cal-0814-cl3-dogs-19In Florida, you will find dogs in every community.  Most dogs are well trained and friendly.  However, dogs are animals and their behavior, at times, can be somewhat unpredictable.  There are some dogs in the community who have a history of roaming and aggression.  Certainly, all dogs should be properly restrained and kept under control.  This is especially true for those dogs with a history of aggression.   Florida has some interesting laws in place as to dog bite incidents.  Florida, like some other states, has a strict liability rule in place for dog bites.  This means that a dog bite victim can pursue a case or claim against a dog owner WITHOUT having to prove that the dog had a prior history of aggression or biting.  Furthermore, there is no need to show that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog would have been dangerous in a certain situation.  In addition, it should be noted that the dog breed is typically irrelevant to the pursuit a claim.   The dog breed is less important that the dog who attacked the person.   Of course, the bigger the dog breed – the more damage or more serious injuries can be inflicted.
In Jacksonville, Florida, it was reported that a man was seriously injured when he was attacked by four Pit Bull breed dogs.  It was reported by the Florida Times Union and other news outlets that the dogs had a history of roaming through the neighborhood on prior occasions according to the neighbors.   As a result of the incident and the information gathered by animal control, the dogs involved in the attack and others were taken into custody by the City of Jacksonville Animal Control. A full investigation will be conducted to determine the facts of the attack and whether the dogs at issued will be classified as dangerous dogs. You can read more about this story at Jacksonville Florida Man Attacked by Four Pitfalls in Critical Condition.
It should be noted that leash laws are in effect for most of the 67 counties and for most municipalities. It is important for dog owners to comply with the leash laws and other Animal Laws in place.   As noted above, dog bite cases are governed by strict liability.  As such, as long as the dog bite victim was not a trespasser and did not otherwise affirmatively attack the dog at issue, there will be a case or claim to pursue by the dog bite owner. It should also be noted that the pursuit of many cases may hinge from a practical standpoint on the availability of homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, many dog owner / homeowners do not carry homeowner’s insurance that covers dog bite related personal injuries.   
When a person suffers serious personal injuries as a result of a dog bite, it is important that the person OR his or her family contact a Florida Dog Bite Attorney for advice, guidance, and legal representation.

Boat Wheel - Personal InjuryIn States like Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas among others, boating is a year round activity.  The warm weather and abundance of waterways and surrounding lakes, rivers, ponds, canals, and oceans provide a welcoming enviornment for those seeking to boat, fish, swim, water ski, and otherwise enjoy the day.   While boating can be great fun, it can also be dangerous for teens and children especially those who are not properly supervised and / or do not understand or follow basic safety measures.   There are just too many risks associated with boating to hand over the full responsibility to a teen or child.  Adult supervision is key to preventing injuries including those related to drowning or near drowning incidents.  This is especially true when there is bad weather, rough waters, or other conditions that lead to a capsizing incident.   It takes a certainly maturity, strength, and experience to properly react when there is an emergency.  Because of this, it makes it even more important to have adult supervision during any boating activity.  A teen or child may be a champion boater or swimmer.  Even for these talented and strong individuals, a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket should be worn at all times during boating related activities.  It may not be cool or comfortable to wear a life jacket but this one basic safety precaution can and does save lives.
Even with adult supervision, education is key to prevent injuries and drowning incidents for teens and children.  The captain / owner of the boat should carefully explain the rules and safety precautions to be followed while on the boat.   If a child is going to regularly be a guest on a boat, it may make sense for the child to attend a boating course. Of course, being able to swim is important as well.  If a child or teen is going out on a boat, it is better if the child or teen can swim.  If not, extra care should be taken to the extent possible to watch over and supervise the child while engaged in boating related activities.
If a child or teen is injured or drowns during boating related activities, is the boat owner liable for such injuries or the death of the child?  Well, like most legal issues, it will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the incident.  Let’s take an example.   Let’s say a 12 year old friend of the boat owner’s son goes out on the boat for a day of fishing.   The boat owner allows his son to take out the boat.  There is no adult supervision in place.   The boat owner does not contact the parents of the 12 year old for permission to have the child out on the boat.  The boat is not equipped with life jackets.  The two boys go out for a leisurely day of fishing.   Rough weather ended up capsizing the small boat and the 12 year old drowned.   The boat owner’s son was later rescued by the Coast Guard.  Had the 12 year old been wearing a life jacket, the drowning would most likely have been avoided.  Under these facts, there can be a claim or case on behalf of the estate of the deceased child due to the negligence of the boat owner. It should be noted that each case or incident should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  Let’s take another example.  A 17 year old boy is invited as a guest on a neighbor’s boat with the permission of his parents.   While on the boat, the 17 year old got drunk with alcohol he brought with him from his own house.  While horsing around on the boat, the 17 year old slips off the boat.  Just prior to falling off the boat, he was wearing a life jacket but decided it would be cooler to go without the life jacket.  The boat owner was on the boat at the time and otherwise providing reasonable supervision of the 17 year old and the other teens on the boat.  Under this fact pattern, it may be difficult to pursue a case on the theory that the boat owner was negligent in some manner.  The 17 year old hid the alcohol by pouring it into a soda bottle.  Furthermore, the 17 year old disobeyed clear instructions to keep his life jacket on and to otherwise behalf while on the boat.  Of course, more facts will need to be determined to better analyze the potential liability (if any) of a case or claim of this nature. It should be noted that in the State of Florida – a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held to be comparatively at fault in any manner.  As such, any child 6 years of age or older can be held comparatively at fault.  Seeing that the actions of a 17 year old are being considered, it is quite possible that 100 % or nearly 100 % of fault may be assessed against the 17 year old.
Personal injury and wrongful death cases related to boating accidents and incidents can be quite complicated and confusing. Because of this, it is important for the parent of the injured child to consult with a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, consultation, and when appropriate legal representation.
The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act – is a good resource for parents seeking information on claims or cases involving the wrongful or negligent death of a child. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.

