Articles Posted in Alabama

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Alabama and other States, most day care centers are required to apply for and maintain a license. For the reputable day care centers, background checks are completed to determine if the day care center employee has a criminal history and if the person presents an apparent risk to children. In addition, employment and backgrounds are completed as to the work history of the employee. While it is impossible to weed out or keep out all bad elements from being employed at a day care center, due diligence should be taken to check on the backgrounds and work histories of the day care center workers. When a parent enrolls a child into a day care center, it is reasonable for a parent to ask about and meet the day care center employees working in the facility. It is also reasonable to ask if any other employees or visitors have access to or will be near the children in the day care center. At some day care centers, the owners and / or relatives of the owners present a risk to children in the day care center facility. Background checks are not always completed on relatives living at the home day care center or who may visit the home or commercial day care center. Tragically, children are, at times, abused and molested by day care center employees, day care center owners, family members of owners / employees, or visitors to the day care center.

In Clay, Alabama, the Associated Press reported that a teenager was accused of sexually abusing children in a Jefferson County, Alabama day care center. The Birmingham Sheriff’s Office reported that a 17 year old (Eric Lemont Higden) was charged with sexually abusing children less than 12 years old and with the crime of sodomy. Law enforcement authorities reported that Higden’s mother worked at Mama’s Place Christian Academy. The allegations involved 4 children. These are quite serious criminal charges that will require a full criminal investigation. Eric Lemont Higden will be entitled to the services of an Alabama criminal defense attorney or the services of the local Public Defender’s office. For more information regarding this matter, see 17 Year Old Arrested Due to Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Clay Alabama Day Care Center.

The story reported above helps illustrate the importance of parents knowing the following:

Who is watching my child at the day care center?
Who regularly visits a day care center?
Are background checks performed on all individuals have contact or access to my child?

Of course, if a criminal background check is performed on a person with no criminal background, the information will do nothing to warn a facility or day care center of the dangerous propensities of that individual. In addition to background checks, a general rule should be that all persons having access to a child should have State required training and licensing. Furthermore policies and procedures should be issued and followed that help prevent (to the extent possible) any isolation of a child with just one employee or adult person at a 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, Child Abuse, Medical Bills and Treatment, 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
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Alabama and other States, children will at times misbehave and disobey instructions by parents or guardians. While it is appropriate to punish punish or discipline a child for bad behavior, it is important for parents and caregivers to recognize and understand that physical forms of punishment can lead to serious personal injuries in some instances the unfortunate and tragic death of a child. It was recently reported that a child died as a result of complications from dehydration relating to punishment that was given to the child for eating a candy bar. The child was forced to run for a three hour time period until the child eventually collapsed from exhaustion and dehydration. Law-enforcement officials have arrested two women who were supervising child at time for crimes related to this incident. See Alabama Girl Dies as a Result of Excessive Discipline. Of course, the women, who were arrested, will be entitled to representation from a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. Cases of this nature will depend on the facts, circumstances, witness statements, and the forensic evidence including the child’s medical records and autopsy and laboratory results.

A parent or guardian does have to discipline a child; however there are bounds and restrictions to the punishment by parents or guardians especially when the punishment is physical in nature and leads to serious personal injuries or the death of child. Unfortunately, many parents and guardians do not realize or recognize the dangers of certain punishment that is given to a child.

What may have been commonplace or acceptable years ago years ago or the parents own personal experience or as a child may be outdated, archaic, and illegal. The fact that a parent or other person was subjected to a particular form of punishment in his or her childhood or as part of the family history is not excuse for conduct that is reckless in nature that places a child at risk for personal injuries and death.

Corporal punishment or a physical form of punishment in schools day care centers reasonable is discouraged by many child safety advocates and pediatricians. The focus of parenting should be that should revolve around instruction, nurturing, and commonsense. The best interests of the child should always be considered by the parent, teache, day care provider, and other child care provider.. The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Child Abuse / Neglect, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Robert Eugene Frost, also known as “Mr. Bob” by the children and parents at a Cahaba Heights, Alabama, day care center, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting a girl at the center. Frost was an employee at Christian’s Day Care and Learning Academy, which closed soon after his 2010 arrest. The 76-year-old man was indicted on charges of sexually molesting 3 girls at the day care center where he worked. A jury convicted him of first-degree sexual abuse committed against one of the children. However, a mistrial was declared concerning the other two girls because the jurors could not reach a verdict. The names of the parents of the victims were not released in order to conceal the identity of the child victims. Under Alabama law, first-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. Because the sexual abuse in Frost’s case involved a child, the minimum sentence Frost could have received was 10 years imprisonment. While handing down her judgment, Circuit Judge Virginia Vinson stated she wished she could have sentenced him to a longer term because, she believes, this is one the most heinous offenses a human being can commit against another. For more read 76-year-old day care center worker found guilty of first-degree sexual abuse against a child, sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Alabama and other States, trust is a vital component of placing a child in a day care center. If a parent has concerns or lacks the trust of a day care center or child care provider, a parent may consider changing day care centers. Many parents rely on faith based or church day care centers to provide child care during working hours. In Alabama and Other States, the government regulations for a church day care center may differ from a commercial (non faith based) day care center. For instance, background checks may not be required if the day care center is connected to or affiliated with a church. While background checks do not automatically make a day care center safe and free from dangers, background checks do help weed out sexual predators and others with a criminal background who may pose a danger or risk to children. When selecting a day care center, ask if the day care center performs background checks and also ask to see the licensing and survey documentation for the facility. You can read more about this topic at Day Care Dangers – Alabama – Faith Based Day Care Centers and Exemptions from State Regulations.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Montgomery, Alabama, there was an attempt to abduct a child who was at an Easter Egg Hunt at the Hunter Missionary Baptist Church. The child was abducted and placed into a vehicle. Fortunately, the child was able to escape from the vehicle to the safety of her family and other church members. It is very disturbing that children are not even safe from the predator’s reach at churches, schools, and day care centers. A child abduction can happen at any time, at any place, and on any occasion. Child predators lack any kind of morals and would go to any lengths to abduct a child. You can read more about this story at Girl Nearly Abducted During Easter Egg Hunt in Montgomery, Alabama.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Alabama, Erica DeRamus attended her prom in a dress that her mother approved and liked. School officials did not like the dress and determined that the prom dress violated the student dress code. Erica and other students were given one of two options for punishment: 1. Three day suspension OR 2. Paddling. Erica choose the suspension while others opted for the paddling. Many parents do not realize it but corporal punishment is still on the books for many school districts in Alabama and other States. To get paddled over a prom dress seems extreme and excessive. Yes, the school district did give the students the option of the two forms of punishment; nevertheless, the punishment seems extreme either way for an issue or debate over a prom dress. You can read more about this story and see a video at the Huffington Post Website at Alabama Student Choses Suspension Over Paddling for Punishment Involving Prom Dress.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Florala, Alabama, an 8 year old elementary school student was killed when she was hit by her own school bus. The child exited the bus and then walked in front of the bus. According to Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole, it appeared that the school bus driver did not observe that the child got off the bus because the child may have exited off at the wrong stop or the wrong time. See Alabama 8 Year Old Killed At Bus Stop.

School bus drivers in Alabama are required to have an Alabama Commercial Driver License. The Alabama Commercial Driver License Manual has a special section that covers School Bus Drivers and Proper Driving. As stated in this manual at Chapter 10, Section 10.2 - Loading and Unloading, more students die while getting off or on a bus each year as compared with those that are killed in the school bus. The manual points out that it is vital that school bus drivers what how to drive and respond to situations before, during and after loading or unloading students on a school bus.

Pursuant to the Alabama Commercial Driver License Manual, there is a specific section on Unloading Procedures on the Route located at Chapter 10, Section 10.2.3. This section states that school bus drivers shall have the students remain seated until told to exit. Then, the school bus driver should check all mirrors. The school bus driver is also required to count the number of students while unloading to confirm the location of all students before leaving the location. It would appear that this section may apply to the facts of this case. The school bus driver should have made sure that all students were seated before they got up to exit. If the 8 year old student got off at the wrong exit or at the wrong time, this may not be relevant if this section applies to the facts of this case.

It could be argued that the school bus driver should have been aware of the students who exited the bus as well as the students who remained on the bus. Pursuant to Chapter 10, Section 10.2.3, a school bus driver must account for students outside of the bus. If a school bus driver cannot account for a student outside of the bus, the school bus driver, per the manual, is instructed to check around and underneath the bus before proceeding further in the route.

A full investigation will be conducted by the Florala Police, the school district, and / or other entities to determine the details of this tragic death and what measures could have been taken to prevent this death and / or other incidents of a similar nature from occurring in the future.

More information and provisions applying to school bus drivers and safety can be reviewed at Alabama Commercial Driver License Manual.

If you have a specific question about a child injury in Alabama or other States, contact a Child Injury Lawyer for consultation, advice, and legal representation as to the rights of the injured child and the parents.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Alabama and other states, adults and children ride in golf carts every day. Due to the speed and size of golf carts, many do not realize that serious personal injuries and even death can result from a fall out of a golf car or a golf cart accident. In Hoover, Alabama, a 15 year old boy (Thomas Scott Messina) died as a result of injuries that he suffered after he fell out of a golf cart. Thomas was treated at Children’s Hospital but the doctors and medical staff were unable to save him from the serious personal injuries. The death of Thomas Scott Messina was a great loss to his family, friends, neighbors, and the community. You can read more about this incident at 15 Year Old Boy Dies as a Result of Injuries from Fall Out of Golf Cart.

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By Jay Foster, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Unfortunately, arguments and hot tempers have become commonplace at child sporting events. A survey by SportingKid magazine found that 76% of respondents had witnessed a verbal argument at a game, and a whopping 29% had witnessed a physical altercation – all between adults.

Experts charge that an atmosphere of tolerance has become pervasive, and that it is ruining the spirit of the game for children. Stories of ridiculous behavior include a former Mississippi congressman exchanging blows with a referee after the referee made a comment that caused the congressman’s child to cry. Other stories are much more serious, including the beating death of a parent at a youth hockey game in Massachusetts. The beating took place in front of two teams of ten year old hockey players. The National Association of Sports Officials reorts that it receives over 100 reports each year of physical contact by coaches, players and fans against referees. Referees have been kicked, punched, choked, head-butted and even knocked unconscious.

Ironically, the main lessons kids are supposed to get from team sports are teamwork, how to win or lose gracefully, and how to play by the rules. When parents lose control they are setting a very bad example for kids. Overzealous parents are teaching kids that it is okay to taunt the other team, to cheat, to keep playing even when injured, and to yell at officials when they disagree with a call. Experts and reasonable parents are calling for training, discipline and tough punishments for unsportsmanlike behavior. A special training program in Mississippi has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of players and coaches ejected from games for bad behavior. A similar program in Alabama has reduced ejections by 62%. Find out more about what schools and parents are doing to curb sports violence at Violence mars youth sports.

Published on:

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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The State of Alabama prohibits sex offenders from residing within 2000 feet from a day care center or school. Some sex offenders are one time offenders while others have committed crimes over and over. As such, it is difficult to predict if and when a sex offender will repeat his or her crimes. This Alabama law was enacted as a safety measures of sorts to keep sex offenders including child predators away from children attending school and day care centers. While the law may help prevent the abuse of children, it is by no means a measure that will in every instance keep child predators away from children. In Satsuma, Alabama, a sex offender was recently arrested for allegations that he was residing with his mother. The home was located near a day care center. The sex offender was arrested. Of course, the sex offender will have the right to defend himself through a criminal lawyer or the public defender’s office. This instance highlights this Alabama law as well as a dilemma for many sex offenders as to where they can or should live. You can read more about this story at Satsuma Alabama Sex Offender Arrested for Residing Near Day Care Center.