Articles Tagged with wrongful death

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Building-Blocks-300x271Day care centers should be safe havens. For most children, a typical day at a child care center involves some adventure, snacks, and, yes, that all important nap.  Unfortunately, and tragically for some toddlers, they do not return home at all following a visit to a child care center.  These children do not return home because they died due to the neglect of a day care center.  There is nothing worse for a parent than to bury a child. Nightmares turn into realities.  One such place that tragedies take place is the unlicensed day care center.  In most cases, the unlicensed day care center lacks any appreciable assets or liability insurance.  As such, while a legal action or lawsuit can be filed against the day care center, the collectability of a potential settlement or verdict is highly unlikely to improbable to impossible.  In other words, a strong legal case against a defendant does not mean that there is an economically viable defendant to collect from.

This past July an incident occurred within an unlicensed Tennessee daycare leaving twin babies died. The day care center operator was indicted on two counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the death of the two children. The parents of the children filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month seeking compensation of over 50 million dollars. While this seems like a substantial case and demand, a victory in court will most likely be a hollow one since any verdict will probably be uncollectible.  As a general statement, unlicensed day care centers are typically operated by people who cut corners and who do not follow rules.  Furthermore, unlicensed day care centers are usually operated by individuals who have little to no assets to collect upon when there is a sizable verdict against the facility.

Parents should check to see if a day care center is licensed and insured.  While these are not the only factors to consider, if the day care center lacks a license or insurance, it can be a red flag to stay away from that day care center and find one with both liability insurance and licensure in place.  When evaluating a potential case against a day care center, one of the first factors considered is the availabilty and amount of liability insurance.  While a day care center may be legally liable for damages related to personal injuries or death to a child, this does not mean that the day care center owner will ultimately be able to pay out a settlement or verdict rendered in favor of the injured child.

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In day care centers in Wisconsin and throughout the rest of the nation, there is a population of children at risk for harm when placed in a day care center – infants. Working parents rely upon day care centers to provide a safe haven for their children. These parents do not have much of a choice due to work, financial, and personal constraints of life. A dedicated and professionally trained nanny would be nice but most people cannot afford such a luxury. While most infants placed in day care centers do just fine, others suffer personal injuries and even death in the very environment where the children are supposed to be safe and well cared for.

A recent tragedy in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin exemplifies the sad reality of these incidents. News reports indicate that a ten-year-old girl attending the same day care as a six-month-old baby boy allegedly abused a child after dropping him while holding him. It was reported that the young girl admitted to stomping on the baby’s head because the baby began to cry after she accidentally dropped the baby. Consequently, the infant sustained serious head trauma and died in the hospital two days later.

At the time of the infant’s tragic death, one adult and two other children were present at the daycare. This raises questions about supervision requirements in childcare facilities and the other safety requirements necessary in such places. The Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center recommends active supervision of all children in childcare locations, especially infants. It asserts that an adult should be accessible and supervising all children at all times. In order to achieve this, the Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center suggests that childcare facilities plan out staff positioning in rooms, continually scan and count the children in the room, listen for signs of danger, anticipate children’s behavior, and set up an environment conducive to all children remaining in the constant sight of an adult. Childcare centers should also separate children of differing age groups.  See Day Center Supervision Recommendations.

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In New York and other states, people wisely hire limousine and bus companies for parties, events, and celebrations. Rather than drink and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle, the safer way to travel is to have a professional, trained driver handle the transportation. However, at times, commercial drivers fail to pay attention to road conditions, traffic, traffic signals, and /or signage and end up being responsible and liable for a crash that injures and, in some instances, kills passengers. It is important for all drivers to remain alert, keep distractions to a minimum, and concentrate on the legal duties and responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle, van, bus, limousine, or other vehicle transporting passengers.

Nonetheless, even professional drivers get into accidents.

The recent tragedy in Schoharie, New York exemplifies this. It was reported that twenty people died when a limousine driver ran a stop sign and crashed into a parked car. All eighteen people in the limousine died, including the driver, as well as two pedestrians. This crash, dubbed the deadliest transportation accident in almost a decade, demonstrates just one of the many accidents involving commercial drivers in the past year.

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By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer
Crib-and-Nap-Time-Day-Care-Center-276x300Parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe educational environment for their children. Tragically, children suffer serious personal injuries and even fatal injuries at the very place where the children are supposed to be protected – the day care center.  At times, other children in the day care center are violent and unstable.  It is important that day care centers closely monitor all children in the day care center. If a child is exhibiting strange, dangerous, or disturbing behavior, it should be addressed right away.  For the protection and safety of the children enrolled in the day care center, a child, with dangerous tendencies or propensities, can and should be removed from the day care center.  The local licensing agency can also step in if there is a problem with the parents of the “problem child”.  It is vital that the day care center act in a timely manner to prevent injuries at all times possible.  Unfortunately, many day care centers ignore the problem or gloss over the problem rather than take action to protect the children in the day care center.
In Michigan, it was reported that a 14 month old toddler died a day care center by an 8 year old girl with a history of odd behavior.  The toddler (Korey Brown) was crying in his crib.  Then, the 8 year old took him out of the crib, bit him in the face, and kicked the toddler.  The 8 year old girl had a number of issues.  It is suspected by the family of Korey Brown that the day care center knew or should have known about the odd behavior and should have taken action to protect Korey Brown.   At the time of the attack, there were no adults present in the room.  As such, it appears that the 8 year old was left unsupervised in a room with younger children in the room including Korey Brown. You can read more about this story at Girl Kills Toddler at Michigan Day Care Center
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Toy Train.001In Utah and other states, day care centers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe educational environment for the children enrolled in the program.  It is important that the day care center follow all licensing requirements and have trained staff in place to meet the needs of the children. Supervision  and attentiveness are vital to the safety and welfare of the children.  The level of supervision will depend on the type of facility, number of children, age of the children, special needs of the children, time of the day, activity and other factors.  There are dangers lurking at all times that an infant or toddler is being cared for in a day care center. It is vital for staff members to be aware of the dangers and remove or prevent all such dangerous situations to the best of the ability and foresight of the day care center.

