Major Differences in Handling Minors’ Claims

Posted by Michael Bruno on Aug 17, 2017 3:38:17 PM

Claim handling


In the July edition of CLM Magazine, Veritas Administrators’ Karen Swafford, P&C Claims Supervisor, and Howard L. Huntington, Partner at Bullaro & Carton P.C., published an article titled “Major Differences in Handling Minors’ Claims.”

I spoke with Karen to learn more about the article and why this is such an important subject for our customers to be aware of.

Mike: What prompted you and Howard to write the article "Major Differences in Handling Minors' Claims?"

Karen: Howard and I were talking about all the nuances of handling minor claims. Howard practices law here in Chicago; I have handled claims for the entire US for over 30 years. We thought what a great team we would make because we both have experience with handling minor claims. Add to that our multi-jurisdictional experience, we thought it would be great to collaborate and write an article to share our knowledge and expertise. 

We got together and identified the main talking points of the article to be sure we covered all aspects of this type of clam handling from start to finish. We then worked on the details of each topic.  

Claim handlingMike: What type of injuries are we talking about here? What are the most common injuries?  

Karen: The types of injuries can be anything from sexual molestation or soft tissue type injuries to broken bones, brain injury and fatalities. The most common types of injuries I see are cuts and lacerations requiring stitches or broken bones that sometimes require surgery. 

Mike: Can you give us an example of a claim involving an injury to a minor that on the surface seems simple but can quickly turn complex?  

Karen: I had a case in the southern part of the US where a child was cut on the foot while outside playing on the playground. Seems pretty simple—right? Well, the child did not have the best surroundings and developed an infection that became so serious the child ended up in the hospital. The case quickly went from simple laceration and stitches to full blown hospital stay with a serious threat to the body part and scarring. 

We felt that the parent did not properly take care of the wound or follow after-care instructions from medical providers thus resulting in the infection which complicated the claim. 

Mike: Approximately what percentage of these claims involve a law suit?

Karen: A low percentage of these cases go into litigation. In my own experience, approximately 5% to 10% are litigated. It usually isn’t necessary. The reason being is you cannot hold a child under the age of reason responsible for their actions or decision-making process or lack thereof. 

Mike: In your opinion, what is the single most important aspect of handling an injury claim for a minor versus an adult? 

Karen: I always keep in mind that there is no more sympathetic claimant than a child. You can hold an adult responsible for their own actions or negligence. You cannot put negligence on a minor child under the age of reason. Defending a claim involving a child is much more challenging because of this fact.


When handling a minor’s claim, there are several important issues for an adjuster to consider. These issues and the claim handling approach that adjusters should take from start to finish are covered in the article written by Karen and Howard.

To read the article in CLM Magazine, click on the link below:

Major Differences in Handling Minors’ Claims

claim handling

Topics: General Liability

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