Hurt at House

Child Injured at Someone’s Home, Owner Can’t Afford Restitution: What’s Next?

Let me tell you a story about a young boy named Anthony. He just learned how to get up and down the stairs without holding his mother’s hand. Climbing the stairs on his own is about the best thing in his life right now, and he’s quite the boaster about it.

Today, Anthony is at his friend’s house for a play date. The friend’s father recently got laid off at work, though of course the children don’t know about this. The recent decrease to the family’s income has left certain household needs unattended. One of those needs is to fix some of the rotting steps that lead down to the basement.

Anthony sees these stairs while waiting in the kitchen for his friend’s mother to make some lunchtime sandwiches. Excited to do what he does best, Anthony starts his descent to the basement. But what good is taking the stairs without an audience? Anthony turns around and stomps excitedly to get his friend’s attention. In an instant, his foot sinks through the wood and Anthony tumbles backwards in shock.

Now Anthony has a broken leg and his play date has abruptly ended with a rush to the emergency room. Anthony’s mom doesn’t know how to approach getting restitution for her son’s injury. On the one hand, it was the friend’s family’s responsibility to protect her son from these rotting steps; on the other, she knows that the father recently got laid off and the family is struggling financially.

Child Injury Accidents Happen

Your most important responsibility to your children is to keep them safe. But can you always be around to do so? No. At some point you have to let the baby bird fly from the nest and go have a play date with another baby bird. But what happens if your child gets injured in someone else’s nest, and that nest owner can’t afford to pay restitution?

In the event that the homeowner is unable to pay restitution for your child’s injury, they will need their homeowner’s insurance agency to step in. Everyone should have homeowner’s insurance, so hopefully that much won’t be an issue. Here are just a few common causes of injury that come up for homeowner’s insurance cases:

  • Slips and falls
  • Poor security
  • Dog bites
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Roadway and sidewalk defects
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Iced entryways

Liability for injury on one’s own property can be a tricky issue. This is mainly because the laws of liability for homeowners are surrounded by guidelines that vary from state to state. While some states tend to favor the victim in their guidelines, others aim to protect the homeowner. Below are some of the factors that homeowners insurance will consider while pursuing a personal injury claim.

Whose Fault Is It?

In 9 out of 10 cases of liability for injury, homeowners are protected by something called “reasonable conduct.” This basically states that if the home or property owner took reasonable action to remove hazardous conditions from the property and warned you about those that still exist, they are most likely not liable for your injuries.

For example, if you slip and fall during a snowy day on your way into the movie theater, the theater might not be liable if they did their best to salt and shovel the sidewalks beforehand. Another instance is if you slip and fall on a floor that has been recently mopped. If the property owner placed a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign over the area, they partook in reasonable conduct.

Invitees Only Please

Other guidelines that might protect a homeowner from being liable for your kid’s injury have to do with whether or not your child was where they were supposed to be. Revisiting the story about Anthony, it could be said that he wasn’t supposed to be climbing those stairs to the basement. However, in the case of young children, appropriate supervision should keep them from going somewhere that might be dangerous. It is therefore a tough situation to decide whether or not the homeowner is liable for the child’s breach of invitee status.

Now, if your child happened to wander into someone else’s front yard and get bitten by that person’s dog – that would be a different story. If you or your child trespasses onto another person’s property, that homeowner owes you nothing in the event that injury occurred.

What Else Can You Do?

Most personal injury claims concerning homeowners don’t require an attorney. However, if you fear that the homeowner is not able to pay restitution, it might be best to hire personal injury attorney. Be sure to ask your attorney any and all questions to protect your livelihood in the case moving forward.

*Jeremy in the Attic by Thomas Mueller/CC BY-ND 2.0

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Child Was Injured

Help! What Should I Do If My Child Was in an Accident?

When you’re the parent of a child you expect minor scrapes and bruises to happen from time to time, but when serious injuries occur parents may find themselves at a loss as to what action they should take. The most important thing is for parents to get their child medical attention immediately, and after any treatment is complete parents can begin the process of determining who is responsible for their child’s injuries.

Preserving Memory

The events surrounding an injury are often hazy when parents try to recall them, and this is because the urgency of the moment causes the body and mind to focus on getting help for the child instead of remembering small details. In order to preserve this information before it’s forgotten parents should write down:

  • The names of all individuals involved
  • The exact location where the incident took place
  • Any noticeable factors that could have caused the injury
  • Other details such as weather and time of day

Assessing the Injury

Parents should also keep a watchful eye on the injury and how it progresses. Even injuries that seem minor at first can worsen if not cared for properly, and some steps parents should follow include:

  • gathering medical records pertaining to the injury
  • examining the injury at least three times a week to ensure it is healing
  • taking photographs of the injury from the day it occurs until it is fully healed

By following these steps parents will be able to give an accurate accounting of the impact the injury has had on their child’s life. Physical evidence such as medical records and photographs verify the reports of parents in the event that a lawsuit is filed in an effort to recover damages.

Medical Treatment for Child Injuries

Parents are often very quick to get their child medical treatment immediately after the injury occurs, but it is just as important for parents to follow through with further treatment after the injury has begun to heal.

  • Follow All Treatment Recommendations – Even if a parent doesn’t completely agree with a doctor’s treatment plan they should either follow it or seek out a second opinion.
  • Visit Any Recommended Specialists – Parents should make sure children see any specialists that a primary physician recommends. Specialists focus on a single aspect of medicine and can often better assess an injury and expedite the healing process.
  • Get Testing Done – Even if a medical test doesn’t seem necessary it is often in the child’s best interest to have them done. Some injuries may not be present during a physical examination and having a test done is the only way to reveal them.

File a Lawsuit

Once the evidence has been gathered and the child has gotten proper medical attention, the next step a parent needs to take is to hire a personal injury attorney. It’s difficult for the average person to go to court and win their case without legal assistance.

Mummy will make it better by Nathan Jones / CC BY 2.0

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Six Children Were Taken to the Hospital after a School Bus Accident in South Houston

Six Children Were Taken to the Hospital after a School Bus Accident in South Houston

A Houston Independent School District bus rear-ended a car on Highway 288 near Holmes Road at around 7:35 a.m. on Wednesday. As a result, six students were taken to hospitals. The bus was on its way to Rice, MacGregor and Lockhart elementary schools with almost 40 children on board.

The woman in the car in front of the bus slammed her brakes after another vehicle cut her off. The bus was not able to stop in time, and collided with the car. Two children were taken to Texas Children’s Hospital, and four were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital with minor injuries.

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If your child or a loved one was in a school bus accident, we can help! Our experts at Mukerji Law Firm focus on child accidents. Call today for a free consultation.

Image courtesy of click2houston.com

Suing a School

What Can You Sue a School For?

Although some of the most influential decisions issued by the United States Supreme Court emanated from incidents that took place in a public school, the reality is that lawsuits filed against public schools tend to be fruitless unless they address constitutional issues. When it comes to students injured on school premises or while participating in certain activities related to their respective educational curriculum, public school districts around the country enjoy a certain degree of legal immunity.

Prayer in School

At least one public school district in Texas has made it to the Supreme Court. In the year 2000, the Santa Fe Independent School District was ruled to be acting in an unconstitutional manner when it allowed a student chaplain to lead the entire school in prayer over the public announcement system. This was, however, a case related to the First Amendment. Unless a lawsuit squarely addresses a constitutional matter, it is important to remember the following:

  • In general, public schools cannot be sued for injuries unless the civil complaint involves a school bus accident
  • The above generally applies to charter schools as well
  • The above does not apply to private schools, which can be sued in civil court for just about any reasonable matter

There are, however, some exceptions to the three bullet points above.

Understanding the Immunity of Public School Districts and Its Exceptions

It is not hard to understand the practical philosophy behind the blanket immunity granted to public school districts that provide free education. Students get injured all the time despite efforts by public schools to keep them safe. It would be unreasonable and impractical to see parents filing lawsuits against schools because their children sprain an ankle during soccer practice; court systems would not be able to handle the avalanche of cases.

The element of a reasonable complaint should be observed even when filing a civil complaint against a private school that has taken all steps necessary to keep students safe. Law firms that take on student injury cases will do so when they believe that there is a possibility of finding a party liable for the incident that resulted in injury. This is particularly the case when outside individuals or business entities contracted by the school are involved, including:

  • Building contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Visitors

How Does Gross Negligence Work?

Public school districts are not immune to being sued for gross negligence. For example, some public schools still exercise corporal punishment in the form of making students run extra laps; however, making a student in Texas run outside during the summer in 100-degree weather could result in heat exhaustion and even stroke. This is an example of gross negligence, and parents would have every right to sue the school and prevail in court; although it is very possible that school district attorneys would quickly propose a settlement offer.

Speak with an Attorney

It can be very confusing at times whether or not you can take legal action against a school. Ultimately, if your child has been injured, the best thing you can do is speak with a personal injury attorney. Most lawyers offer a free consultation session, so there is not harm in calling an attorney and getting his professional opinion.

school buses by Rupert Ganzer by CC BY-ND 2.0

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Hurt Child

Keep Your Cool If Your Child Is Injured

When a child is injured parents often lose their ability to stay calm and begin looking for any person or thing towards which they can direct their anger and blame for their child being injured. While this anger is often justifiable, showing it while the child is still injured does little to help the situation and may even make matters worse. There are a few steps parents can take to ensure they remain calm even when their child is injured.

Creating a Plan

The best way to promote a calm demeanor during a difficult time is to plan for it before it ever occurs. Some steps that parents can take to prepare for a situation in which their child is injured include:

  • Carrying Medical Information – Making a list of all medical providers ensures they can be reached regardless of the situation. Parents should also make a list of all the medications their child takes and any known allergies they have.
  • Selecting a Primary Hospital – Knowing what hospital you want your child taken to helps to eliminate this decision making process, which can be difficult due to the chaos that often surrounds injuring events.
  • Carrying Insurance Information – Having insurance information on hand ensures there are no delays once the child is in the care of medical professionals.

Having information such as this readily available eliminates most of the decision making process and enables parents to focus on getting their child the medical care they need.

Practice Calming Techniques

Even with a proper plan in place it may be difficult for parents to remain calm when their child is injured. When parents feel as though they’re panicking, they should use calming techniques to bring balance back to their thoughts.

Breathing Exercises – This type of calming technique often involves a person slowly taking in air through their nose and then exhaling it through their mouth. Doing this helps to focus the mind on the breathing and slows down the body’s natural “fight or flight” response.

Be Mindful – Being mindful means being wholly in the present and simply observing one’s own actions and thoughts. By being mindful it is possible for a person to see the situation from a more objective viewpoint and put aside thoughts and actions that only worsen the stress of the situation.

Focus on the Child – Parents should make a mental effort to put all their focus on their child and put aside their thoughts of others around them. By focusing on the child first the parent will be more likely to stay calm and less likely to direct their anger at others. This also means parents will be in a better position to care for their child’s injuries and make sure they receive adequate medical attention.

George Washington University Emergency Medical Response Group (EMeRG) by Lee Cannon / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Trampoline Injuries

How Trampoline Injuries Usually Occur

It is not hard to find children who are eager for the chance to jump on a trampoline for the first time, and it is usually parents who are the reason some children never take part in this activity. The fear that parents have is not unreasonable, as there are 98,000 injuries every year that can be directly attributed to the use of a trampoline. The way in which these accidents occur is numerous, but there are a few reasons that are most prevalent.

Too Many People at Once

Statistics have been compiled showing that 75% of all injuries that occur on trampolines are caused by multiple people using the device at once. This number is likely so high because:

  • The greater the number of people on a trampoline the more likely it is that collisions will occur
  • Children are more likely to take risks in an effort to impress their friends or beat them at a game
  • The device is more unstable due to the movements of each person causing the bounce mat to shift

Inadequate Safety Features

Many trampoline injuries also occur because the owner of the device didn’t take enough precautions to ensure it was safe for users. Two safety features that every trampoline should have include:

  • Netting – Netting goes around the outside of the trampoline and ensures users can’t fall off even if a collision or loss of footing occurs. This protects children from many of the fractures and other injuries that are sustained when they bounce into the air and then land on the hard ground.
  • Anchoring – Anchoring a trampoline is also of vital important and ensures the device doesn’t shift while it is in use. Even when trampolines are placed on perfectly level ground there is a chance they could shift due to the movements of the user placing more weight on one side of the device.

