Published on:

By Andrew Baker, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Bandage Child InjuryChildren, especially toddlers, are unsteady on their feet. It is common for a child to fall throughout the day.  While in a day care center, summer camp, or school, a child may fall through no fault of the child care providers.  Then again, some falls are preventable with better maintenance of the facility and / or with better supervision.   Since child care providers should know in advance that children are prone to falling, safety precautions should be put in place to prevent falls and / or to prevent serious personal injuries from resulting from a fall.   Let’s take an example.  
Let’s say that a day care center organized a game of tag on the concrete patio area.  There were twenty kids of all ages playing with just one child care provider.  The game got rough but the day care center worker was over on the side of the patio area busy with her mobile phone.   During the game of tag, a 10 year old ran into one of the 3 year old.  As a result of the fall, the 3 year old suffered a serious head / brain injury and was rushed to the hospital.   When evaluating potential cases like these, there are four essential elements are are considered:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
As to the above example, the day care center had a duty to supervise the children. Furthermore, the selection for the game of tag on a concrete surface was a bad idea. Furthermore, having larger and older children play a contact type of game with smaller children was another bad idea.   Was it foreseeable that a child would be injured during this activity?  The answer is absolutely yes.  The day care center put this child in harm’s way with limited to no supervision.   The elements of a case can be established.   The burden is on the parents through their attorney to prove the elements of a case.  The fact that a child fell and was injured does not without further proof of negligence on the part of the day care center adequately proof up a case. 
There was a report of a death as a potential result of a fall  a Ohio day care center recently. It was reported that a 7 year old child died at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.   The news story titled Police Investigate Death of Child at Home Based Day Care Center  did not have much in the way of details to determine if the incident was foreseeable and / or preventable.   An investigation is pending.   When a child dies under these circumstances, an autopsy and forensic investigation are typically performed by state and / or local officials.
A good resource for parents is the book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 
Published on:

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by the Child Injury Lawyer Blog
NX_truck_rear_contnrThroughout Tennessee and other states, trucks, tractor trailers, and big rigs are common sites on the roads, highways, and expressways.   Certainly, big trucks are an important part of both intrastate and interstate commerce. Theres large commercial trucks also pose a significant risk of serious injuries and deaths to adults and children alike to the size disparity between these trucks and common personal vehicles / automobiles.   Because of this, it is important that commercial truck drivers are well trained, alert, and well rested.  Furthermore, excessive speed and daydreaming need to be avoided as well.  Finally, driver distractions should be limited and removed whenever possible.  Texting while any vehicle including but limited to a commercial truck is simply careless and can and does lead to serious accidents causing personal injuries and the deaths of others.
When a child is injured or killed as a result of a trucking accident, a parent is faced with many challenges and issues including the payment of medical bills, dealing with the injuries or loss of a child, and all of the other stresses in life to go hand and hand with these crashes.   The trucking companies and insurance companies have a team of lawyers in place from the beginning.   A parent should also retain the services of a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.  While most trucking companies, truck owners, and truck drivers are well insured, this does not mean that the insurance companies will act promptly nor fairly in resolving the potential claims or cases of the injured children or their respective families.
In many trucking accident cases, it is common to see multiple competing claims by the accident or injury victims.  This may, in turn, cause an issue or problem with the coverages in place.   Before a parent provides information or statement to an insurance company, the parent should first consult with the Child Injury Lawyer.
A fatal accident was recently reported in Chattanooga Tennessee.  This crash took place on Interstate 75.  It was reported that 6 people died as a result of an automobile accident / trucking accident.   There were a total of 18 victims injured or killed as a result of this crash.   This particular crash took place at or near a construction zone where the lanes were tapering down due to the work zone.  See Police Identify All 18 Victims of the Tragic Interstate 75 Tractor Trailer Crash.
Due to the magnitude of this crash and the resulting deaths, there will be a full accident reconstruction investigation conducted by state and local officials.   Measurements taken at the scene of the crash and an analysis of the black box of the truck will help investigators piece together the facts surrounding this crash.  Investigators will consider and evaluate the following:
What was the speed of the truck just prior to impact?
 
How well was the truck maintained and repaired prior to the trucking accident?
 
Were any mechanical failures or issues a factor in causing the trucking accident?
 
How long was the truck driver on duty prior to the crash?
 
