Articles Posted in School Safety

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School Bus - BlueBy David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

School Bus Back ViewIn the State of Washington and other States, schools and day care centers transport our most precious and important passengers – our children. In doing so, the school and day care center drivers have a legal responsibility to drive in a safe manner, obey traffic regulations and signs, and otherwise use their best efforts and judgment to get the children from one place to another.  One of the easiest tasks is the responsibility to make sure that all children are removed from the bus at the appropriate stop and certainly by the end of the run.   While this is a somewhat simple task, it is one that is commonly overlooked by day care center / school bus drivers and attendants.  It certainly requires more that merely checking the rear view mirror or completing a quick glance towards the back of the van or bus.  A school bus driver should conduct a visible sweep of the school bus. In other words, a school bus driver should safety park the bus and then get out of his or her seat and walk from the front of the bus or van and look in every seat and aisle all the way to the back and make sure that all children are removed from the bus.  It is also a good way to see if any children left any items on the bus like book bags, books, lunches, sports equipment, mobile phones, etc.  It is also a good idea to conduct a visible sweep two times for good measure.  If there is both a school bus driver and an attendant, then it is recommended by some school and child safety experts that each person (the school bus driver and the attendant) conduct the visible sweep of the bus.

In addition to the visible sweep of the bus, a checklist should be completed and documented as to the visible sweep and as to each child who was transported that day and dropped off at a particular location.   By following these simple measures, a child should not be left behind on a school bus.  Unfortunately, children continue to left on school buses due to inattention and quick glances rather than taking the extra minute or two to thoroughly check through the bus as noted above.
It was reported that a North Thurston Public School bus driver resigned after a 6-year old boy with special needs was mistakenly left on a school bus for seven hours.  Fortunately, the child was eventually located at 10:30 p.m. by school officials in the school bus at the school bus depot.   An investigation involved interviewing the school bus drive and witnesses. There was also video available to review as well.  The North Thurston Public School bus driver was upset over the incident and later resigned. You can read more about this story at Kindergarten Student Left on School Bus in North Thurston, Washington. 
When a child is left on a school bus or day care center van for an extended period of time, what are the rights of the child to compensation?  There is no simple answer to this question. It requires an analysis of the facts and circumstances.  Certainly, a child has the right to adequate and appropriate supervision especially when there is a special needs child involved.  The violation of rights does not necessarily equate with compensation from a legal and / or practical standpoint in every instance.  Again, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances and then applied to the facts of that particular State or jurisdiction.  Typically, there are four elements to prove in pursuing a legal case for compensation as follows:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
There is a duty to thoroughly visibly inspect the bus after every run and make sure that all children get to the assigned drop off point.  With respect to the North Thurston incident, there appears to be a breach of this duty when the child was not dropped off as required.   The next element causation refers to the relationship to the breach of duty and damages or harm caused to the child.  In some jurisdictions depending on the incident or type of case, a case can be pursued for purely emotional damages, mental anguish, stress, and related injuries when there are no physical injuries involved; however, these cases can be quite challenging to prove especially when there is a special needs child involved.
Of course, if a child is left unattended and suffers physical injuries requiring medical care and attention, these cases are easier to prove and present.   As stated herein, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and merits.
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, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury
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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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One of the best experience for a child enrolled in a day care center, school, or summer camp is the field trip. It certainly can be an adventure for the day to get out to a different location and have fun with friends. Common destinations for field trips include: swimming pools, beaches, amusement parks, theme parks, movie theaters, historic sites, and other locations. Typically, a field trip is a great experience for a child.
Unfortunately for some children, a field trip can also be a day filled with pain and suffering resulting physical injuries and even the death of an innocent child.

It is important for day care centers, summer camps, and schools to have policies and procedures in place during field trip related activities. Adherence to these policies and procedures along with compliance with applicable state and local rules regulations ordinances can help prevent serious injuries from taking place during a field trip related activity.

What if the child is injured during the field trip? Any time a child is outside the safe confines of his or her home – there is a risk or danger of personal injuries. There are certainly risks and dangers associated any forms of transportation. There are also dangers and risks anytime that there is water as the main part of the activity (i.e. swimming) or bodies of water nearby (i.e. lakes, rivers, ponds, canals, and oceans).

If a child is injured, the first thing that the supervising adult should do is the stablize and calm the child and seek medical attention when necessary. At times, a first aid kit is all that is needed to address the child’s injuries. In other cases, fire rescue should be called in and when necessary transport to an emergency room, urgent care center or pediatrician’s office.

If an injury is foreseeable and preventable, then there may be a civil case or claim to pursue. Under these circumstances, a parent should discuss the potential case with a Child Injury Lawyer. There are a few general safety guidelines that should be followed in any given field trip including the following:

Children should wear the same color shirt when possible to make roll call and identification during supervision much easier;

Roll call should be repeatedly taken during transporation and during the visit to the destintation to make sure that all children are accounted for;

A buddy system should be put in place for each and every child;

Chaperones and volunteers should be trained and attentive during the field trip;

There should be a sufficient amount of staff members in place during the field trip;

Rules for the field trip should be discussed with all child care providers, volunteers, chaperones, and, yes, the children.

