| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

Holding schools accountable for harassment

When parents bring their kids to school, they expect that their children will be able to learn in a safe environment. As more and more cases of cyber bullying and harassment are mentioned in the news, however, it’s possible that parents shouldn’t assume that their children will be secure within academic confines. If you have visited the practice area page of our website, you know that the Texas legislature has passed bills designed to protect students and hold responsible parties liable for this type of intimidation. Most parents whose children are being targeted by other students will feel it necessary to keep school officials accountable for their indifference to an established pattern of harassment. When repeated contact with administrators provides no satisfactory resolution, parents may feel that their only course of action is to file suit against schools. Before taking this step, however, parents will need to consider the obstacles that may prevent them from winning in court. School immunity may prevent parents from receiving satisfaction in a case’s resolution. Some schools are protected from lawsuits by the town or city in which the school is located. If school officials acted according to the school’s best practices, they may be shielded from a lawsuit. This isn’t to say that any attempt to right a wrong at school will be defeated in court. In order to establish the best case possible, parents should follow these steps: 1. Document every incident with specific details, such as the time, date and location of the offense. 2. Record interaction with school staff including teachers, social workers and administrators. 3. Contact parents of classmates. It may be possible that other children are being targeted as well. Documentation helps parents and their attorneys lay the groundwork for a successful claim if repeated instances of indifference are revealed. Maintaining a record of incidents may not stop the aggressive actions immediately; however, accounting for every incident enhances the quality of the claim. Parents who are concerned about their child’s safety are advised to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the best course of action to take.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

Water parks and summer amusement rides can injure your child

Water parks, traveling carnivals and amusement park rides are all popular places for families during the warmest months in Texas. Since the kids are off from school, it is easier than usual to pack your family up and go spend a day hitting up some water slides or roller coasters. Although these trips can be a source of treasured family memories and a great break from the monotony of summer months out of school, they can also be a source of both severe physical injuries and emotional trauma to children. Part of what makes amusement parks and carnival rides so thrilling is the sense of controlled danger they produce. Unfortunately, with bad set up or improper maintenance, the danger can go from being theoretical to a very real risk that could impact your family for many years to come. Sometimes, places you visit for fun can prove to be anything but that if your child gets hurt. Make an official report if there is any malfunction or injury On rides with multiple operators, the park may have safeguards in place that allow them to detect malfunctions immediately. Certain rides also have cameras that capture the more dangerous moments, often intended as tourist mementos. The cameras can also serve as a form of documentation when something goes wrong or someone winds up hurt. Even if there are cameras or attendants, don’t just move on with your day if your kid gets hurt. You should never assume that the people working will make a record of the malfunction unless you report a potential injury. Making a report means that there will be a record at the amusement park or with the management of the fair or water park of what happened to you and your child. That way, if an injury becomes more severe in the future, you can prove that it started when you first attended the park. Injuries to children may require expensive medical care From broken bones to head injuries, the kinds of wounds and injuries people can suffer at water parks or similar amusement facilities can prove to be serious. For small children, those injuries can require years of medical assistance. Since children are still growing, injuries that would be minor for adults can have more significant implications for younger victims. At the same time, children do tend to heal and bounce back quickly. However, visible wounds, especially on the face, can lead to permanent scarring and therefore require intensive intervention to minimize the long-term repercussions for your child and family. That care can often be far more expensive than what you are capable of covering on your own. That is why you want to connect the injury to the facility where your child got hurt in order to seek compensation on their behalf.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

Seat belts can save Texas children’s lives

Countless kids are injured while riding aboard school buses in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, the number of those hurt in Texas has dropped in recent years. This has happened in large part due to the passing of a state law that requires all large school buses to be equipped with seat belts. Yet, accidents still happen. While they can curb injury rates, the seat belts have to be worn correctly to be effective in preventing injuries. A study recently conducted by the NBC at an engineering facility in Indiana revealed just how dangerous not wearing a seat belt can be. They simulated a collision in which some of the child-sized crash dummies were buckled in whereas others weren’t. At least three out of seven of the unbuckled dummies were sent flying out of their seats when their school bus traveled 35 miles per hour down a highway ramp. One of those three dummies ended up colliding with another passenger. Another one of them flew into the aisle and rammed its neck into another seat. All the belted dummies remained securely in their seats. Federal lawmakers have yet to pass legislation that would require all states to equip their school buses with seat belts. They’ve generally cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research when asked why they haven’t passed such legislation. The NHTSA contends that school bus seat belts are unnecessary as their seats provide compartmentalization. They noted that this is all that’s necessary to keep them safe. A senator from Illinois who just this year proposed the School Bus Safety Act argues that all school buses should come equipped with automatic braking systems and data recorders. She notes that they should also feature three-point seat belts as well. Parents might expect that their children’s school districts will do what’s in the kids’ best interests. But this isn’t always the case, as school districts may cut corners. They cram more kids in buses than they should and then leave a single driver to monitor them. In Texas, they may have delayed installing required seat belts as well. Seat belts can save your child from getting hurt. If their caregiver’s or some other motorist’s negligence resulted in them getting hurt in a crash, parents can reach out to a personal injury attorney who can advise how administrative law and due process works here in Texas.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

Compensation is available for children hurt this holiday season

Many individuals enter into the holiday season intending to create new family memories together. Many people are left with not-so-fond memories when the season comes to a close though. Some individuals find it difficult to envision seeing the holidays in a positive light again because their child was injured or killed in a senseless accident. There were at least 192,000 children that were seen in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2012 according to Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW). At least 3,270 children were transported to the emergency room after having suffered some type of injury from broken ornaments or decorations. Another 136,314 children suffered burn injuries that same year. SKW notes that parents can greatly minimize their child’s risk of injury this season by making sure that they carefully weigh their choices when buying toys for them. Moms and dads should check to make sure that the product that they’re buying is age-appropriate. Parents should avoid buying products with small button batteries and other removable parts. These may pose a choking risk. SKW notes that a toy may be appropriate for one child in the home, but dangerous for a younger sibling. Another tip that SKW recommends is making sure that all Christmas lights are turned off when the family goes to bed for the evening. The child safety advocacy organization also warns parents to keep an eye on the water levels for Christmas trees. If pine needles aren’t properly hydrated and become warm from the lights on the tree, then this can cause a fire. SKW recommends keeping hot liquids away from a child’s reach to keep them safe from burns. They also point out that it’s important for any ornaments or decorations that are breakable to be kept higher up on the tree or otherwise out of reach to children. Everyday life is dangerous. New decor can be hard for children and adults to get accustomed to. It’s as everyone is getting used to it being around that most accidents occur. If your son or daughter has been hurt due to a product malfunction or someone else’s negligence, then you should protect your child now! An attorney in Waco will ask about what led up to you or your child’s injury to understand who was liable for the incident. They will then advise you of your right to file suit in your Texas case.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Child Injury

Property Owners May Be Liable for Trespassing Children

A child trespasses on a neighbor’s property while the neighbor is out of town. The child is seriously injured. Afterward, the parents confront the property owner, saying they intend to sue over the injury. They have medical bills to pay. Is this possible? Is the owner protected by the fact that the child should never have been on the property in the first place, or is he or she still liable? The answer can be complex, and every case is different, but there are certainly situations where the owner could be liable, even though the child was trespassing. One of the most common is when there is an attractive nuisance on the property. An attractive nuisance is something that is clearly and inherently dangerous, but which also may attract young kids. One oft-cited example is a swimming pool. For instance, perhaps the neighbor child was just three years old. He or she doesn’t understand property lines and trespassing laws. The pool, meanwhile, doesn’t have a fence around it or a gate. It’s not covered. The child can easily just walk onto the property and fall into the pool. Property owners need to be aware of dangers and take rational steps to protect young kids who may be too young to protect themselves. If an older child climbs a fence, the owner may not be liable, having done all that was possible. If the owner does nothing and leaves an exposed risk, though, a lawsuit may result from any accident. It’s important for parents to know their legal options when children are injured, as medical bills can be very high and some injuries can change the course of a child’s life.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

How common are playground injuries?

School will be back in session is just a matter of weeks here in Waco. If you have young kids, then one of their favorite times of the day likely is when they can take a break from their classes and head outside for recess. Sadly, playgrounds are the one place where kids are most apt to get hurt while at school. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at least 213,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year here in Texas and across the rest of the United States. Most of the kids seen in hospitals range in age from five to 12. They’re often seen for injuries resulting from a fall. They often present with cuts or bruises, sprains and broken bones. Arms are the body part most commonly affected in these schoolyard incidents. Parents and teachers alike can help kids avoid getting hurt on playgrounds. They can do so by taking the time to inspect the equipment for damage or grounds for debris before allowing their kids to play on it. They can also encourage the children under the care to abstain from placing their hands or other body parts in gaps or places where they may get caught or pinched. They can remind them to hold on to handlebars and to remain behind guardrails as well. Caregivers should try to keep their children from taking any straps, ropes or any other strings into a play area. These can cut off circulation if a body part becomes caught up in them. They can even cause them to choke. A child who wears a helmet into a playground area can suffer the same fate. Parents and teachers should also discourage kids from playing along steep, rocky embankments, nearby tree roots or anywhere where the pavement may be in ill-repair. These can all pose tripping hazards. They should instead report these dangers to the appropriate authorities to be addressed. Teachers, parents and caregivers are seldom responsible for a single child. They instead often have several to watch over. This is why they must constantly scan the area around them for potential hazards that may injure a child. Educators or caregivers who fail to do this may be sued for negligence. A child injury attorney can also advise you of your right to sue a school for damages, especially if their inattentiveness resulted in your loved one getting hurt.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

What’s the connection between seat belt use and child fatalities?

If someone were to ask you what the leading cause of child fatalities is, auto accidents may not be the first thing to come to mind. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for children here in the United States though. An estimated 116,000 youths age 12 and younger were hurt in car accidents in 2017. Another 675 children lost their lives that same year. One of the leading causes of death in these instances is a failure to wear a seat belt. At least 35% of the children who died in auto accidents in 2017 weren’t buckled up at the time of their fatal crash. CDC data shows that race impacts seatbelt use. Their statistics show that 46% of the Hispanic kids who die in car crashes do so because they weren’t buckled up. African-Americans follow closely behind at 45%. At least 26% of the Caucasian children who died in auto accidents that year did because they weren’t wearing seat belts. Those same statistics also show that those children who are less apt to be buckled up are eight to 12-year-olds. Some 49% of those children who died because they weren’t wearing seat belts in 2017. At least 36% or more of the four to 7-year-olds who died weren’t wearing seat belts. Another 22% of kids under the age of four weren’t buckled up at the time of their crash either. The CDC contends that there’s a direct correlation between child and adult seat belt use. Their data shows that 40% of children who ride in cars with unbelted adults fail to use this important safety feature themselves. Another statistic shows that safety restraints on the booster and car seats are inappropriately used in at least 46% of all cases. This greatly impacts their ability to perform as they should. It’s a caregiver’s responsibility to take necessary steps to keep their kids safe from getting hurt. If they fail to do so, then they can be held liable for any injuries that ensue. Sometimes caregivers do everything necessary to keep their kids out of harm’s way, but products malfunction or can’t withstand the impact. A child injury attorney can advise you of your right to request compensation under Texas law if your son or daughter has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence here in Waco.

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