A recent tragedy was reported in at a West Jordan, Utah day care center.  It as reported that a toddler – Leonardo “Leo” Sanchez – crawled under a bean bag and ultimately suffocated.  A seemingly simple object – a bean bag chair – turned out to be a very dangerous object in a day care center for a small child like Leo Sanchez.  It is well known that small children are curious and will crawl into or go into areas which can be quite dangerous.  Another dangerous situation or object for a toddler or infant in a day care center is an unanchored dresser or TV stand.  There have been a number of reports of children being injured or even dying as a result of a dresser, TV stand, or TV that has fallen over on top of a child.  Sleeping and napping time can also present dangers as well to infants.  A stuffed animal or blanket can cause a child to suffocate during this otherwise seemingly safe part of a day care center.

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by David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Amusement Park.001In Kansas and throughout the United States, adults, children, and families visit theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks. For most guests and visitors, the days and nights are filled with fun, adventure, laughter, and good times. Unfortunate for some children and adults, the theme park, amusement park, or water park is the site of a catastrophic personal injury or death.  When a business operates or manages a recreation areas, there is a duty to keep the grounds, rides, and attractions in good repair and to have attentive ride operators, supervisors, and lifeguards in place for the safety and protection of the guests and visitors especially children.  Theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks invite and market to families and children. As such, all safety measures should be set up for the protection of the smaller and younger guest in the form of children.   Like other types of personal injury cases or claims there are four essential elements to pursue a civil case or claim on behalf of the injury victim as follows:
  1. Duty;
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

book-abcOne basic duty of every day care center is the duty of supervision. Many day care centers are located on her near busy roadways, streets, neighborhoods, and commercial developments.  As such, the duty to supervise the children is vital the health, safety, and welfare of the children enrolled in the day care program. In some instances, a child is unharmed when he or she wanders away from a day care center.  An astute bystander or police officer locates the child and returns the child to the day care center.  While the situation could have escalated into something quite horrible, the child did not receive any injuries and soon forgets about the whole incident.  On the other hand, there are incidents involving the wandering of a child away from a day care center that results in serious personal injuries and even the tragic death of the child. One such incident took place in Olathe, Kansas when a child was hit and killed by a pick up truck. The incident took place on a residential street in a vicinity near the the day care center.  The news report identified the toddler as Harper Kay Rodden.  In initial news reports, there were no details as to how the 14 month toddler had exited the day care center, how the 14 month old toddler was supervised prior to exiting the facility, what safeguards were in place for the protection and safety of the children, and what steps could have or should have been taken to protect this child from wandering out of the day care center facility.
In a day care center case, there are essentially four elements to prove:
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By David A. Wolf
Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Justice Red White and BlueWorking parents do their best to support the family.  In doing so, working families need the services of day care centers.  Most day care centers are well run by caring individuals.  However, there are many day care incidents and wrongful death incidents out there that do and should cause concern for all working parents which children enrolled in a day care center.  When a child dies, there are in many instances more questions than answers and sensible explanations for the death of the child.  It should be made clear that an infant and toddler at a day care center need supervision at all times including sleep and nap time.  When a child mysteriously dies at a day care center, there is typically an investigation by local law enforcement and the social service agency that licenses day care centers.  An autopsy should be performed to help determine the cause and preventability of the death of the child.
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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Truck Accident.001In Texas and other states, commercial trucks and semi-tractor trailers are common on the streets, roads, and expressways.  Due to the size of these trucks, it is important that the truck driver take all proper and necessary safety precautions for the safety of other drivers and passengers who will travel on and through the same streets, roads, and expressways. One measure that should be taken is to inspect the vehicle before departure to make sure that the height and width of the truck can safety travel under and through all bridges and overpasses.  For instance, if the truck is equipped with a boom or crane, it is vital that the boom or crane is lowered and otherwise secured that the truck is safe for travel through all roadways on the intended itinerary.  If there are any objects that are too tall or wide for safe travel, there can be disastrous consequences, accidents, crashes, personal injuries, and wrongful deaths.

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By David Wolf, Attorney and Robert Chaiken, Attorney

Truck Accident.001In communities throughout the United States, there is a common danger that is out on the roadways – day and night. The common danger is in the form of large commercial vehicles and semi-tractor trailers.  Certainly, companies have a right to conduct business and it is proper to utilize commercial trucks and semi tractor trailers in intrastate commerce and in interstate commerce; however, when the commercial or truck driver crashes into other vehicles or causes a crash due to the negligent driver of the commercial or truck driver then there is a cause of action against both the driver and the company that he or she is driving on behalf of.  When there is a crash with semi tractor trailer, the resulting damage to both other vehicles, drivers, and passengers can and often is quite significant and in some cases tragic and devastating.  Certainly, all drivers have a duty to operate the motor vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner by observing and obeying speed limits, street signs, traffic, and weather conditions.  Commercial and truck drivers have special training or at least should have special training to operate such large vehicles.  It is important that the trucks are well maintained and that driver logs are meticulously maintained and followed.  One drowsy or overworked truck driver can change the life of another person and his or her family in a split second.
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