fully developed. The impact can change a family's life forever. That child has a long life ahead of him or her, and injuries that will never heal could mean the child needs compensation for future costs -- which could far outweigh even immediate costs.

The World Health Organization took a look at the stories of a few different families whose children were seriously injured or killed in various accidents, such as falls and accidental poisonings. One of the girls who got hurt is named Martha, and her story really shows how a child's injury reaches out in waves and affects the family.

Martha was 6 years old when a toy fell into an uncovered well. The young girl tried to get it back, but she slipped and fell into that well after it.

Her father was close by, but he was working farther up the road, where he made a living selling produce. The girl's brother was the one who got to her first.

They were able to pull the young girl out of the well, and she was still alive. She wasn't crying, though, which was not a good sign, and her body was limp. Doctors worked quickly and got her breathing again, but she had to spend weeks in the hospital, in critical condition.

She did pull through. Unfortunately, the incident left her with mental disabilities that have not fully healed. She can't do normal daily activities without constant care and assistance.

Not only does this mean that the girl's life will never be the same, but her family may need to provide that care indefinitely. On top of that, the emotional damage to the brother who found her is significant. He can't shake the feeling that it was his fault. He thinks that, if he had been with his sister when her toy fell into the well, she would not have fallen in after it.

As a result, he's dropped out of school. His life has also been drastically changed by the incident, no matter how many times people tell him it was not his fault.

This difficult story shows that you must consider all sorts of factors when seeking compensation for a child's injuries. What are the real costs? How long will they last? Does the incident impact other family members? These are just a few of the critical questions to ask.

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