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.
In Jacksonville and other communities, children ride bicycles on daily basis. Many ride in their local neighborhoods. Some ride to the park, to a friend’s house, and elsewhere. Any time, a motorist sees a child riding a bicycle – the motorist should slow down and pay close attention. Many accidents involving children bicycles can be avoided with careful and slow driving in areas where children ride their bicycles. While traveling at a slower speed, a driver has a better chance to react and avoid hitting a child who may be riding on or near the street. As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer, I am often asked the following question:
What if a child is injured by riding a bicycle by a motor vehicle in the state of Florida? This is somewhat of a broad question that can have many answers and issues. First and foremost, the child should get medical care as needed whether it is from a first aid kit, fire rescue, urgent care center, pediatrician, or an emergency room. While it would be helpful to have photographs of the scene of the accident including the roadway, the motor vehicle, and the bicycle, there is not always time to take such photographs or the ability to think about taking photographs or video especially in the rush to protect the child from further harm and to get the child immediate medical care.
When a child is injured in a motor vehicle accident while riding a bicycle, the medical bills can be quite substantial. Who pays for the medical bills? The answer is not necessarily left to common sense. In other words, one would think that the at fault driver would be responsible for all of the medical bills. Well, that would make sense but it is not in tune with the applicable insurance laws in the State of Florida. An injured child bicyclist may qualify for the payment of medical bills under an automobile insurance policy for his or her parent. That’s right, if the parent owned a vehicle that was covered by automobile insurance, then the bills will get filed and processed under the parent’s automobile policy through the PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. This may not seem fair or just but this is how some of the insurance laws work. The child may also qualify for PIP coverage under a resident relative’s automobile insurance policy as well.
When a child suffers a personal injury as a result of an automobile accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or an incident at a day care center, school, or other location, a parent is often faced with the decision as to whether the child should be taken to the emergency room for an evaluation and treatment. In some instances, it is an easy decision when it is apparent that there are life threatening injuries. In other instances, when the injuries are minor like a small scratch to the finger, it would appear that an ER visit would be unnecessary. It is all of the incidents in between that cause stress for a parent when making the decision. Of course, the decision to take a child to the ER is a medical one that should be carefully made. Parents should proceed and error on the side of caution. In other words, if there is a question or possibility that the child suffered a serious personal injury, the child should be taken to the ER or at least to an urgent care center as soon as possible. There was an article on this topic that helped shed some light on this issue – See To the ER or Not – 5 Child Injury Questions.
Another issue faced by parent is the source of payment for an ER visit. The payment source will depend on the type of incident, availability of automobile, health, liability, and / or medical payment insurance. It will also depend if another person or entity is at fault for the injuries. In many instances, the source of payment can be worked out with the hospital at the hospital or at a later date. Often times, it is helpful to discuss legal rights of the injured child, payment sources for medical bills, and legal liability with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.
The issues of medical treatment and payment sources are covered in two books written by Florida Child Injury Lawyer – David Wolf – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child and When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident. You can get each book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury and When the Wheels Stop Spinning.
In Florida, when a child is injured as a passenger in an automobile accident, there may be several automobile insurance policies available to pay benefits or that have coverage for accident related personal injuries. Because the issues of insurance can be quite confusing, it is often times helpful for the parents of the injured child passenger to consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, recommendations, and legal representation. Here are some of the potential sources of payment under an automobile insurance policy that may pay medical bill benefits for injured child:
Parent’s Automobile Insurance. If the injured child does not own his or her own motor vehicle, the injured child may qualify for medical bill coverage under the parent’s automobile insurance policy which is otherwise referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payment (Med Pay). This assumes that a parent owns an automobile and that a parent has automobile insurance coverage for that vehicle.
Resident Relative’s Automobile Insurance. A child may qualify for coverage under the automobile insurance policy of a resident relative. This will depend on the availability or lack of availability of coverage under a policy maintained by a parent. It will also depend on the policy language of the resident relative who is not a parent.
Education is key to the success and future of a child. Unfortunately, personal injuries resulting from bicycle, pedestrian, or automobile accidents tend to interfere with school attendance and homework at times. As a personal injury attorney, I am often asked the following question:
When should an injured child return to school following the accident?
There really is not one answer that adequately answers the question. Certainly, the parents should discuss the issue of school attendance with the treating physician. The doctor should work with the parents to help formulate a plan or date for the child to return to school and to other activities. A child can or should return to school when it is safe to do so. As long as the child receives medical clearance and is not put a risks for further injury, the child should return to school as soon as is possible and practical to do so. Another decision that a parent will face will be that of returning to in school activities like physical education and after school or extra-curricular activities like individual and team sports. A parent should also consult with the treating physician regarding these matters. It also makes sense to speak to the coach and an athletic trainer regarding the return to these activities. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Medical Bills and Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
A lawsuit was recently filed against the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center. The case involves allegations of nursing / medical malpractice that resulted in the amputation of a baby’s pinky. It was reported that a nurse at the hospital intended to cut an intravenous tube but severed the child’s finger by mistake. The nurse was so upset that she rushed out of the room after the incident. You can read more about this case at Lawsuit Filed Due to Nursing / Medical Malpractice in Polk County Florida.
