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COVID-19-Red-ImageUnfortunately and tragically, Putnam County, Florida made headlines  due to the reported death of a 9 year old from COVID-19.  The symptoms that can develop from COVID-19 range from no symptoms to death.  This is certainly a broad range of symptoms and risks.  Many people incorrectly believe that children are either immune from the symptoms or major symptoms of COVID-19.  Other believe that only people with significant medical issues with the majority of those people being older adults are the only ones at true risk in the COVID-19 that we, as Floridians, are currently dealing with.
Kimberly Lynum was reported as Florida’s youngest Coronavirus victim since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For those of you who still believe that COVID-19 is no different than the common flu, remember Kimberly’s name, age, and medical history.  According to family members, Kimberly did not have any pre-existing conditions that would put her at a higher risk that any other person whether that person is a child or an adult.  Kimberly was just 9 years old.
By this time, thousands upon thousands of people have died from COVID-19 and millions have been affected either by having COVID-19 or by having a family member or friend deal with the symptoms, complications, and well founded fears / anxiety brought on by COVID-19.
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Neighborhood-300x224Every year, there are numerous reports of infants or toddlers mistakenly being left in hot cars resulting in their untimely death. Children have mistakenly been left in hot cars usually from their parents forgetting to drop them off by a day care center on their way to work. The temperature inside a vehicle during hot and warm weather months easily escalates to the point that a child dies from extreme heat. One moment of inattention can lead to lifetimes of loss and hurt for families and communities. There are measures that can be taken to reduce hot car deaths; the National Safety Council reported that 51 children nationwide died in 2019 after being left in hot cars. Heat stroke has been named the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children under the age of 15. Certainly, the overall goal or mission should be an annual report that cites the number of hot car deaths at zero.

In efforts to reduce the number of deaths, Alabama lawmakers are working to pass a bill named after an 11-month-old boy who died last year after being left in the back seat of a car with his sister. The Cash Edwin Jordan Act would require daycares statewide to call a child’s parent or guardian if the child has not been dropped off by 9:30 each morning. This would apply to all daycares in the state, regardless of if they are public or private, and should not be too difficult to implement. The hope is that parents of children who are out for health reasons would give daycares advance notice, making the calling system an easy and efficient solution.

Parents and caregivers can also work to prevent hot car deaths by leaving essential items like cell phones, wallets, or ID cards in the backseat. Adults can also make a habit from checking the back seat of their cars before walking away and by reminding children that cars should not be used for games like hide-and-seek. Car keys should always be out of a child’s reach and cars should be locked at all times. Phone alarms can also be set for a driver’s time of arrival to remind them to check their back seat before leaving.

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Bathtub-Safety-298x300In homes and day care centers, there is risk of danger for injuries and drownings in a not so obvious place. Certainly, when most people think of drownings, they immediate think of a pool, ocean or lake.  There is also a risk of drowning and injury to toddlers and infants in a bathroom.  It is important for parents, baby-sitters, and child-care providers to recognize these risks and take preventative measures accordingly.

Bath time can be a fun activity for both parents and their children to enjoy, but a drowning incident can occur in the blink of an eye and parents should be wary of this possibility. With an average of 87 children under 5 drowning each year and 80% of these deaths occurring in bathtubs, bathroom safety should be a priority of parents with young children. Just as you would in any large bodies of water, supervising your child at all times is key to being able to respond quickly. Children can drown in just a few inches of water so it is not worth it to leave to take a phone call or go to another room with the bathroom door left open. Dedicate your time to your child as a measure of ensuring their safety. For parents with multiple children, it is also not advisable to leave younger babies and toddlers under the supervision of another young child. Young children may not be able to identify safety risks as readily as a parent. While a parent is in the bathroom with the toddler/child it would be wise to remain within arm’s length of them at all times so that one may be ready in the event that a child’s head gets submerged under water. Another great protection against drownings in the bathroom is having at least one parent learn CPR, a procedure that could potentially save your child’s life.

While drowning in the bathtub is a significant risk to be aware of in the bathroom, a plethora of other preventable injuries may occur in the bathroom that parents should be aware of. Around 43 thousand children are injured each year by slip and fall accidents in the bathroom. For toddlers there are products that secure them in place whilst using the bathtub so that they will not fall over and parents can be more hands free. For slightly older children, slip mats in the bathtub can give them something for their feet to stick to. Products such as these are inexpensive when compared to your child’s safety. Another common injury has to do with babies and water temperature. Babies have thinner skin than adults and therefore are more susceptible to scalding. Be wary of the temperature your water is at before placing your child under it. Finally, it important not to leave unattended bodies of water in your bathroom no matter how shallow it may be. Toddlers wander around and can easily fall into objects such as buckets and potentially drown. Taking these different risks into account will prepare any parent for a fun and safe bathroom experience with their child.

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Truck-Accident-Attorney-263x300On roads throughout the nation, there is a well known mismatch between vehicles. The mismatch pertains to the size of 18 wheel trucks and passenger vehicles. While big trucks are needed for transit and commerce, the presence of 18 wheel trucks present a big danger to most vehicles and/or people traveling the same roadways, expressways, and interstate highways. When there is an accident involving a truck that causes injuries, the victim and his or her family should seek out legal advice. Trucking companies and their drivers have attorneys and risk managers to help them through their legal issues therefore you should have an experienced attorney on your side as well.

These large truck-related accidents can cause a lot of stress and problems for injury victims who are not prepared with the information or knowledge of dealing with these kinds of cases. Semi-truck accidents have been increasing over the years with the highest peak being in 2017 where 145,000 people were injured. These injuries include brain trauma, multiple injuries, and fatalities. This can easily occur when large trucks rollover onto smaller vehicles causing significant damage to its victims. This is why the skill level of the commercial truck driver is important as an eighteen wheeler can be hard to adjust and control when speed, traffic conditions, and / or weather come into play.

Semi tractor trailer accidents can be caused by one or more factors including but not limited to the following:

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Parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe environment for their children during the workday.  In most instances, a child is cared for by a trained individual who has the best interests of the child in mind. Unfortunately, far too many children are injured a day care centers when a staff member is untrained or lacks the patience / maturity to provide stable and nurturing care and supervision to child.  It is well known that children will misbehave especially infants and toddlers. Certainly, it is part of the job of a day care worker to deal with behavioral issues in a calm and safe manner.  When patience is lost, day care workers can and do inflict harm upon a child through careless acts and in some instances through purposeful criminal actions.

There are over 14 million children in a form of day care each day. Parents enroll their children in a day care program under the assumption that their children will be safely cared for while they are away. Day care cewnters have a legal duty to provide proper supervision and protection against injury. So, when the way a day care negligent acts results in a child getting hurt, the parent of the injured child may be able to bring a legal action on behalf of the injured child to seek out compensation for medical bills, pain, and suffering.  Negligence cases are dealt with in civil court, where parents can sue day care centers for financial compensation. Through a civil case or claim, a parent may be able to obtain compensation on behalf of the injured child.  Furthermore, a parent can be reimbursed for medical bills that the parent owes as guardian / financially responsible person for the injured child.

Many day care centers require parents to sign a liability waiver.  It should be noted that most States disfavor liability waivers when children are involved.  Otherwise, this would give a day care center a license of sorts to be negligent and put a child in harm’s way without repercussions.  Parents should be wary of day care centers that require the signing of a waiver that attempts to shield a day care center from negligent acts causing personal injury.

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Bicycle-Helmet-Safety-300x275In communities throughout the United States, school aged children are riding bikes to schools, parks, and other destinations without wearing a helmet.  For some kids, helmets may be considered not so cool or somewhat of an inconvenience.  For parents, making a child wear a helmet is just another argument to avoid.  While there can be some hassles along the way, it important for children and adults alike to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. It is just as important to wear a helmet during a short ride as it is for a longer ride.  An accident or crash can take place at any time and even as close as a child’s own neighborhood or driveway.

Recently in Kentucky, lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require children ages 12 and under to wear helmets. The senators behind the bill claim that they intend to protect children and make bike riding a safer activity for more people to enjoy. According to patient educators in Owensboro Kentucky, brain injuries are the most serious common injuries associated with biking accidents. The bill is also lenient in that it will give courtesy warnings to children and their parents on the first offense. The concept behind the bill is that enforcing helmet wearing on bikes at young ages will increase helmet wearing as children grow into adults.

Efforts such as those being made in Kentucky are occurring all over the united states as the protection against head trauma grows more serious a concern. According to the World Health organization, injuries to the head or neck are the main cause of death and disability in motorcycle and bicycle accidents. With many parents opting to let their child ride a bicycle from a young age it is imperative that one considers having their child wear a helmet. Almost 50 thousand bicyclists were hit by cars in 2013 and one of those accidents could be your child when you least expect it. With many children commuting to their school via bike, a conversation over the effectiveness of bike lanes, simple traffic rules, and the requirement of a helmet can significantly reduce the chance of a bad accident occurring.

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Crosswalk-Personal-Injuries-169x300In Utah and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of the negligent, distracted, and / or drunk drivers that cause serious personal injuries and in some cases wrongful death. Certainly, drivers should slow down in school zones, at bus stops, and at parks.  Drivers should also proceed with caution when a child is in or near a crosswalk or intersection.  Tragically, children continue to be the victims of careless drivers on a daily basis.  When a child is injured, a criminal case can be pursued against the negligent driver if the careless driver amounted to a crime in the form of DUI or other forms of reckless conduct.  Justice demands that action is taken in these cases.  There may also be a civil case pursued against the negligent driver. It should be noted that there are many practical consideration that come into play when an attorney reviews a potential civil case for potential legal representation.  One such consideration focuses on the availability of automobile insurance to cover the damages claimed by the injury victim and the family of the injury victim.  Here are the various types of insurance that may apply:
Personal Injury Protection.  In States in which insurance carriers offer such coverage, PIP can provide in most instances up to $10,000 for medical bills and wage losses.  PIP benefits are often paid from a parent’s automobile insurance policy.  For instance, if a child is hit by a negligent driver, the medical bills may still be processed under the PIP portion of the policy of the parent(s) of the child.  PIP can apply even though the parent’s vehicle was not involved in the crash.
Medical Payment Coverage.  This coverage works similar to PIP coverage.  The medical bills may be processed or paid by the insurance policy of the injured child’s parent.  If no such coverage applies, the Medical Payment and / or PIP benefits may be obtained from the at-fault driver’s policy.  This will depend on the insurance policy language as well as the insurance laws in place for the State where the incident / accident took place.
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Calendar-300x295The statute of limitations is the time period by which a party or victim needs to take legal action to enforce rights and / or seek financial compensation for the negligence or intentional harm caused by a person, business, and / or government entity.  These time limits are proscribed or set by the legislation in statutes / laws.  The time period for a particular case will depend on the state where the incident took place, the type of action brought, and the parties involved.  Over the years, legislatures have broadened the time limits by which a victim can bring forth a case based on the sexual abuse of the victim.

The statute of limitation in sexual abuse cases has always been a topic of discussion amongst the law community as it is very impactful on the amount of cases received by firms. The topic is also sensitive when understanding the physical and emotional trauma that may impede an individual from filing a lawsuit within a set amount of time after the incident. As time has gone on and many states have become more progressive and understanding of the victim’s position in sexual abuse cases, we have seen a positive trend in the expansion of statutes of limitations in these cases. Just recently, both New York and New Jersey passed laws affecting their statute of limitations. What’s interesting is that they both went about this in different ways. Having realized that many cases of sexual abuse involving a child had been swept under the rug, New York passed the Child Victims Act (CVA) which repeals the statute of limitations on these cases for a period of a year and raises the age limit to 28 in criminal cases and 55 in civil suits . The one-year grace period for cases outside of the statutes of limitations led to 439 cases being filed on just its first day enacted. New Jersey’s approach was to raise the statutes of limitations age to 55 for all child abuse cases or within 7 years of the victim’s realization that the abuse caused harm. The most recent example of a state that is expanding its statute of limitations involving sexual crimes is Texas. Effective September 1st, the statute of limitations has been doubled from 15 to 30 for personal injury claims related to sexual assault.

What is important about the changes being made in these states is that it sends a message to survivors of these heinous crimes that legislators are listening and that they are not going unheard. These changes encourage more people to report actions that may be considered sexual assault/abuse and gives less reasons as to why it should be brushed under the rug. With cases like Jeffrey Epstein’s reaching national media coverage, more and more states are becoming aware that they need to stand up for victims of sexual abuse. As 2019 continues, keep an eye out for more states to follow in the footsteps of New York, New Jersey, and Texas.

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Red-Light-108x300Traffic lights are placed at intersections for a specific purpose – to control traffic and make the roads a bit safer.  While traffic lights are clearly visible to drivers, there continue to be drivers who run a red light for a variety of reasons.  Some drivers misjudge the timing of a yellow light, while others are just in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B. Some drivers are distracted by their phones.  Whatever the reason, running a red light can have terrible consequences including but not limited to the death of innocent victims who were at the wrong time and wrong place.

One of these consequences could be getting pulled over by a police officer. However, the more serious and troubling danger is that running a red light could result in a car accident. Over 200,000 of the almost 6 million car accidents that occur in the United States each year are the result of rushed red lights; more than 800 of these accidents are fatal. Worse yet, the number of deaths caused by collisions due to red traffic lights in the United States have increased almost 30% since 2012. Researchers at the American Automobile Association found a 60% increase over a ten-year period in these kinds of accidents in Nevada. Given this substantial increase in the number of accidents, what are some actions one might take to keep from running a red light?

The first, and most important, step a driver can take is simply to pay attention while at the wheel. Mistakes often come while drivers are distracted, so putting the phone down and focusing on the road will significantly reduce the risk of accidentally running a red light. Of course, not all red light runs are accidental. Some drivers will intentionally rush through when to save some time. Those people just need to make a conscious effort to break their bad habit, because, if not, there is always the risk that they might harm themselves or others.

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Building-Blocks-300x271When selecting a day care center for a child, there are many options in most communities.  A parent can go with a national chain, a local commercial day care center, or an in-home day care center.  There are also day care centers that are part of schools, non-profit community centers, and churches.  While a day care center license is far from a guarantee that a child will never be harmed, a day care center license does subject the facility to oversight, rules, and regulations.  In addition, liability insurance is required as part of many licensing requirements and / or government programs that provide benefits for children enrolled in a day care center.  When a child is enrolled in an unlicensed – off the grid day care center, there may be a number of safety risks associated with the day care center.

Licensed day care facilities are held to higher standards than those that are unlicensed. Employees are required to take safety tests and learn CPR, which can be the difference between life and death in emergency situations. Licensed day cares are also subject to regular inspections from health or safety boards, so they are likely to be safer environments for children. Unlicensed day care facilities fall under no such scrutiny. Their buildings could be unsafe or unclean, their food could be unhealthy, and they could avoid immunization and handwashing procedures meant to stop the spread of diseases. Most importantly, the staff at an unlicensed day care center could be inadequately trained, and there could be too few staff members to properly watch over all the children in their care. Licensed day care centers are clearly the safer option, so why are some parents still choosing to bring their children to unlicensed day cares?

Part of the issue is simply ignorance. Popular day care search website advertises unlicensed day care centers the same as licensed ones, so some parents will unwittingly send their children to one. Prompted by an increase in infant deaths, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office requested that “stop deceptive childcare providers” from advertising. Five infants died in unlicensed Tennessee day care centers in 2018, so it only makes sense that the DA would want to put an end to them. Parents looking for day care centers for their children should do research to see if the facility is licensed and safe. They can also report any unlicensed day care center they find.

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