medical_1000006509-120613intDuring the summer time and other parts of the year in Florida, it is common to see children especially toddlers on bicycles and riding toys on or near driveways.   A good question is the following:
What riding toys are dangerous on or near driveways?
The answer to this question may surprise you.  The answer is all of the riding toys are dangerous.   This is because there are risks of personal injuries to any child on a riding toy or bicycle on or near the driveway.   Let’s say an example to discuss.  A 4 year old child is riding his three wheel cycle on the drivveway.  Like many such toys, this three wheeler is low to the ground and below the vision of most drivers.   While there are backup cameras in many newer model vehicles, a child riding a low three wheeler can often times be missed by a driver who is backing out of of driveway or driving into a driveway.   Also, children lack good safety judgment.   A 4 year old who is not being supervised can easily ride right into the street and into traffic.  This can, in turn, lead to serious personal injuries to the child.  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Drive slowly in all residential areas and all other areas where she are playing;
If children are present, it is probably a good idea to drive below the posted speed limit;
Riding toys that are low to the ground can be equipped with a flag to make the riding toy and the child on riding toy more visible;
Supervise children at all times while a child is playing outside;
Make sure that all children – no matter the age or size of the riding toy or bicycle – wear a helmet; and
Teach and enforce safety precautions for children.
When a child is injured due to the negligence orr careless driving of a driver, there may be a cause of action or claim to pursue.  These cases can be quite complicated.  As such, it makes sense to consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.
The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legaly Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Should Know After the Accident – has chapters on Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Wrongful Death, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

Ferris Wheel - Amusement Park InjuriesFlorida is a tourist destintation in part because of the warm weather, beaches, and, yes the variety of theme parks including but not limited to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Lego Land.  When a person is injured at a Florida theme park, there are many questions, issues, and challenges that arise.  Believe me, the theme park managers and workers are well aware of the risk of injury to guests. In addition, the managers and workers have been trained and instructed as to the potential for lawsuits and insurance claims from these incidents.  If an incident report is prepared, there is no duty that the theme park provide the guest a copy.  Furthermore, the preparation of the incident report is not to make the claim easier for the guest but to document the circumstances of the incident especially the actions by the staff to defend the case in the future if a claim or lawsuit is pursued by the guest.   Here are the four basic elements that need to be proved to establish a case or claim against a Florida theme park:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Caustion; and
4. Damages.
A theme park is not an absolute insurer of the safety of guests including the visitors who are children.  That seems like a complicated statement. Let’s simplify it.  Just because an injury takes place on the grounds of a theme park – that does not mean that the theme park is liable or responsible for the injuries and medical bills.   Here is an example.  A child is walking on the grounds of the theme park. Out of the blue, the child collapses and is taken to the local hospital. It is determined that the child had a congenital defect with her heart.   Under this basic fact scenario, the theme park did not cause or contribute to the child’s collapse or condition in any manner. The theme park’s only connection with this medical incident or complication is that the child collapsed while visiting the theme park.   Under this fact scenario, there would be no liability or responsibility on behalf of the theme park, its managers, or its employees.
Let’s now explore a different scenario.  A child is visiting the food court area of a theme park.  Near the ketchup and condiment area, the child was cut or lacerated by a sharp edge. The trim around the edge of the counter was worn and ripped away.   The child required nine stitches.  Under this scenario, it appears that the theme park and its staff knew or should have known about the dangerous area.  There was a duty to properly and reasonably maintain the food court area and the theme park breached this duty.  As a result of the breach of duty (causation), the child suffered injuries (damages) in the form of the laceration to the hand.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

