Monday, June 28, 2010

Representing Injured Children: Try A New Communication Method (Well, New For Us Anyway But Not Them!!)

Representing children who've been injured in a collision or some other calamity can be a challenge. If they're at that "awkward age" (pre-or early teen, for example), many kids are reluctant to talk much or go into detail about their injuries, and for good reason. You as their attorney represent a stranger, an intruder into their already disrupted lives. Many of these children are stoic about what they're going through, even with their parents.

Yet, at the same time, we need to build a rapport with them as someone they can trust and open up to, even if on a limited basis. They need to have a comfort level about a process where they eventually may need to give a deposition or testify at a hearing.

Consider this: texting is now the preferred method of communication amongst teens (anyone who has children this age will consider this revelation about as enlightening as the fact that the sun rises and sets every day...). An astonishing 75% of 12-17 year olds own cell phones (source:

Recently I had the pleasure of representing a pre-teen child seriously injured in a bad collision. With full parental permission, occasionally I would get a text from the child. The topics were not really "injury related," but as we texted more about everyday stuff (hobbies, favorite websites) this child opened up more and it helped me understand a little better what the child was going through. And I think it helped establish trust along the way and eased some fears when it came time for me to explain things the child needed to know.

Mom really appreciated me taking the time to "talk" to her child in this manner. It is not a silver bullet and it has its limitations, but it illustrates that if you're going to effectively speak to any clients, even children, you need to speak their language. so try it n c., K? u might be suprised, LOL.

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