Unlike many malpractice cases filed in the State of Florida, it does not appear that liability or fault is going to be an issue or challenge in this case. The nurse made a mistake and it appears that the attorneys for the nurse and the hospital will not have much of a liability defense on this case; however, it should be noted that many cases that seem clear cut are often challenged as to proof and evidence. Often times, medical malpractice cases turn into a battle of the experts and dueling opinions on science, medicine, causation, and damages.
Hopefully, the insurance carriers and Defendants will eventually offer a settlement that fairly compensates the child and her parents for the harm caused to this innocent child. Time will tell how the case turns out.
A common item in most schools, day care centers, and homes put children at risk for serious personal injuries and even death in some instances. It is the medicine cabinet, container, drawer, or bottle. Tragically, children are the unfortunate victims of accidental overdoses of medication which, in turn, require emergency medical care and result in serious injuries or death. While over the past 40 years, the number of deaths from medication poisonings have decreased – the number of incidents of child poisonings have increased.
Because of the significant risks presented by medication poisoning, it is important for parents, babysitters, day care center providers, teachers, and other caregivers to safeguard medications. It is estimated that over 160 children are seen in emergency rooms every day for medication poisoning incidents. It is especially important to safeguard medications from young children who can mistake medication for candy in some instances. See also Up and Out of the Way – Keep Medications Out of the Reach of Children.
When a child is injured as a result of the negligence of a school, day care center, or other person, a parent is often faced with the challenges of medical bills, medical treatment, and other issues. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, Damages / Compensation and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. While no book is a substitute for legal representation, the book has some helpful information for parents and other concerned persons when a child suffers injuries as a result of the negligence or fault of a school, day care center, government, or other person.
When a child is injured at a Florida school or day care center, the parent is often faced with the challenge and pressures of obtaining and paying for medial care related to the injury. For children with health insurance in place, the parents are still required to pay co-pays and deductibles. For children without health insurance, the parents must deal with the challenges and burdens. Typically, it is more difficult obtaining consistent, affordable, and geographically close medical care when a child lacks health insurance.
When a child is injured due the negligence of a school or day care center, it is importnat for the parents to retain the services of a Florida Child Personal Injury Attorney for advise, consultation, and legal representation. There are many issue that an attorney can step in and assist the parents with including but not limited to medical bills.
Many schools and day care centers have liability insurance in place that have a medical payment provision otherwise known as Med Pay coverage in place that could be utilized to pay for medical bills regardless of the fault of the day care center or school. In other words, the parents do not have to prove that the day care center school is at fault but merely must show that the accident took place at the day care center school. Student accident insurance is also available for some students enrolled in a day care center or school. Some student accident insurance policies are purchased by the parent while others are purchased by the school by the day care center school.
Doctors find another reason why parents need to know the symptoms of jaundice in their children. Although most babies develop the condition when they are born it can cause permanent brain damage. Jaundice is a type of bile pigment which all of our bodies produce. The pigment starts accumulating in the blood and starts depositing in the skin. When a child starts to turn yellow, that is the first red flag that his or her body is having trouble ridding itself of bile. When jaundice starts to build up to a high level in the blood the condition has the possibility or reaching the infant’s brain. If jaundice continues, it can lead to a condition called kernicterus, which can cause permanent brain damage in the infant.
Here are the most common symptoms of jaundice, according to Dr. Renu Sharma, a neonatologist at Memorial Hospital: when a baby starts to develop yellow or orange skin, a baby is not feeding properly, or when a baby starts to appear lethargic or not as active as he or she should be. Other symptoms include unexplained fever, high-pitched crying, being uninterested in feeding and losing excessive weight. If you would like to read more on this topic please see Parents need to know the symptoms of jaundice, not knowing can cause permanent brain damage in your child.
It is important to keep all pediatric visits because tests can be easily performed to detect the presence of jaundice.
In Miramar, Florida, the Associated Press and The Miami Herald recently reported that a 1 year old girl (Kimberly James) died after being left in a vehicle during a church service. It is October but it is still quite hot in the State of Florida. It should also be pointed out that the heat factor in a vehicle is typically higher than it is outside. It was reported that the child was left in the vehicle for 3 hours. An autopsy will probably be performed in a case like this. It appears that the child died of hyperthermia unless the medical examiner / pathologist finds another cause of death of this child.
The death of this child is quite a tragedy for the family, church, and the community. It is yet another reminder to parents, babysitters, child-care providers, day care centers, and schools to make sure that all children are removed from a vehicle once it is parked. For more details on this case, see Girl, 1, Died After Being Left in Hot Car in Miramar, Florida. For a similar story, See Miami Dade Florida 3 Year Old Boy – Left in SUV – Dies (Dangers of Hot Cars to Small Children).