April 11, 2014

Does Corporal Punishment Have a Place in Day Care Centers? Simple Answer - No

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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As a Child Injury Lawyers, we are often asked the following question: Does corporal punishment have a place in day care centers? The simple answer to this question is No. Most States prohibit any form of mental or physical corporal punishment in day care centers. In other words, there are specific laws and / or administrative code proceedings that prohibit this kind of conduct in day care centers. While some parents believe in corporal punishment and would acquiesce if a day care center implemented some forms of corporal punishment, it is typically prohibited. Of course, each State has its own rules, laws, and regulations. As such, the applicable provisions should be reviewed, considered, and enforced when there is an issue, concern, or report of corporal punishment taking place in a day care center. Often times, corporal punishment in a day care center is implemented without any concern or thought as to the physical or psychological impact of the child. Furthermore, many acts of corporal punishment are implemented without the knowledge or consent of the parents. In many instances, the implementation of corporal punishment is an indication of the immaturity of the care givers as well as their lack of training and supervision.

In Woodbride, Virginia, it was reported that a Prince William County Grand Jury indicted 2 former day care center caregivers on counts / charges related to the abuse and neglect children under the supervision of the day care center. Some of the alleged acts of abuse included the following:

*The day care center workers allegedly encouraged children to fight.

*The day care center works allegedly dunked the heads of children afraid of water in wading pools.

*The day care center workers allegedly gave the children Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

The day care center works subject to these criminal proceedings were ultimately fired by the day care center. You can read more about this Virginia matter at Former Day Care Center Workers Indicted on Charges of Child Abuse. Of course, a criminal case is not decided on the basis of a mere newspaper article or findings from the applicable social service agency. However, if the allegations are true and proven in Court, there are some serious consequences to treating children in this matter. In Virginia and the rest of the United States, criminal defendants are entitled to representation by a private criminal defense lawyer or the public defender's office. The defendants have the right to defend themselves against the charges and allegations. Ultimately, the charges will either be dropped, a plea bargain will be worked out, or the case will be tried before a jury.

Back to the issue or topic at hand - corporal punishment. As child safety advocates and lawyers who represent children, it is our opinion that there is no place in any day care center whatsover for corporal punishment. It is an uneducated and thoughtless way to address behavior issues and only puts children at risk for serious emotional and / or physical harm.

April 10, 2014

What Proceedings Take Place When a Child Dies or Suffers Serious Injuries at a Day Care Center? What Should a Parent Do?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Utah and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide supervision and oversight of their children while the parents are at work. Many day care centers are safe havens and very supportive and safe environments for others; however, there are that are quite dangerous. Tragically, children die while under the care of day care centers. It is certainly heartbreaking when any child dies but especially so when the death could have been avoided with better supervision, common sense, and care by the child care providers who had a legal duty to provide a safe learning environment for the child.

It was recently reported that a former day care operator located in Roy, Utah was charged with the serious crime of child abuse homicide surrounding the death of an 8-month-old child under the care of the day care center - Tots & Tykes Day Care. Tisha Lynn Morely, age 33, was charged with this crime and processed at the Weber County (Utah) Jail.

On February 19, 2014, the father of the child arrived at the day care center to pick up the child. Upon arrival, the father noticed that the child would not wake up and was cold to touch. The child was transported to Primary Children's Hospital where the child was diagnosed with a skull fracture. As a result of these injuries, the child died on February 28. A subsequent autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner determined that the death of this child was a homicide caused by head injuries. You can read more about this story at Charges Filed Against Utah Day Care Center Provider.