Kids Block Spelling Dad As Symbol for Fatherhood And ParentingOne basic duty of every day care center is to supervise the children to make sure that the children do not wander out of the facility and into harm’s way.  The fact is that most day care centers are located on or near a busy road or expressway.   The busy roads are dangerous.  The parking lots are also dangerous to children especially toddlers who have very poor safety awareness.  Keeping a child safe should be a priority for every day care center.  Unfortunately, some day care centers are not so diligent with the supervision of the children.  Doors are left open, facilities are not kept in good repair, and most importantly supervision is lax.  Many day care centers put profits or income over the safety and supervision of the children.  Many hire low paying personnel with little or no training.  Furthermore, many such day care center workers are not motivated to put in a hard day’s work and do as little as possible just to get through the day and to the next paycheck. Of course, there are many hard working child care providers out there who work diligently to keep children safe and well supervised during the day.
When a child wanders out of a day care facility, the consequences can be disastrous and even deadly.  What if a chid wanders away from a day care center?  Can the center be sued?  These are common but excellent questions. There are four basic elements to bring forth a legal case or lawsuit against a day care center.
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
Let’s explore two different similar cases that have different outcomes or damages.
Case #1.
A three year old child wanders out of the front door of the day care center.  He wanders into the street and crosses the road.  He is fortunately spotted by a local police officer who brings him back to the day care center facility. The parents are notified.  The three year old was scared but did not suffer any physical injuries and soon forgot about the whole incident. The three year old thought it was an adventure of sorts rather than a scary moment in time.
Case #2
A three year old child wanders out of the front door of the day care center.  He wanders into the street and crosses the road.  The child then attempts to cross the road again and then is hit by a vehicle. The child suffered broken / fractured leg as a result of the incident.
Case Analysis
In both case examples, the day care center breached its duty of supervision by allowing a three year old child to wander out of the facility.   The damages, however, in each case are quite different. In Case #1, the child was scared for a moment in time but seemed to get over the ordeal rather quickly.  In Case #2, the child suffered a broken/ fractured leg.
The damages for Case #2 are more tangible than those in Case #1.  Could a case be pursued for the incident as described in Case #1? The answer is possibly.   Case #1 lacks some physical injuries and will lack documentation showing the “damages”, injuries, or harm caused by the incident.
The book titled – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents – has chapters on Indoor Facilities, Outdoor Facilities, Emergency Procedures, Incident Reports, and other topics. You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.

Very High Scorching Temperature Shown On A Big Thermostat

Hot Cars – Risks to Children

In Florida and other states, the heat during the summer months as well as other times of the year present a constant danger to children being transported by day care centers, summer camp, schools, parents, relatives, and friends.  It is vital that children are removed from a vehicle when the destination is reached.  A quick run in to the dry cleaners, school, convenience store, and other locations can result in serious personal injuries and even death to a child left behind.   For this article, the focus is heat related complications and illnesses; however, a child, who is left alone, in a vehicle can choke on small object, get his or her head caught in a power windows, become entangled or even strangulated by a seat belt, mobile phone wire, or other object, and otherwise get injured or harmed in other ways.  It is important that all hazards are removed form the vehicle and that a child is never – ever left unattended in a vehicle.   The safety of the child should always take priority over the convenience of the driver or adult supervisors.   In this day and age, we just have too many distractions in place that take our attention away from what is the most important job at hand – the proper supervision of children.   Here are some tips to keep in mind and use when transporting children.  Following these and other safety measures can save a child from the harm or injury associated with heat exposure.