What does the truck driver log show as to miles / hours driven during the prior 12 hours?  prior 24 hours?
 
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents,  Homeowner’s Insurance, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Published on:

By  Jonathan Safran Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Building Blocks Glossy -R - Day Care CenterIn Wisconsin and other states, parents rely on day care centers for the supervision of their children during the work day.  In most instances, a child is cared for in a supportive and educational environment.   However, there are also plenty of day care workers who lack the patience, personality, and temperament to properly care for small children. For instance, let’s say that a child is not responding to instructions or commands.  Some day care providers will then pull, shove, or push a child to get them going.   The rough handling or assault of a child can and does lead to serious personal injuries including bruising, fractures, lacerations, and even internal injuries.  Children, especially infants and toddlers, are susceptible to injury any time that they are pulled, pushed, shoved or grabbed.  When an adult pulls on a child’s arm, there can be a dislocation, fracture or other injury.  It is certainly not an easy task to supervise and monitor children; however, this does not excuse a day care center worker from rough handling a child under the supervision of the worker and the day care center.
In Racine, Wisconsin, an incident that took place at One Step Ahead Day Care Center resulted in the termination of an employee, the arrest of an employee, and injuries to a 3 year old child. It was reported that a day care worker picked the child up by the child’s wrist / arm and carried the child by the arm for a distance of 11 feet without the child touching the ground.  The incident was captured on video.  The owner of the day care center took quick action in response to this incident and terminated the employee.  Can the day care center be held liable for the actions of this child care worker?  There may be a case to pursue against the day care center since a day care center may be held liable for the actions of its employees.   Issues that may arise in a potential case of this nature may include the prior conduct of the employee, the training of the employee, the supervision of the employee, and other factors.  You can read more about this incident at Child Reportedly Injured at Racine Wisconsin Day Care Center.
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, Playground Injuries, Automobile Accidents, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 
Published on:

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by the Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Video Surveillance - Day Care CenterMany day care centers across the nation have video surveillance equipment in place to monitor the children under the care of the day care center.  The video surveillance is also used to monitor the care being provided to the children enrolled in the day care center.  In most States, there is no legal requirement per se that requires a day care center to have the video surveillance in place. Some may even argue that such video surveillance would violate the privacy rights of the children, owner, and / or staff members. When a parent enrolls a child in a day care center, a parent should look for transparency and full disclosure by the day care center.   Video surveillance can go a long way to keeping both the children and staff members in line.  Better yet, if a parent has online access to watch the streaming video live while a child is at a day care center can help put another set of eyes on the children and staff at a day care center.
Ideally, the use of video surveillance serves as a motivator to provide good care and to prevent any incidents from abuse or neglect from taking place.  Unfortunately for some children, despite the presence of video surveillance at the day care center, incidents of abuse and neglect still take place.  This may be because some the video surveillance activities or equipment at the day care center are hidden by the sight and knowledge of the staff members.   At other times, the staff member just forgets that video surveillance equipment is in place.  
While video surveillance equipment is not required in most instances, it is certainly a good tool to have in place.  Parents should ask the day care center the following questions:
* Does the day care center have video surveillance in place?
* What rooms / parts of the facility is equipped with video surveillance?
* Do parents have access to the video surveillance at the facility, live, or online?
* Is the video surveillance saved or maintained for a certain time period or it is just live?
* What is the facility policy and procedure for sharing video surveillance with parents?
In Olathe, Kansas, it was reported that the manager at Kiddin’ Around Day Care Center reported the actions of an employee to the police that were captured on video surveillance.  The employee was accused of recklessly causing great bodily harm to the child and was subsequently arrested.   See Kansas Child Care Provider Caught on Tape – Charged with Injuring Child.  Credit should be given to the manager of this day care center for reporting the incident of alleged abuse and for sharing the video surveillance with law enforcement.
Because of the complexities of child injury cases and the challenge of properly evaluating the cases, a parent should retain the services of a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, consultation, and legal representation.  A good resource for parents is the book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Published on:

By  Steven R. Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Building Block - W - Day Care CenterSchools and day care centers should be a place in which children are cared for in a nurturing, clean, and supportive environment. Unfortunately, at some schools and day care centers, the child care providers bring in their own sense of right and wrong.   Certainly, there are archaic and dangerous disciplinary actions that put children at risks.  Even if the child care provider was subjected to this very same punishment as a child, this does not excuse or justify the implementation of this type of punishment at a school or day care center.   Here is a simple statement to consider.  Abuse is abuse.  Of course, laws, regulations, and ordinances are more complicated than this simple statement.  It is important for day care centers and schools to follow the laws, regulations, and ordinances.  Many such rules are in place to protect the children.   It is interesting to note that some disciplinary tactics used by child care providers are similar to those improperly used against adult prisoners.   Certainly, a child is not a prisoner and should not be treated like one.  Furthermore, it is well known and should be expected that a child will misbehave and fail to follow directions.  Child care providers should be prepared to supervise the children in a safe and supportive environment.   The day care center rules and regulations should be followed.  In addition, the child care providers should adhere to and follow the laws in place.  Finally, common sense should always be used when caring for children.
In New York and other states, government agencies like the Office of Children and Family Services (New York) have the duty and responsibility to license, inspect, and discipline day care centers and schools.  If a child care provider violates the rules by improperly discipling a child, the state authority can step in and fine the facility, put the facility on probation, and / or shut down the facility.   In Irondequcit, New York, it was reported that the Office of Children and Family Services inspected a facility that it found had punished children by withholding rest, sleep, and food.   There were also improper methods of discipline including actions that were intended to frighten, humiliate, and / or demand the children.  You can read more about this story and some of the New York day care center regulations at Day Care Center Closed Down After Violations Found by the Office of Children and Family Services. 
When a child is subjected to improper punishment whether physical, emotional, or both, there may be a claim or case pursued against the school or day care center.   Like other personal injury cases, the following four elements must be established:  
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages
Here is a set of facts to consider.  A 5 year old child is enrolled in the day care center.  He has a potty training incident and soils his pants.  The child care provider gets upset with the little boy and slaps him across his face.  He suffers a laceration to the face that required an emergency room visit.  The doctors had to put five stitches above the child’s left eye.   Over time, the laceration healed leaving just a small scar above the eye.   The above four elements can be established by this fact pattern.   The child care provider had a duty to provide care that was supportive and in the best interests of the child.  The child care provider breached this duty when she slapped the child.  As as result of the breach of duty, damages (injuries) were caused in the form of the laceration, stitches, and scar.  
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, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 
Published on:

By  David Wolf, Attorney

Kids Wooden Blocks  Falling As Symbol For Education And Learning

Legal Rights of the Injured Child

Across the nation, parents rely upon the facilities to supervise their children in an educational environment that is  clean, healthy, and supportive. Most day care centers and childcare providers do a wonderful job in fulfilling these task. Unfortunately for some children, the day care center is the site of a living nightmare and horrors. The day care center has a duty to hire and train staff members who will meet the needs of the children. Furthermore, the day care center has a duty to keep individuals out of the facility who are a risk or danger to the children.  People who may pose a threat or danger to children may include family members and friends of the day care center owners operators and employees. Let’s take it an example of an employee who has worked at a daycare center for approximately one The boyfriend is a convicted sex offender, an alcoholic, and a drug abuser. The day care center owners and administrators knew the boyfriend and knew of his prior bad acts  and crimes yet still allowed this person to be in the day care center and around the children.  While visiting the day care center on various occasions, the boyfriend molested three of the girls at the day care center.  All three children were 6 years old.  This man was subsequently arrested and charged with crimes against the children and sentenced to life in prison. With respect to the criminal case, one may say that justice prevailed because the bad guy was convicted and will remain the rest of his life in prison. With respect to a civil case or civil matter, is the day care center liable for the ask of this twice for the acts and damages caused by the convicted criminal?  Let’s take a look at the four essential elements of a civil case:

1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
Under the fact scenario presented, it appears that several case can be established against the day care center, its owners / administrators, and, of course, the convicted sex offender. It should be noted that each case should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  Certainly, cases are challenged by attorneys defending the day care center and the insurance companies covering the day care center. The facts of the aforementioned case are quite strong.   A case could be brought and there is a good probability that a jury would find the day care center negligent, careless, and irresponsible.   Upon such findings, the jury could assess the issue of damages which would be quite substantial in light of the horrific damages or harm caused by the crimes committed against these children.  Many people would then think that there would be no problems whatsoever in pursuing this civil case.   Well, there is another important that must be considered.  Did the day care center have liability insurance in place?  Many day care centers go without liability insurance even if it is required by state law, the franchise agreement, or other rules, policies, or regulations.   For those facilities with liability insurance question, there will still be a question or issue whether the negligent acts and resulting damages are covered under the policy.  For instance, some insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional or criminal acts like assault or intentional sexual abuse.   Again, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and merits.
The book – 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, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Published on:

 By  David Wolf, Attorney

School Bus Yellow VintageSchool Bus - Summer Heat - Personal InjuryIn North Carolina and other states, day care centers are subject to various rules and regulations.  Most day care laws are governed by state statute. There are some local ordinances as well.  When rules and regulations are violated, children are put at risk for personal injury and even death.   One simple rule, that for one reason or another, continues to be violated by day care centers involves the use and documentation of list as each child departs day care regulations.   That’s right, this simple regulation only requires pen, paper, due diligence, common sense, and last but not least attentiveness. When this regulation is violated, a child can be left behind and put at great risk for personal injury.  This is especially true during hot summer months and cold witness months.  In addition, any time that a child is left behind on a day care center school or bus, a child may be injured by other means like strangulation, poisoning, choking, etc. . .
In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, it was reported that a 2 year old (Karah Evans) was left on a school bus for more than six hours with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.   The mother – Kimberly Cates – later took her the the local emergency room for evaluation and rehydration.  It is amazing that the child survived the ordeal.  In a much shorter time period and even with cooler temperatures, a child can easily die under these conditions.   As a result of the incident and violation of the North Carolina day care center regulations, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services closed the day care center – Operation New Life – Amity.  You can read more about this incident and the actions by the State thereafter at Day Care Center Ordered to Close After Incident (Child Left on School Bus)
The book – 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, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Published on:

By  Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Food Issues - Fork and SpoonIn Alabama and other states, parents rely upon day care centers to provide for the proper supervision and care of the children during the working hours of the parents.  Due to the length of time that a child is at the day care centers, meals and food service are an integral part of many day care centers.  Like restaurants and other food service facilities, it is important for a day care center to proper maintain the food service areas including the kitchen to make sure that all food is properly stored and served during meal times and snack times.
Pursuant to the Alabama Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers, a licensed day care center in Alabama is required to provide meals and snacks that comply with the patterns and guidelines set forth by the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S.D.A.   It is important for day care centers to provide nutritious and safe servings.  With perishable food items, there is a risk of contamination, spoilage, and harmful bacteria growth especially when food items are not stored or prepared under hygienic conditions and the proper cooking / serving temperature for the food item. Furthermore, all expired foods should be discarded immediately to further protect the children while under the care of the day care center.  Here is a link to review the Minimum Standards for Alabama Day Care Centers.
Pursuant to these Alabama day care center regulations, meals and snacks provided by the licensee shall comply with meal and snack patterns of the Food and Nutrition Service, U. S. D. A.  There is a Food Safe Schools Action Guide available for review and download on the U.S.D.A. website.  Here is a link to the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide.  As noted in this handbook,
Serving safe food is a critical responsibility for you and your school nutrition team and is also a recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Through a school food safety program, you can control the risks associated with storing, preparing, and serving food. The program should include a written plan based on HACCP principles and documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating, and controlling food safety risks. USDA offers the process approach to HACCP principles as a foundation for your school food safety
 
At the Sunny Day Care Center located in Montgomery Alabama, over 80 children enrolled in the day care program became ill with a possible food-borne illness – Bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus – found in the kitchen.  The children  had complaints and symptoms including vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress.  It was reported that over 30 of these children were hospitalized. You can read more about this story at Alabama Children – Attending Same Day Care Center – Sick with Possible Food-Borne Illness.  
Is a day care center liable when a child gets sick by food products served by the day care center?  The answer to this question is “it depends”.  A day care center may be liable if the day care center did something wrong.  In other words, did the day care center employees fail to properly maintain the kitchen and food service area?  Were the problems with the food products related to the actions or inactions of the staff at the day care center?  Were the food-borne illnesses preventable?  What actions could have been taken to avoid the illnesses ultimately suffered by the children?  
Like other personal injury cases, the fact that a child became ill or sick does not by itself establish a legal case on behalf of the child.   Typically, a legal case must establish the following elements:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages
If all that was needed was proof of damages, illness, injuries, or medical care, then a case would be established; however, as noted above, there are four elements to establish a case and not just one element.   Proving up an injury case is no easy tasks especially when dealing with the intricacies of both law and medicine.  Because of this, a parent should seek out the guidance, counsel, and legal representation when appropriate of a Child Injury Lawyer. 
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 
Published on:

By  David Wolf, Attorney

Building Blocks LThe recent death of a young child in the Louisiana unlicensed day care center sparked a debate about which day care centers should be regulated.  Under Louisiana’s current system, a day care center which cares for less than seven children exclusive of family members of the day care center operator is not required to obtain a license. Because of this, smaller day care centers are operating under the radar and oversight of state and local regulations are still operating  legally. When a day care center is not licensed as required OR not required to be licensed by the state, it is common to see unqualified staff members hired, facilities that are disrepair, and supervision that falls to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the children enrolled in the day care program.

Just because the day care center lacks a  license does not mean  at the daycare center is a dangerous place; however,some governmental oversight can go along way to improving conditions for children who are put at risks by day care centers that cut corners and put profits at a much higher priority than child care / safety.   Another point to make is the fact that many unlicensed facilities lack liability insurance.  If a facility is not going to take the time, effort, and funds to get licensed, the day care center probably will not spend money to have liability insurance in place.
Let’s discuss an example to illustrate this problem. A child is being cared for at a day care center.  The child wanders out of the door, out of the yard, runs into traffic, and is struck by a vehicle in a hit and run accident.   The child suffers serious injuries in the form of a broken / fractured leg and a broken / fractured arm.  Do the parents of the injured child have a legal case to pursue against the day care center?  The simple answer to this question is “Yes”.  The parents have a legal case against the day care center for negligence and carelessness; however, this particular case may not get too far if the day care center owner lacks any significant assets and IF the day care center owner lacks liability insurance.   There is a difference between a “strong legal case” and a “strong legal case” in which a settlement or judgment can be collected.   Certainly, the day care center owner could be sued for negligence. The case would be set for and taken through trial.   There could be a victory in the form of a judgment.  However, collecting upon this judgment is quite a different challenge or task.
With respect to the tragic death of 22 month old Angel Green, there is a good chance that there is no liability insurance but anything is possible.  The day care center was not licensed.  It was reported that Angel Green lost her life on a hot summer day in June 2015 when she was left unattended in a sweltering day care center van in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  You can read more about this story and the debate and issues with unlicensed day care centers in  Louisiana at Day Care Center Death Puts Spotlight on Unlicensed Facilities in Louisiana. 
The book – 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, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. 
Published on:

blue and vibrant swimming pool side

Swimming Safety – Importance of Touch Supervision

By  David Wolf, Attorney

During the summer months and the rest of the year as well, children are at risk for drowning.  Sadly and tragically in this day and age, drowning is still the leading cause of death for children in the area range of infants and toddlers.  It is well know that children are curious.  A child sees an adventure rather than the danger.  A child sees the shiny colors rather than the risks.  A child’s sense of curiosity along with the lack of good judgment or safety awareness can lead to disastrous results like a drowning.  Because of this, it is important for parents, lifeguards, child care providers, and others to be on high alert any time that children are swimming or in an area near a swimming pool or other body of water.
One safety measure that can be universally used is called “Touch Supervision”.  This refers to an adult having at least one hand on a child at all times when the child is around water.   This method is primarily for infants and toddlers; however, it is also important to be close to all children, from infants to teens, and attentive during swimming activities.
It is abundantly clear that there is no substitute for good supervision.  Technology, although helpful for safety measures at times, can also be a source of distraction for parents and others.   When a child is in a swim area, the supervisors of the children should put away the mobile phone and tablets.  One text message or e-mail can lead to inattention which can lead to a day that will never be forgotten because a child drowned.  Was the text message worth it?  Was the e-mail that interesting? How about the Facebook posts?  There is nothing more important than the children in front of the supervisors at the pool area. 
When a child drowns as a result of the fault of a day care center, summer camp, school, facility, or even a neighbor or relative other than a parent, a legal cause of action may be pursued for the personal injuries to the child OR the wrongful death of the child.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Water Park, Swimming, and Aquatic Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.