Articles Tagged with personal injuries

Kids Wooden Blocks Spelling Mom And Dad As Symbol for Parenthood
Day care centers have a duty to provide supervision to the children enrolled in the program.   As part of this supervision, child care providers should make sure that all exits and areas are secure and that no children wander away from the facility. It is well known that children are curious and lack good safety awareness.  As such, at times, a child will wander away from the facility.   This, in turn, may lead to serious personal injuries or even the death of the child.  This raises the issue as to whether the day care center is liable when a child wanders away from the facility.   From a practical standpoint, it may be difficult to pursue a civil case or claim when there was no physical harm caused to the child during the wandering away incident or event.

For instance, let’s say that a child wanders away and is just about to cross the street.  The child is outside of the facility for about 5 minutes and is found by a police officer who happened to be in the area.  The child is promptly returned to the day care center.  Certainly, the child could have been seriously harmed in the busy traffic just outside of this day care center. Furthermore, the child would have been seriously injured but for the presence of the attentive police officer.  However, based on the facts as presented, the child was unharmed and promptly returned to the facility.   The day care center was certainly negligent and may be fined or even closed for such conduct; however, there was no physical harm caused to the child. 
In some States, a physical injury would be required to pursue a civil case or claim for personal injuries or harm to a child. In other States, not such proof would be required; however, in each instance, it would be a difficult case to pursue from a damage / value perspective. If the facts are changed, the case is much different. 

School Bus CrashWhen a child is injured as a result of a school bus accident, there are often questions and challenges for a parent as it pertains tomedical care for the accident related injuries. A parent may think that a school bus or school district would automatically pay for the medical bills and provide for medical care if the accident or crash was the fault of the school bus driver. While this may seem to be reasonable and full of common sense, school bus companies and the related insurance companies do not automatically go into gear to provide for or pay the medical bills for the injured child. As such, a parent must often make arrangements on his or her own to get the child appropriately evaluated and treated. Here is a list of medical providers who may provide care following a school bus accident:
Pediatrician or Primary Care Doctor. The pediatrician or primary care doctor may be appropriate for medical care following an automobile accident if the injuries seem relatively minor and do not require much in the way of follow-up.
Emergency Room. If the child needs immediate medical care and there appears to be signs and symptoms of trauma related head injuries, back injuries, injuries to the extremities, internal injuries,  etc. . . the parent should take immediate action to get the child properly stabilized and evaluated at the emergency room. Many cities, especially the larger ones, have emergency room and hospitals that special specialize in the care of children. If such a facility is available, parents should take child to a pediatric emergency room or trauma center. Typically, a pediatric specialist the best position to have the best training in order to provide the proper evaluation and treatment of children following the school bus accident.

  School Bus Blue.001St. Johns County, there was a serious school bus accident that injured a number of children including one child who was airlifted and three children who were transported to Baptist South Medical Center located in Jacksonville, Florida.   This particular accident was reported as a single vehicle accident.  According to Action News and other media outlets, the driver, Joseph David Sanks, 69, of St. Augustine, was issued a citation for careless driving.  As Mr. Sanks was driving the yellow school bus on Interstate 95 near International Golf Parkway – he veered off the side of the road and into some trees.  There were no other vehicles damaged or reported involved with the crash.  Investigators from the Florida Highway Patrol interviewed witnesses and later issues a citation for Careless Driving to the school bus driver.  Does this mean that this is an open and shut case?  Not necessarily.  The Florida Highway Patrol does not control the outcome of the injury claims or potential civil cases that may arise from this accident.  Furthermore, while the school bus driver was charged with careless driving, he can contest the charges and request a hearing in traffic court with or without the benefit of legal representation.  Unless there was a mechanical failure or some other good explanation for the school bus driver crashing into a group of trees, it is highly unlikely that the school bus driver will prevail in traffic court.  Of course, the traffic court judge or hearing officer may decide to cut the school bus driver a break and withhold adjudication on the citation. It should be noted that the disposition of the traffic court hearing does not control the course of the potential civil cases or claims.  See Driver Charged in St. Johns County Florida School Bus Accident on Interstate 95.

Because of the complexities of Florida’s legal system especially as it pertains to liability, damages, and the intricate procedures by which a case or claim must be filed against a sovereign entity (government entity) like a school distrct, it is important for the parents of the injured children to retain the services of a qualified and experienced Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.

There may be several sources for the payment of medical bills and damages associated with a school bus accident including the following:

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.   

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;

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.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child SafetyIn the State of Florida, there are duties on the part of the pedestrian and duties on the part of the driver.  Florida has adopted a comparative fault set of laws.  This means that a pedestrian can pursue a case or cause of action even if the pedestrian was partially at fault.   Furthermore, there still can a cae or claim pursued on behalf of an injured child pedestrian or the family of a child pedestrian who died as a result of the pedestrian / automobile accident.  Of course, pedestrians should only cross in crosswalks and when the pedestrian signal is green and it is otherwise clear and safe to cross the street; however, in life, this does not always happen.  If a driver sees a pedestrian cross the street, the driver should do everyhing within his or her abilitiies to try to avoid hitting and / or running over the pedestrian.  Just because a pedestrian is jaywalking or otherwise cross at a place and time when it is unsafe to, there are still duties and responsibilities on the part of the driver to slow down and when necessary – take evasive action.
If a child is injured as a result of the negligent or careless driving of another person, a case or claim can be pursued for the following types of damages:
Past Medical Bills;

soccer ball on the field

Summer Camp Injuries

Summer is typically a great time for a child. School is out and the focus is on fun, sports, and activities.   Unfortunately for some children, summer marks a point in time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury in the form of heat exposure, fractures, and other injuries.  If a child is injured a a summer camp, there are many issues and challenges to pursue a case or claim against the summer camp.  It should be noted that a summer camp is not liable or responsible for every since incident or injury.

With any form of physcial activity even arts and crafts, there is a risk of injury.   The question is whether the summer camp acted reasonable and timely.   It is important that the facility, equipment and supplies are regularly inspected; otherwise, more injuries take place at summer camps and, yes, a case can be pursued if it can be shown that the injuries resulted from negligence, carelessnesss, improper supervision, or dangerous conditions.

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;

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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;
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