*Never ever leave a child unattended in a vehicle;
*When running into a store or location for an errand, always bring the child in with you.  The safest place for the child is with the adult.  If you are going to an unsafe place or one that is not suitable for a child, then do not bring the child with you. Make other arrangements. 
*Use a stuffed animal as a reminder to remove the child from the vehicle.  Put the stuffed animal in the front seat.  If there is a stuffed animal in the front seat when you reach the destination, this will serve as a reminder to remove the child from the vehicle. 
*Make it a habit of opening the back door to the vehicle any time that you make a stop regardless if there is a child in the vehicle or not.  This will put a habit in place to insure that no child is every left alone or unattended in the vehicle. 
*Use the drive thru areas whenever possible. This is much safer than leaving the child behind. 
*Put the phone away. Phone calls and texts can be distracting especially if you are in the midst of a call when you reach your destination.  You may be so involved with the call or issue at hand that you forget all about the child. 
Of course, these are just a few of many safety measures that can be put in place. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – has chapters on Automobile School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries,  Water Park and Swimming Injuries and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 

Vehicle - Large SUV OrangeHit and run accidents are unfortunately part of every community. There are drivers who carelessly cause accidents and injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles and then simply flee the scene.  Some are caught in the act or thereafter. Others are never located.  For those who are located, there can be both criminal and civil law consequences to these actions.   For many of these hit and run accidents, the at-fault driver lacks insurance OR lacks good insurance to cover the accident related personal injuries, bills, and damages.  If there is no insurance or just minimal insurance, there are other sources of compensation to accident / injury victims in the State of Florida as follows:
Victim of Crimes Compensation Fund.  An injury victim can claim up to $10,000 through a fund set up through the State of Florida. The process can be started through the local sheriff’s office or the local state attorney’s office. 
PIP (Personal Injury Protection).   The injury victim can utilize available PIP benefits under a vehicle owned by the victim or owned by a resident relative of a victim.   If a parent has an automobile insurance policy, the medical bills for the injured child can be processed under the parents’ PIP insurance policy even if the child was injured as  pedestrian or a bicyclist.
Medical Payment Coverage.  This coverage works similar to PIP coverage but is optional coverage in the State of Florida.  Many vehicle owners do not have such coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage or Underinsured Motorist Coverage.  This is an optional type of insurance coverage but so important especially when dealing with a hit and run type of crash.  Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist can provide benefits or coverage for an injured child as a passenger, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist.   UM coverage can range from $10,000 to over $1 million.   
Certainly, a child deserves compensation when he or she suffers personal injuries as a result of a hit and run accident that is caused by the careless or negligent driving of another person. It is quite another question and challenge to secure the benefits that can be obtained as compensation for the personal injuries associated with such a hit and run accident. 
The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Should Know After the Accident – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Wrongful Death, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning. 

Resort - Beach - Personal InjuriesFlorida is a well known tourist destination for parents, children, and families across the nation as well as the rest of the world. After all, we have Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and, yes, Lego Land. In addition to these well known attractions and theme parks, we have beaches and coast line in all part of Florida including the Panhandle, Florida Keys, and elsewhere.  For most vacationers, the time spent in Florida is quite enjoyable.  For some, the worst that happens on a trip to Florida is a bit of sunburn and mild exhaustion from all of the sites to see and visit. For others, the Florida vacation marks the time in which a child or another friend or family member suffers a serious personal injury.  For some, Florida marks the spot where a person dies as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another person, business, or government entity.
When a person is visiting from another state or country, where should the case or claim be filed if the incident takes place in the State of Florida?  The typical answer to this question is the State of Florida.  If an accident or incident takes place in the State of Florida, a claim or case can be brought because of Florida laws allows for the pursuit of a claim or case regardless of residency in or outside of Florida.   Jurisdiction would be proper for the following types of cases:  automobile accident, playground injury, premises liability case, slip and fall, pedestrian accidents, and other types of incidents.
It should be noted that the laws related to the rights of compensation vary from State to State and can even vary from the type of case pursued.  The personal injury related laws in the State of Florida can be quite restrictive.  There are notice provisions for certain cases and all personal injury cases are subject to one or more statute of limitations.  Because of the complexity of Florida law, a parent should contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation to advocate for the best interests of the child and to secure the rightful compensation on behalf of the injured child.
Of course, jurisdiction or where a claim or case should be pursued is just one of many puzzle pieces to the entire claim. There are many other issues including how to handle follow up medical care, past medical care, future medical care, past medical bills, future medical bills, and many other challenges to these cases.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Injuries, Shopping Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