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, amusement and theme park related injuries, swimming and water related injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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When a parent sends a child off to school on a school bus, it is the expectation of the parent that the child will be transported safely to and from school. Unfortunately, school bus accidents result from the negligent driving of the school bus driver, other drivers, or the combination of the two. Since school buses are on the roads of most communities year round, it is vital that school bus safety is given a top priority by school bus drivers and other driving in the area of a school bus. This is especially true at bus stops and school zones. One basic safety tip to keep in mind is the following: SLOW DOWN. While this is very basic and simple advice, it is something to keep in mind any time somebody is driving near a school bus, school bus stop, or school zone. When a child is injured as a result of a school bus accident, here are the potential sources of payment of medical bills and / or compensation for the injuries sustained by the child:

Automobile Insurance of the Child’s Parents. Depending on the State and the type of insurance in place, a child may be able to seek benefits under the parent’s automobile policy. The child may qualify as an insured person depending on the language and coverage in the automobile policy.

Automobile Insurance of the School or School Bus Company. The child may also qualify for benefits under the insurance for the school or school bus company. The amount and type of coverage will depend on the availability of other insurance and / or if the school bus driver was at fault for the school bus accident.

Automobile Insurance of the At Fault Driver or Owner of the At Fault Vehicle. There may be coverage for the at fault driver or the owner of the at fault vehicle.

Health Insurance. Health insurance may be available to the student to pay for medical bills depending on the State laws in place and the availability of other insurance.

Student Accident Insurance. Some schools and programs carry Student Accident Insurance which may provide coverage for school bus related injuries and related damages.

The laws and insurance applicable to a school bus accident can be quite complex and confusing. Because of this, it is important for a parent to contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and legal representation. The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Automobile Accidents, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Maryland and other States, acts of bullying have been caught or recorded on videotape, iPhones, Droids, videocameras, and surveillance video. Some bullies know that there brutal acts are being recorded and some do not. Some bullies even post their exploits to Facebook, You Tube, and other Websites for the whole world to see. It is unfortunate that bullying is still common in schools, day care centers, camps, sports teams, and elsewhere. Over the past few years, there appears to be more of an awareness of bullying and the passage of policies, procedures, regulations, and laws against bullying; however, bullying persists and comes in many forms including those that cause serious physical injuries and / or serious emotional harm. When a parent obtains videotape proof of bullying or a confirmed Incident Report of bullying, the parent is then faced with the issue of whether or not to puruse a claim or case seeking compensation for the harm caused by the acts of bullying. This is not an easy decision especially if the child victim is still enrolled in the school, day care center, camp, or other facility / location where the bullying acts took place. Furthermore, it is also complicated if the bully and the child victim continue to attend the same school or facility.

In Brunswick, Maryland, a high school sophmore (Preston Deener) was scheduled to be interviewed about issues with bullies at his school when he was bullied right then and there on camera by three boys. You can read more about this incident and other problems encountered by this student at Bullying Acts Caught on Videotape.

When a child is the victim of bullying acts in a school, day care center, or other location, a parent is faced with many issues involved with the potential claim or legal case including:

*Availability of medical coverage from the school or facility;
*Availability of health insurance;
*Availability and pursuit of liability insurance;
*Medical treatment to evaluate and care for current injuries:
*Need for future medical treatment;
*Decision as to whether to remain in the school or facility;
*Amount of compensation deserved for the injuries;
*Dealing with insurance adjusters; and
*Other Matters.

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

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By Jeremy Vishno, Attorney, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In many homes, day care centers, schools, and other locations, there is a danger present for children. Simply enough, the danger presents itself in the form of an open window or a window that can be opened by a child. Whether the child crawls out a first story window or higher window, the danger is present. A child can suffer fractures, lacerations, and head injuries from a fall out of a window. Because of the risks and dangers of windows, it is vital that all child care providers including babysitters, relatives, parents, neighbors, coaches, day care centers, and schools properly secure windows accessible to children. A safety check should be performed and recommendations should be made as to all windows and doors in the building, facility, or home.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

In Hartford Connecticut, a 2 year old boy was injured when he fell from a window while under the care of babysitter. The boy got out onto the roof and then fell. He suffered significant injuries including a fractured skull. The babysitter was charged by local enforcement regarding the incident. Of course, the babysitter is entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney for the public defender regarding these criminal charges. See Child Falls in Connecticut – Importance of Safety and Supervision.

The incident reported in Connecticut helps illustrate the importance of window safety and consistent supervision when children are present.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In homes, schools, and day care centers, children are at risk for serious personal injuries from an object present in every building – the door or door way. The National Safety Council estimates that there are 300,000 finger injuries from doors every year. Of these incidents, there are 26,000 finger amputations or fractures. Many of these injury victims are children. A serious finger injury can be permanent in nature and affect the injured person for a lifetime.

Carlsbad Safety Products is a company based in Califorrnia. The company has a site named www.pinchnot.com which has a listing of the products distributed by the company. The child safety products distributed by this company make door ways and door jams safer especially when children are present. The expense of these safety products are minimal in light of the serious injuries that are prevented by the Pinch Not products distributed by Carlsbad Safety Products.

Schools and day care centers have a duty to provide a safe educational environment for children under the care of the facility. Consistent and timely supervision is vital to keeping children out of harm’s way. A moment of inattention can lead to serious personal injuries especially for a child who gets his or her hands caught in a door jam without a safety device in place. The risk manager or director of each and every facility should survey the premises to make sure that all reasonable and necessary measures are taken to ensure the safety and well being of children in homes, day care centers, and schools.

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, Homeowner’s Insurance, Medical Treatment / Bills, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In California and other States, school yard fights are still waged out there. The participants coul be from any grade and include boys and / or girls. It is interesting that some fights or brawls in o near schools are well known to many children during the day and prior to the fight. Unfortunately, in many instances, nobody steps forward to report the planned fight to school officials. Furtheremore, when the fight starts, many students prevent others from breaking up and / or ending the fight. A tragic death was recently reported in Long Beach, California. It was reported that a 10 year old girl – Joanna Ramos – died from a head injury that she sustained in a fight with a classmate who was 11 years old. Joanna suffered a blood clot as a result of the fight which in turn caused her death. It is most unfortunate that the death occured and that medical care was not provided in a timely manner. See Death of California Girl After Fight Ruled a Homicide.

When a child suffers a personal injury at a school or day care center, there are often many questions and concerns by the parent. Issues that arise in these situations include the following:

Where did the fight or incident take place?

Were there staff members in the area? Should there have been staff members in the area?

Is there a better way to supervise the children between the school and after school program?

Is there a way to encourage students to report that a fight is going to take place?

What protocols should be followed as to medical care or evaluation at the school following a fight?

Was there anything that could have been done to prevent the fight from taking place?

Unfortunately, fights happen at or near schools. Children do not realize that a simple school yard fight can lead to serious personal injuries and even the death of a classmate.

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, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By John Jensen, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In North Carolina and other states, school boards of policies and procedures are often times available on the school Board’s website. Is it important to have these procedures in place? The answer is “Yes”. Is it important to follow these policies and procedures? The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes”. Emergency policies and procedures are an important part of every school Board’s procedure manual. For each and every school district, bus drivers and assistants should be aware of these policies and procedures. Training is vital for those who driver and / or supervise children being transported to and from school and / or field trip activities. At times, a school employee fails to follow a procedure or policy regarding transportation and supervision. In these instances, injuries can take place.

In North Carolina, a fire was recently reported on the school bus. Fortunately, the school bus driver acted quickly and removed the children from the bus in a calm and organized manner. This school bus driver should be commended for acts of heroism. The photograph and video of the bus in flames would cause concern to any parent. There were no injuries reported from this incident but if the policies and procedures were not followed or if the school bus driver was not paying close attention then certain tragedy would have happened in the form of personal injuries and wrongful death. It is as important to report the stories in which the children are injured as the stories in which the children are are saved. We can all learn from from our successes as well as our failures. The focus should always be the safety of the children. The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child What Every Parent Should Know has chapters on school injuries, day care center injuries, damages and compensation, medical treatment, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. If you have a concern about a child injury while being transported by a school or day care center, contact a Child Injury Lawyer for consultation and legal representation. Child injury cases for the most part are handled on a contingency basis meaning No Recovery and No Fees.

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By Robert Chaiken, Attorney & David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Texas and other States, drivers should exercise the utmost of caution when driving in or near an area of school bus stops. School buses are typically large, yellow vehicles that are easily seen. When a school bus stops, it should be obvious to all drivers in the area. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore the obvious presence of a school bus and put children in danger by reckless and careless driving. As a result thereof, children suffer serious personal injuries when they are hit by a vehicle in or near a school bus stop zone. See Texas Child Struck by Driver While Walking from School Bus.

A driver was recently arrested and charged with a hit and run collision after he hit a child walking home from school after getting off of a school bus. Ivy Pilgreen, a 1st grade student from Silsbee, Texas, suffered serious personal injuries and required care at the UMTB pediatric unit.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Medical Treatment / Medica Bills, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. A parent or other interested person can receive a free copy of this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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A common element in many homes can cause significant risk of injury to a child – the open window. Every year – over 5000 emergency room visits are reported that were necessitated when a child fell out of a window of a building. The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio collected research and reported on the dangers of falls out of windows and resulting personal injuries to children. The danger can be easily removed by having window guards installed in the home, school, day care center, and other location frequented by children. It is also vital that adult supervision is provided in these settings. See Falls from Windows Cause Injuries to Children.

Child safety experts also recommend that homeowners, schools, and day care centers remove furniture away from window areas to prevent the wandering or curious child from using the furniture to gain access to the window sill area.