Cases of this nature often times provide a number of proceedings including the following:

Criminal Case. As stated in the news story regarding this incident, the day care center operator was arrested for a crime related to the child's injuries. A criminal proceeding can result when there is a death or injury at a day care center; however, not every case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney or law enforcement. In the State Statutes, there was specific elements to be proven to establish that a crime took place. One such element involves the "intent" of the potential criminal Defendant. Of course, if a day care employee or operator intentionally wants to harm a child and does in fact harm a child, that is a crime. It can also be a crime if the acts of the day care center provider were so reckless and callous that these acts are deemed criminal under the applicable State Statutes. When there is a criminal proceeding, the parents of the injured child or deceased child will typically be involved in the process as representatives of the victim. The State Attorney will provide updates to the parents from time to time as to the progress of the case, developments, and plea bargain issues. While parents are part of the process, they are not typically the final decision makers as to the disposition or handling of the case. These decisions are left to the State Attorney or the prosecutor of the case. Of course, if the case proceeds to trial, the decision on the case will be left to a jury. It should be noted that Lynn Morley will be entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney or a local public defender if she cannot afford to retain an attorney. While charges have been filed, Ms. Morley has the right to defend herself. A case of this nature will involve the testimony of the father, medical providers, investigators, the medical examiner, and others. A case should not and will not be decided in any form whatsoever by a mere newspaper or media story.

Administrative Proceeding. The applicable State licensing board may also be involved with an Administrative Proceeding. If the day care center was licensed, the applicable State licensing board may step in issue fines and / or other sanctions against the day care center. The license may be put on probation or suspension. When there are serious violations, the license may be suspended or revoked on a permanent basis. Parents and others can report alleged violations to the State and it is then the responsibility of the applicable State licensing board to field and investigate the allegations. While a parent may vehemently want the State to put a day care center out of business through the revocation of the license, it is ultimately up to the State to make these decisions. Typically, there are administrative rules, regulations, and proceedings to follow as to the licensure and operation of the day care center. Just because a day care center violates rules and regulations - this does not necessarily automatically subject the day care center to the suspension or revocation of the license.

Insurance Claim - Civil Proceeding.
Unlike an administrative proceeding and unlike a criminal proceeding, a parent of a child injured at a day care center does have a degree of control and decision making abilities in how the case is handled. Typically, it is in the best interest of the parents and child victim to retain a Child Injury Lawyer to represent the legal interest and rights of the injured child and family. While a parent has the freedom to select a lawyer to handle the matter, the civil proceeding or insurance claim will still be subject to applicable laws and proof requirements in the civil realm. Furthermore, there are practical aspects to the handling of any case on behalf of a child or any other victim for that matter. In a civil proceeding, the typical relief sought is that a compensation. In most States, there is no cause of action that can be filed in the civil arena to shut a day care center down or to prohibit a day care center from operating any further. As stated herein, these matters are left to the State whether through a criminal or administrative proceeding.

When a child is injured in a day care center, there are often many questions and issues to be addressed on behalf of the family. 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, Insurance and Bills, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

December 11, 2013

How are Family Day Care Centers Regulated in the State of Pennsylvania? What if a Child is Injured in a Pennsylvania Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

In Pennsylvania and other States, there are different kinds of day care centers that range from commercial day care centers to religious affiliated day care centers to small in home family day care centers. While each facility or day care center should provide the same basic supervision of children, the various types of day care centers are often times subject to different rules, regulations, and laws. CBS Channel 3 - The I Team - posted an informative article / video about the dangers and issues of Pennsylvania Family Day Care Centers. Here is a link for the article - I-Team - Who's Watching Out for Your Kids?

It was reported that there are approximately 800 family day care centers alone in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law allows a person to care for up to 6 children in these type of day care centers. There is no mandatory inspection prior to opening or thereafter. They are called family day care homes. The I Team investigation revealed that just 10 % of these family day care homes were subject to an inspection. That means that a whopping 90 % have not been inspected. While many such family day care homes provide excellent care for children, there are some that operate unsafely and put the health, safety, and well-being of children at risk.

The I Team did provide some helpful links in its story as follows:

5 Steps to Selecting a Child Care Provider

Compass Webstie for Family Child Care Home Inspection Reports

Family Child Care Home Regulations

A Parent's Guide to Choosing Quality Care and Stars

When a child is injured in a day care center, a parent is often faced with many challenges including medical care, medical bills, lost wages, and the overall stress of having a child injured due to the neglect or neglgience of the day care center. The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Knows - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Medical Treatment and Insurance, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

October 21, 2013

What if a Child is Subjected to Child Abuse, Corporal Punishment, or False Imprisonment at a Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Arizona and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe learning environment for their children. In most facilities, the day care center dutifully cares for the child in a supportive learning center for the children. With proper training and due diligence, children can truly flourish in a day care center. Unfortunately, for some children, a day care center experience is quite something else. Tragically, some children are abused, subjected to corporal punishment, or even falsely imprisoned or trapped in a day care center. When a parent learns of the abuse, neglect, or false imprisonment at a day care center, a parent is faced with many challenges and issues. It is at these times that a parent and the child will need the support of family, friends, community, law enforcement, mental health counselors, medical providers, and, yes, in the appropriate situation, child injury lawyers.

There are three types of legal actions that may apply or move forward when there is abuse, neglect, corporal punishment, or false imprisonment:

1. Criminal Proceedings. The arrest and / or criminal prosecution of a day care center worker accused of criminal acts is a decision to be made by the local law enforcement agency and the state attorney / prosectutor / district attorney. Often times, the investigation is coordinated in part with the social service agency in charge licensing and regulating day care centers and child care providers.

2. Administrative Proceedings. The State social service agency may also take action in the form of putting a day care center on probation, suspension, and in the appropriate circumstance - revocation of the license.

3. Civil Proceedings. A civil proceeding or case can be pursed regardless of there being a successful criminal proceeding or administrative proceeding. A parent, on behalf of the child, can pursue a civil case or claim for compensation for the emotional and / or physical harm caused to the child.

The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Medical Treatment and Bills, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

In Mesa, Arizona, it was reported that a day care center worker was accused and arrested for the abuse / false imprisonment of a child under her care. It was reported that the child was bound (tied up) with a blanket to the point that the child could not move. Another day care center worker was concerned about this method of "supervision" and took photos of the child. The photos were sent to the photos to the police. The day care center worker will be entitled to representation by a Criminal Defense Lawyer or the local Public Defender. It is most concerning that there are photographs in place that show the restraint of the child. The day care center worker will likely try to explain away the "restraints" and argue that no harm was caused to the child. You can read more about this incident at Mesa, Arizona Child Care Worker Arrested.

October 8, 2013

What if a Child is Abused, Neglected, or Raped in a Day Care Center?

By Andrew Baker, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Ohio and other States, day care centers should be safe havens for children where they can play, learn, and feel safe. Unfortunately, some day care center workers use their positions of trust to prey on children and even infants in day care centers.

In Elyria, Ohio, it was reported that a day care center worker - Heather Coon - was charged and arrested for two counts of rape. Investigators discovered disturbing video evidence of a person engaging in inappropriate, disturbing, and horrendous acts against an infant. Koon and her boyfriend, James Osborne, were arrested and then held in Lorain County Jail. Since this is a criminal case, both Koon and Osborne will be entitled to representation by an Ohio criminal defense attorney or the public defender's office. The video has not been released to the general public as of this time and may not in the future due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter on the video. You can read more about this story at Ohio Day Care Center Charged with Raping a Baby After Police Discover Video. It was reported that the Ohio day care center (ABC Kidz) is cooperating with the investigation of this most serious matter.

It is certainly a harrowing real life nightmare for the parents of a child abused or neglected in a day care center. Actual videos and photographs serve as powerful evidence in cases of this nature. The videos and photographs are also a visualization that a parent will never be able to forget. The criminal case must be developed and go through the required processes and procedures. Evidence must be gathered, authenticated, and formally admitted into evidence. Witness statements and other evidence will also be collected in the criminal case as well.

When a child is neglected or otherwise harmed at a day care center, it is important that the parents and child get support from other family members, their church or other religious affilitations, the neighborhood, community, and, yes, both the civil and criminal justice systems. Law enforcement and the local prosecutor's office will be resppnsible for the criminal investigation. Parents can also have their own legal representation during a criminal procedure. While a Child Injury Lawyer will not be able to directly control the prosecution or criminal court proceedings, a Child Injury Lawyer can help guide the parents through the process andhelp the parents voice their concerns on behalf of the child.

In addition to the criminal proceedings, the parents of the victimized child may decide to pursue a civil claim or case against the day care worker individually and / or the day care center that employed the day care center worker. There will be a number of facts and circumstances to review and investigate including the following:

How many times was the child abused or neglected at the day care center?

What training was provided to the day care center worker?

Was a background check performed? Updated?

What supervision was provided at the facility?

Where did the incidents take place?

Did the supervisors or management have knowledge of the incidents?

What actions could have been taken to prevent or stop the incidents from taking place?

Did the day care center follow its own procedures as to the care of the child?

Did the day care center follow the applicable State regulations in caring for the child?

When a child is injured at a day care center, school, or other locations, a parent may be able to pursue a claim or case on behalf of the injured child. Each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances. 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, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.


October 7, 2013

What are the Dangers of Inattentive or Untrained Staff Members at Day Care Centers? Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death

By George Podgorny, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In North Carolina and other States, it is important that staff members at day care centers are both trained and attentive. These attributes go hand in hand. Without proper training, all of the attention in the world may prove futile in protecting a child at the day care cente. The same logic applies to a well trained individual who is inattentive or distracted from the prime task at hand - the proper supervision of the children at the day care center. At times, the wrongful death or personal injury to a child at a day care center results from a combination of a lack of adequate training / knowledge and inattention. Tragically, many injuries and deaths that take place at North Carolina Day Care Centers and other facilities could have been easily prevented.

A tragic incident took place in Fort Bragg, North Carolina at the Pope Child Development Center on March 9, 2012. The events of the day were detailed in an investigation later conducted by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education. You can read more details about this incident at Family Sues North Carolina Day Care Center. The criminal case was investigated by authorities but prosecutors ultimately decided not to pursue a criminal case against the day care center workers on duty at the time of the incident. The civil case was recently filed by the family. Each side will have the benefit of legal counsel and representation.

When there is a death of a child, there will be an autopsy performed. Legal proceedings that are pursued because of the death often involve the testimony of expert witnesses as to the cause of death, mechanism of death, and preventability of death. It is common to have a "battle of the experts" as to the cause of death and preventability of death. Because there is no unanimous consensus by the medical professionals and experts, litigation results and the case proceeds through formal legal proceedings that result in the following: a dismissal of the case, a settlement of the case, summary judgment for the plainiff, summary judgment for the defendant, a verdict for the defendant, or a verdict for the plaintiff.

When a child is injured or dies at a day care center, it is important for the parents to seek out legal advice from a Child Injury Lawyer to find out the legal rights and remedies on behalf of the injured child.

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, Medical Treatment and Bills, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

October 6, 2013

What is the Incident Rate of GU (Genitourinary) Injuries for Bicyclists (Adult and Children)?

Bicycling Leads All Sports in Genitourinary Injuries

VANCOUVER—Bicycle riding accounts for more genitourinary (GU) injuries in the U.S. than any other sport, with children suffering 10 times as many bike-related injuries as adults, researchers reported at the 33rd Congress of the Societé Internationale d'Urologie.

Those are among the findings of a review of information in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) from 2002-2010. NEISS is a national probability sample of hospitals in the U.S. and its territories. NEISS is run by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and includes data from a sampling of American hospitals on every emergency department visit involving an injury associated with consumer products.

Benjamin Breyer, MD, of the Department of Urology at the University of California San Francisco, dug through thousands of line items in the NEISS to find bike-related GU injuries, identifying a total of 1,627. These included any type of fall from a bike, a bike rider colliding with an object other than his/her bike or the ground, and a person striking a part of his/her bike to produce injury. Overlapping injuries could happen: That is, one incident could produce more than one type of injury.

Collisions accounted for about 70% of the injuries. Sixty-one percent of the injured individuals were male. Furthermore, 12.1% were adult hospital inpatients and 6.6% were pediatric hospital inpatients, indicating adults were more likely to be hospitalized.

Dr. Breyer calculated from these data that there were 53 and 448 bike-related GU injuries/100,000 person-years in adults and children, respectively, in 2002-2010.

“I bet parents have a lower threshold to seek attention for their child, and also pediatric injuries appeared less severe, because children had fewer kidney injuries and fewer admissions,” Dr. Breyer said in explaining the disparities in rates.

He calculated that this translated into a total of more than 43,200 such injuries across the U.S. in that time period. This is significantly higher than the total for all other sports-related GU injuries combined, including swimming (the sport associated with the second-highest total of GU injuries), football, basketball, soccer, skiing/snowboarding, and sports involving vehicles.

Children were most likely to have injuries of the female external genitalia, scrotum/testes, or penis. Adults were more likely to have injuries of the scrotum/testes. The urethra and kidneys were also injured in many patients, with adults being more likely than kids to have a kidney injury.

The top tube was responsible for the largest portion of injuries—about 50% in both adults and children. Handle bars caused the second-largest proportion of injuries.

Dr. Breyer and his colleagues now are exploring ways to promote injury prevention and are also examining what bicycle-related injuries occur to the rest of the body.

http://www.renalandurologynews.com/bicycling-leads-all-sports-in-genitourinary-injuries/article/314025/

October 6, 2013

What if a Child is Abused or Assaulted at a Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Pennsylvania and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe educational environment for their children. Day care centers should be licensed when required by law and otherwise abide by all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, a day care center and its employees should follow the center's own policies and procedures. Furthermore, all day care center staff members should keep in mind that it is the best interest of the children that should be the focus every day - every minute that the children are being supervised at or by the day care center. Unfortunately, some children are the victims of abuse, neglect, negligence, and even assaults at day care centers. Through better supervision and monitoring by the day care center staff, many such incidents can be avoided or prevented. It is important for day care centers to provide proper trainig and certification of staff members. In addition, the day care center itself should be clean and properly maintained so that it is a safe environment for children. Whatever the pay or the position at a day care center, each job is nonetheless vital because the safety and well being of the children are at risk otherwise.

It was recently reported that Cumberland County Day Care Center - Children's Arc - was recently shut down by officials with the State of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. It was reported that there were issues with documentation and testing of employees. You can read more about this story at Cumberland County (Pennsylvania) Day Care Center Closed After Reported Child Choking.

What if a child abused or assaulted at a day care center? What should a parent do? These are excellent questions but there is no one simple answer to either question. If a child is abused or assaulted at a day care center, the parents may consider the following:

Report the incident to the day care center administration and ownership;

Report the incident to the licensing authority for the day care center;

Report the incident to the local police;

Contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice and guidance on the matter;

Have the child examined / evaluated by a qualified medical provider or facility;

Take photograps of any visible injuries; and / or

Write down any information the parent obtains regarding the incident as to times, dates, witnesses, statements, and other details.

The book - The ABCs of Chid lnjury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

October 4, 2013

Can a Parent, Babysitter, Day Care Worker, or Other Care Provider Be Criminally Prosecuted for the Death of a Child? What is the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Case?

By Steven R. Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In New York and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of abuse, neglect, and physical violence. In some instances, the injuries are hidden or masked because the resulting injuries are subtle in nature and explained away by everyday incidents like playing sports or falling down. In other instances, the injuries are far more serious and even fatal. A criminal case went to trial in Manhattan, New York.

Even though the facts or resulting injuries may seem clear to the typical person, there is still a burden upon the State to prove that the injuries resulted from a criminal act. As such, expert testimony is often presented in both criminal and civil cases to prove that the death was the result of a "bad" act rather than an unforeseeable and unpreventable incident. In this New York case, Clayden Urbanek (14 months old) died as a result of fatal blows and trauma exerted by the mother's boyfriend according to prosecutors. A pediatric specialist, Kimberly Molik, M.D., testified that the injuries sustained by the child were among the worse that she has seen in her medical career. You can read more about this story at New York Child Death - Criminal Trial in Manhattan - Doctor and Others Testify.

When a child dies as a result of alleged abuse or neglect, the person inflicting or causing the harm can be arrested and prosecuted. This includes parents, babysitters, day care center workers, teachers, coaches, and other individuals to intentionally or carelessy inflict harm upon the child. When a child dies, there are a variety of charges that may be brought. This will depend on the evidence available, facts and circumstances, laws in place, and the philosophy and approach by the local prosecutor to the particular case.

It should be pointed out that a criminal case is much different than a civil case that involves the death of a child. Here are the differences:

1. Who files and brings forth the case?

In a criminal case, the State through the prosecutor's office files the case against the Defendant.

In a civil case, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased child through a Child Injury Lawyer files the case against the Defendant. A civil case may also be brought against a day care center, school, sports organization, or other entity who may have played a role in the death and / or was responsible for training and supervising the Defendant.

2. What is the standard of proof?

In a criminal case, the State must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil case, the Estate must typically prove the case by the greater weight of the evidence. It should be noted that the criminal standard is typically much tougher than the civil standard of proof.

3. Is compensation available through the proceeding?

In a criminal case, restitution may be ordered to compensate the parents for out of pocket economic expenses. Typically, a parent is not awarded pain and suffering type of damages through a criminal proceeding.

In a civil case, compensation can be pursued in the form of both economic damages and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). While a parent can seek compensation, collecting upon a settlement or a judgment for the damages may prove difficult if there is no liability insurance for the incident that took place and the Defendant does not have any substantial assets to cover a settlement or judgment.

4. Can the Defendant be sentenced to a prison term?

In a criminal case, a prison term can be served pursuent to a verdict of guilty or through a plea bargain. Typically, a Judge must approve or issue any sentencting orders.

In a civil case, no prison term or incarceration can be ordered because it is not the proper forum to issue such orders.

The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Medical Bills and Insurance, Child Abuse, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

October 3, 2013

What is the Statute of Limitations to Bring a Case On Behalf of an Injured Child in the State of Washington?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In the State of Washington, children are the unfortunate victims of personal injuries that are caused by automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, playgroud injuries, school injuries, and other incidents. When a child is injured, a parent is faced with many challenges in dealing with the medical care, insurance issues, and, yes, legal issues that may arise in any given case. When a child is injured, it is important for a parent to stay calm and get the support of family and friends when getting through this most difficult period for the child and the immediate family. A Child Injury Lawyer can help guide the parent through the maze of issues and challenges that present themselves in most cases.

One issue that should be addressed up front is that of timing. What is the Statute of Limitations to Bring a Case on Behalf of an Injured Child in the State of Washington? Fortunately, the legislators in the State of Washington passed a law that gives plenty of time to bring an action. Under Washington Law, the Statute of Limitations for a child injury does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of 18. This means that a parent, in most instances, has years of time to pursue a legal claim or case on behalf of an injured child. While there is plenty of time to bring forth a case, it is advisable to act promptly when a child is injured. By waiting years upon years to pursue a case, documents otherwise available are lost or destroyed. Witness memories fade and businesses go under and insurance policies lapse. Because most consultations for child injury cases are fre

October 2, 2013

Can a Teacher or Day Care Worker Be Arrested for Child Abuse / Corporal Punishment?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Louisiana and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of abuse and neglect. The victimization of a child can take place at a home, relative's home, friend's home, in public, and, yes, even in a day care center. When a child is enrolled in a day care center, the facility has a duty to provide the child with a safe and clean learning environment that is free from abuse. The staff should be well trained. Furthermore the staff should have the personality and patience to be able to optimally and safely work with children. Day care center workers that are unhappy with their jobs, inpatient, immature, or just lazy may end up lashing out at a young child. It is well known that children do not always listen and at times disobey adults. Furthermore, children, especially day care age children, will cry and make messes. If a day care center worker cannot handle the foreseeable and common acts associated with young children, the the day care worker should not be employed in that position. For the safety and well being of the children, a more qualified and patient day care center employee should fill the position by the day care worker who simply cannot or will not handle the serious and important responsibilities of the job.

When a day care worker abuses a child in a day care center, can the day care center worker be prosecuted or arrested for the abuse or corporal punishment? The simple answer to this question is "Yes". However, it should be pointed out that not every single instance of abuse or corporal punishment rises to the level that local law enforcement / prosecutors will issue an arrest warrant. The arrest / prosecution of a day care center worker accused of abuse, neglect, or corporal punishment will depend on a number of factors including the following:

*Date of the incident compared to when the incident was reported;

*Witnessed to the incident;

*Injuries sustained by the child;

*Other evidence of the incident / abuse (i.e. photographs, videotape, incident reports);

*Cooperation and information provided by the day care center; and

*Other factors.

If a parent suspects that a child has been abused in a day care center, the parent should take action to report the issues to the day care center management, the social service agency in charge of regulating day care centers in the State, and / or local law enforcement.

In Louisiana, two day care center workers were arrested in August 2013 after law enforcement reviewed video footage of the day care center workers hitting and otherwise abusing children at the Bellaire Learning Center. This private Christian based learning center employed individuals who allegedly abused and intimidated the children rather than show patience, compassion, and due care of the children enrolled in the facility. You can read more about this story and see some of the video at Parents Share Video of Possible Day Care Center Abuse. The day care center workers will be entitled to legal representation by a criminal defense attorney or by the local public defender's office.

The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Day Care Cener Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Medical Care / Insurance, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

October 1, 2013

What Laws and Regulations Apply for School Bus Drivers in Florida? Should a Driver Stop When a School Bus Stops on the Roadway?

By David Wolf, Attorney and Kurt Sigmund, Legal Assistant
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Florida and other States, iconic yellow school buses can be seen virtually year round on Florida streets, highways, and neighborhoods. At times, the presence and operation of a school bus can slow down traffic and possibly even make you late for work. When you see a yellow school bus on the roadway, keep in mind that the buses transport our community's most important resource - our children. As such, slow down and drive cautious when you see a yellow school bus.

Federal and State laws form the foundation for the school transportation system. A school bus drivers should be trained to safely perform the job. The law requires that buses be physically inspected every 30 days. All school bus drivers are required to attend yearly training and screening for their ability to safely drive the bus. In contrast, drivers in the general public are not required to meet such standards. In fact, many drivers go years without taking a driving test. At many driver's license renewal appointments for standard drivers, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles merely checks your vision and then re-issues the Florida Driver's License. See Florida School Bus Regulations and Training Requirements.

It is important to take a moment from time to time to review how you, as a driver, interact with school buses on the road. First and foremost, all drivers must come to a complete stop when a school bus displays the stop signal while driving in the same direction as the bus and the opposite direction on two lane roads. On multi-lane roadways, drivers must stop unless there is an unpaved space greater than 5 feet between opposite lanes such as a median or a barrier between the lanes of traffic. To be clear, the traffic must stop on roadways where there is a turn lane in between opposite lanes of traffic.

Even with these Florida laws and regulations in place, distracted drivers carelessly drive right by a stopped school bus with all of its flashing lights and "stop signs". The potential for injury is increased dramatically when drivers do not follow the applicable Florida traffic laws and it happens all too frequently in Florida.

A bus driver in St. Johns County, Florida recently reported that at least one car passes his stopped yellow school bus every other day. In a one day survey performed last year by the Florida Department of Education, the Department found that 21,000 vehicles passed stopped school busses throughout the State of Florida. From the survey, the total number of potential violations for a school year would be 3.7 million violations in a 6 month time period.

Remember that children can be unpredictable and dart out into the roadway after getting off of the school bus. Therefore, all drivers must be alert and follow the applicable Florida laws. It is helpful to put down the mobile phone and focus on the traffic conditions and, yes, the child pedestrians. When a driver passes a school bus when stopped, the driver has committed a moving violation and is subject to citation. Upon conviction, the driver is required to pay a fine, attend a Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) approved driver’s school within 90 days and receive four points on his or her license.

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, Medical Care and Insurance, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

Here is the Florida Statute on point that requires drivers to stop when a school bus is stopped with flashing lights on a Florida road.

MOTOR VEHICLES Chapter 316
STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL

316.172 Traffic to stop for school bus.—
(1)(a) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. A person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
(b) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle that passes a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318, and is subject to a mandatory hearing under the provisions of s. 318.19.
(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier is not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus which is stopped in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(3) Every school bus shall stop as far to the right of the street as possible and shall display warning lights and stop signals as required by rules of the State Board of Education before discharging or loading passengers. When possible, a school bus shall not stop where the visibility is obscured for a distance of 200 feet either way from the bus.
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