Bicycle - Child InjuryIn Florida as well as other states, it is still common to read about children being injured in bicycle accidents with motor vehicles.  Let’s face it – a bicycle is no match for a vehicle of any size.  When a child is hit while riding a bicycle, tricycle, or riding toy, there can be significant personal injuries and, in some instances, the tragic death of a child.  It is important for drivers of all ages to slow down any time that there are children in the area whether they are pedestrians or bicycle riders.  It should also be noted that children have poor safety awareness.  As such, a driver should be on the alert for any sudden or unsafe actions by the children in the area.
When a child is injured as a result of the negligence or carelessness of a driver, there are many issues and challenges faced by the parents and the injured child.   Who is going to pay for the medical bills? Is a parent’s wage loss a covered expense under insurance policies? Where can the child get follow up care and treatment if there is no health insurance or Medicaid?  What insurance is required for the at-fault driver?  What insurance is required for the at-fault vehicle owner?  When can a child get the compensation he or she deserved for the accident related personal injuries?   Are there any restrictions when dealing with the settlement on behalf of a minor child?  These are just a few questions of many that arise in these situations.  Because of the complexity of these cases and the importance of acting in the best interests of the injured child, a parent should seek out legal representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer  for advice, guidance, and, yes, legal representation.
A crash or accident can take place at any time of the day and at any location.   A child could get run over or hit in a driveway, near a park, and even while just casually walking on or riding on a sidewalk.   In Florida, there is a concept called the Dangerous Instrumentality Law.  This means that the owner of a vehicle is liable for the injuries caused by an automobile / bicycle accident if the owner consented to the driver’s use of the vehicle. There can be implied consent and there can be express consent.
The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident –  has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Wrongful Death, Hit and Run, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

vibrant swimming pool side with ladder

Swimming Pool Drowning

Disney and other theme parks are magical.  For some, they are a place where dreams come true.  For others, they are a place that sadly are a reminder of a horrible tragedy in the form of a death or a serious personal injury of a child.   It was recently reported that a 3 year old child drowned at the Disney World – Art of Animation Resort located in Kissimmee (Orlando), Florida.  It was reported that the 3 year old child was found in the pool at approximately 8:00 p.m.  The child was found underwater.   The child was then taken to a local hospital where the child was pronounced dead.   What a terrible ordeal for all involved.

There are a number of legal and safety issues involved with an incident that takes place at Disney World and other theme parks.   First, it is well known that Disney and other theme parks cater to children and families.  The marketing dollars and attractions are geared to attracting children and their families to visit the park and, yes, spend money.  Disney and other theme parks have a business to run and there is nothing wrong with that; however, with the operation of any business, there is a responsibility to maintain the property and common areas in a reasonably safe condition.  Can all incidents leading to injury be prevented?  The answer is certainly no.  However, Disney, theme parks, and hotels have a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition taking into consideration the needs, abilities, and disabilities of the guests including but not limited to children, toddlers, and infants.   Toddlers are unique guests.   They can walk and tend to wander and explore.   It is well known with toddlers that they lack good safety awareness and often fail to follow instructions.  In the State of Florida, the disabilities and poor judgment of toddlers and other young children are built into the law.  A child under the age of 6 years old in the State of Florida can be held liable for comparatively at fault for his or her actions.   However, this does not absolve a parent or other family member of the responsibility to supervise and monitor the child.
While visiting a theme park, attraction, resort, or hotel, the management needs to be aware of the concept of the attractive nuisance. Children especially toddlers love to explore.   An attractive nuisance can be something that is actually built for fun like a playground, pool, water park, and other area.  An attractive nuisance can also be an unlocked chemical closet with a wide array of brightly colored chemicals and tools.   It is anyplace where a child may get into to explore, wander around, play, and, yes potentially suffer serious personal injuries and in some cases even die.  The swimming pool area is prime example of an attractive nuisance.  It is an area that should be enclosed and kept out of the reach and exploration of a child especially a toddler.
The liability or responsibility of a theme park, attraction, resort, or hotel for a drowning or other type of personal injury will depend on proving the following essential elements:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
Cases related to the supervision and maintenance of a swimming pool can be very complicated.  Many issues arise with these cases including the following:
What is the duty of the property owner or management company to have lifeguards in place?
How should the swimming pool area be secured after hours?
What supervision should be in place during operating hours for the swimming pool?
What kind of fences, enclosures, gates, and / or alarms should be in place for the swimming pool?
Was the drowning incident foreseeable or preventable?
A Florida Child Injury Lawyer can more fully explain the concepts of liability, attractive nuisance, negligence, and compensation rights for the injured child OR compensation rights of parents of a child in a wrongful death case.  The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Attraction and Theme Park Injuries, Water Park and Swimming Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. Another excellent resource for parents is the book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty