Articles Tagged with child injury lawyer

Stroller - Child Safety - Personal Injury
During the summer and other months in warm weather States, children are at risk for heat related illnesses including by not limited to hyperthermia.  It is important that summer camps, schools, day care centers, and other child care providers understand that children respond and handle the heat much differently than adults.  Furthermore, a child does not necessary verbalize or even recognize himself or herself when there is a risk of serious complications from the heat. This is especially true for infants, toddlers, and special needs children who are not communicative.   According to Dr.  Ross Tobleman, an emergency medical director based in Texas, “Little children can certainly get into trouble very quickly without having us recognize the signs that they’re getting trouble.”  This is a reference to heat and medical complications.   It should be noted that the metabolism and body of a child works much differently than that of an adult.  You can read more about this topic at Heat Related Illnesses Harder to Detect in Children.

In this article, it is interesting to note that strollers and other confined spaces can present a real risk of danger, medical complication, and even death to children in the heat of summer and other months.   Since children do not sweat or control body temperature the same as an adult, a glance at a child may lead a child care provider to believe that all is well because the child is not sweating profusely or appear to be that hot or overexposed to the heat.  The truth is that child care provides, on many occasions, do not and cannot see that a child is truly a risk and approaching a critical overexposure to the heat.   Some times, it is only the child’s outward signs of trauma, arrest, or other significant issues that finally alerts the child care provider that there is a problem.

In Florida, child care providers, summer camps, day care centers, schools and other entities have a duty to keep a child out of harm’s way.  One known risk is the Florida heat.  Make sure that a child – especially infants and toddlers – are provided with proper ventilation when in confined spaces like a stroller. Furthermore, as we have seen far too many times, a child should not be left unattended on a school bus or school van without air conditioning.   Let’s make sure that this point is clear.   A child needs to be supervised at all times and should never be left on a bus or van alone – air conditioned or without air conditioning.

Swimming Pool - Drowning and Personal Injuries
In Florida, swimming, boating, and aquatic activities are essentially year round activities.  This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day from drowning related incidents. Children under the age of 14 account for 2 out of the 10 deaths.  It is reported that drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.

Despite these risks and disturbing statistics, drowning incidents continue and unfortunately will continue through the rest of the 2016 year including the summer season.  Can a case or claim be pursued on behalf of an injured child OR on behalf of the parents of a child who dies as a result of a drowning incident?  Like many legal questions, it depends on the facts and circumstances.  It also depends on the practicalities associated with liability insurance coverage and other matters.
Like other personal injury cases in the State of Florida, there are four essential elements associated with a drowning case:

medical_1000006509-120613intIn Florida, a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held liable for his or her own negligence or carelessness.  This is the law in the State of Florida.  Why is this particular law in place?  The policy reasons behind this law is based on the known fact that young children lack safety awareness and lack good judgment especially when near something interesting or fun in appearance like a body of water, pool, playground, etc . . . .
Let’s take an example.  Let’s say that a 5 year old child is enrolled in a day care center.   The child walks into an unlocked janitor / cleaning supply closet.  While in the closet, the child sees some brightly colored blue jug.  The child opens the jugs and pours the chemicals over his or her head.  The child then sustains significant and painful burns that require an extended hospitalization and result in lifelong and permanent scarring to the face.  This is certainly a tragic incident; however it is an incident that is foreseeable and preventable.   The door should have been locked and all dangerous chemicals should have been kept out of the reach of the child. Furthermore, with constant and consistent supervision, the child would have been re-directed or kept from the area of danger.   This 5 year old child was injured due to a lack of supervision. The child cannot be faulted for his actions because he was under the age of 6 years old at the time of the incident.
For children 6 and older, a portion of the fault can be attributed to the child; however, the age and maturity of the child are considered for children 6 and older.  If the same incident happened with a 6 year old, it would be my opinion that all of the fault for this particular incident would still fall upon the Florida Day Care Center which failed to properly supervise this child.

Florida Day Care Center Book.001In Florida day care centers as well as day care centers throughout the nation, there is a common risk present no matter the size or type of day care centers.   This is the risk of choking on small objects.   It is well known that children are curious. Furthermore, children have poor safety awareness especially when it comes to putting objects in the mouth like toy parts, household items, and coins.  Furthermore, some foods are notoriously dangerous to toddlers and infants like hot dogs, grapes, hard vegetables and fruits, and other items.  Because of the known risks of chocking, day care centers have a duty and responsibility to keep all hazardous items away from the reach of children.   It is acceptable for a day care center to keep change / coins not he premises but it is quite another thing if the coins are within the reach of children.  It is certainly quite worse even if the children (toddlers and infants) are given coins or other small objects to play with.   One coin or small hard object can lead to a choking incident which, in turn, can cause serious personal injuries, brain injuries, and even death.
Let’s take a look at another example.  A 2 year old is playing with legos in the day care center. The lego set is recommended for children 4 and older.   There are a number of small pieces that the child has access to in the lego box.   The child puts one of the small pieces in his mouth and chokes on the object.  Fire rescue is called and the child is rushed to the hospital.  The child is in ICU for 10 days.  The child ultimately recovered from the incident but only have 6 months of treatment and care.   The whole incident and resulting damages and harm could have been avoided with better supervision and with the removal of the dangerous items from the reach of this 2 year old child. 
The book – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents – has sections on Supervision, Incident Reports, Emergency Procedures, Indoor Facilities, Outdoor Facilities, and other topics. You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.  

Play Time Written In Multicolored Plastic Kids Letters

Play Time at Day Care Centers, Schools, and Summer Camp

At most playgrounds, it is common to see a slide.  Children often enjoy playing on playgrounds and especially the joy and thrill of climbing up a slide and then sliding down.  If the slide is age appropriate and used correctly, most injuries from playground slides are avoided.   This also assumes that there is sufficient and reasonable supervision in place for all of the children on the playground including but not limited to the slide area – ladder, levels, slide, and landing.  Unfortunately, for some children, the playground slide is the location of a serious personal injury.   When a child is injured on a playground, the day care center, summer camp, property owner, school, or city / county entity may be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.   The liability or responsibility will depend on the ability to prove the four essential elements of a civil case or claim:

1. Duty;

Parents work tirelessly to raise and mentor their children.   Parents make sacrifices every day to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their children.  During the infant and toddler years, parents or appropriate care providers are typically with the child at all times.  As a child grows older, it is not practical, possible, or necessary for a parent to be that 24 / 7 protector of their children.  As a child grows older, we, as parents, cannot be everything for our children.  They must and do venture out in the world.   As teenagers, parents still provide for their children and serve as guides and mentors.  When a teen is away from a parent on a short trip or a long one, a parent will worry but, again, cannot be there at all times.  Tragically, many teens die as a result of Florida Automobile Accidents on a far too frequent basis.  Through no fault of the teen victim, a life is lost due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver.  The at-fault driver may be another teen driver, an adult driver, a commercial driver, truck driver, etc. . .  No matter the identity of the at-fault driver or at-fault owner of the automobile, truck or vehicle, a teen’s life is lost and parents will grieve after the accident and for a lifetime for that matter.
It is interesting to note that in the English dictionary there is no word designated for a parent who loses a child.  When a man loses his wife, he is a widower. When a wife loses her husband, she is a widow.  When a child loses his parents, he is an orphan; however, when a parent loses a child, there is no word to describe the parents. Furthermore, the pain in losing a child is indescribable.
Certainly, the first thought that enters a parent’s head following the death of a child is not “Let’s get an attorney.”   It is more common and natural for a parent to be in shock and a loss for word or rational thought.   Questions that commonly arise include the following:  What happened?  How could this be?  Is this a nightmare?  Is this a mistake?  Could my child really be gone?  

Hotel Negligence Personal InjuriesFlorida is a tourist state in many respects. During the summer months when children are out of school, it is  common to see children and their families visiting and enjoying the amenities at various Florida resorts and hotels. From Key West to Orlando to Jacksonville to Pensacola and all parts in between, children are welcome as guests at hotels and resorts.  For some children during these visits, a hotel / resort is the location of a serious personal injury and even death in some circumstances. Is a hotel liable “every time” that a child is injured on premises? The simple answer to this question is no. The reason the answer is simple is because the way to which the question is asked. Take note of the words “every time”. A hotel or resort in Florida is not liable “every time” that a child is injured. However,  a hotel or resort is  liable when the hotel / resort is negligent or careless with respect to the supervision and maintenance of the facility. In order to establish a civil case or claim against a hotel or resort, the following four elements must be established:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;

Swimming Pool - Water Slide - Injury - Drowning
During the summer months, children enjoy the time off from school and the opportunity to splash around at the community pool, a neighbor’s pool, a water park, or theme park.  Most public areas are well maintained and inspected frequently.  Most are staffed with trained lifeguards and maintenance personnel to provide for a safe aquatic environment for children. Unfortunately for some children Unfortunately for some children during the summer months, a swimming pool, water park, or theme park is the site for a serious personal injury.  Some incidents even result in the untimely and tragic death of a child as a result of a drowning or a traumatic injury.
Is a water park, theme park or property owner of a swimming pool liable or responsible for injuries that take place on the premises? The answer to this question like many other depends the particular facts and circumstances of the incident leading to the serious personal injuries or death of the child. There are four elements that are required to be proved to establish a case against a swimming pool owner, theme park, or water park.
1. Duty;

Most Florida communities have a indoor shopping malls. Certainly, there are strip malls and shopping districts in every community. Most shopping centers are family oriented and friendly.  Children frequently visit and welcomed as guests and customers. Unfortunately for some children, a shopping center / shopping mall is the site or location of a serious personal injury. Is a shopping center or shopping mall liable every time that a child is injured on the premises? The simple answer to this question is “No”. The key words to this inquiry are “every time”.  Under Florida law, a property owner is not an absolute insurer for the safety and well-being of a child visiting the shopping center or shopping mall. In other words, the property owner is not responsible for every single incident involving the personal injury of a child.  Like other legal matters involving injuries, the liability of the property owner, landlord, and / or tenant will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the case.  A shopping center / shopping mall owner, landlord, or tenant can be held responsible for the personal injuries of a child if it can be proved that the injuries resulted from the failure to act in a reasonable manner.  In many cases, there must be proof of some notice or knowledge on the part o the property owner, landlord, or tenant that there was a dangerous condition on the premises and that there was a failure to act timely to repair the dangerous condition or at least warn visitors and secure the dangerous area.
Like other personal injury matters in the State of Florida , there are essentially four elements in order to establish a case on behalf of an injured child against a shopping center or shopping mall. These elements are as follows:
1. Duty;

School Bus in Alaska

Florida Field Trip

During the summer and other times of the year, camps, schools, daycare centers, and other organizations transport children on field trips. Some field trips are close by like a local pool for waterpark. Other field trips may be as far as Disney World, Busch Gardens, or Universal Studios. While transporting and supervising children on field trips, it is important that the child care providers follow policies procedures, rules and regulations.  It is also important that child care providers use their common sense for the health, safety, and welfare of the children during field trip related activities. 

Does this mean that a day care center school or other child care provider is always liable when a child is injured on a field trip? The answer this question is that it depends on the facts and circumstances. Like other types of personal injury cases, there can be liability associated with injuries on a field trip if the following four elements can be established:
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