Insufficient Supervision

Children love trampolines because these devices allow them to do tricks that would otherwise be impossible, but this also means they may do things that are dangerous. Those who are supervising children on trampolines should ensure they:

  • Don’t allow more than one child on the device at any given time
  • Don’t allow children younger than six years old on the device, as recommended by pediatricians
  • Make sure the rules for using the device are known and that children don’t attempt tricks that will put themselves or other children at risk of harm.

Take Legal Action

Many trampoline injuries could be prevented with proper care. Many people don’t take the necessary steps to prevent children from getting injured on trampolines. If your child was hurt on a trampoline, then you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney.

4 1/2 year old girl and the trampoline by daveynin / CC BY 2.0

child injury guide

Sporting Injuries

Hurt Playing Sports: You May Be Able to Sue

Those who enjoy playing sports often assume they can’t file a lawsuit if they’re injured because of the assumed risk that comes with these activities. The main aspect of this event for individuals to examine is the cause of the injury. If a source besides the act of taking part in the activity itself is determined to be the cause of the injury than injured persons often have a strong case for filing a lawsuit.

Negligence

Negligence comes in many forms, but in sports it most commonly occurs when a person fails to fulfill an obligation and this results in another person being injured. Negligence may not only involve issues such as equipment maintenance, but can include a person not properly explaining the way equipment is used or allowing a game to take place when unsafe conditions are known to exist.

Unsafe Conditions

When a person plays a sport they often expect the field or court to be maintained in a certain way. Two areas where sports often take place include:

  • Outdoor Fields – When a person plays a sport outdoors on grass or turf, it is expected that the playing surface will be level and free from any dangers. If uneven terrain results in a person falling and being injured this is often enough to warrant an injury lawsuit.
  • Indoor Courts – A greater amount of attention is paid to indoor courts because these are completely artificial environments. If an issue such as a loose board or slick surface causes an injury, victims can often receive compensation.

Dangerous Equipment

Many sports involve the use of at least one piece of equipment, and it is the responsibility of the equipment owner to ensure these devices are safe for people to use. If an individual uses a piece of equipment correctly but is still injured they can hold the owner responsible by filing a lawsuit.

Children in Sports

There is a far greater risk of negligence when it comes to cases involving children, and this is because every person tasked with coaching or protecting children during sporting events can be held responsible of negligence if an injury occurs.

Children are at a greater risk of injury because they are expected to do what the adults tell them, and this can result in a child blindly walking into danger simply because they don’t know any different. Adults can also be held responsible if a child is injured and it is not reported immediately or the injury gets worse.

Taking Legal Action

Many sporting injuries are unfortunate as they can be avoided if everyone involved with maintaining the field and equipment was responsible. Unfortunately, there are many negligent people in the world. If you or a loved one has been injured, then you should seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney today.

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Brain Injuries

Head Injuries: What Actually Happens to Your Brain?

Almost 2 million people are rushed to emergency rooms every year because of head injuries. Examinations done by medical professionals reveal that most of these injuries result in concussions that affect the way a person processes and recalls information, as well as causing severe headaches. What most people want to really know is what actually happens to the brain after an injury, and this is best explained as a timeline of events.

As Injury Occurs

As the injuring event is taking place there will be a point when the skull impacts with a surface, and this causes the brain to impact the interior of the skull. This causes the brain to be bruised and develop small tears, which affects the way in which the brain functions. As the injury occurs there will often be one of a few events that will follow:

  • Loss of Consciousness – Injuries that cause a concussion often leave a person unconscious for a period of time. The only beneficial aspect of losing consciousness is that it leaves little room for doubt as to whether a person needs to be taken to the emergency room.
  • Severe Headache – Those who sustain a head injury may simply walk away and think everything is fine. The most prominent indicator of a brain injury in this instance is the development of severe headaches that weren’t common before the injuring event occurred.

Shortly after Injuring Event

Those who don’t show immediate signs of brain injury will often see a series symptoms appear, and some may be so subtle that they may be overlooked. These symptoms include:

  • Recurring Headaches – As mentioned above, the onset of recurring and severe headaches is one of the most prevalent signs of brain injury. These headaches should not be ignored, and those who suffer from them should seek immediate medical attention.
  • Fatigue – Those who sustain a brain injury may also find that their energy levels have dropped significantly since the injury took place. Fatigue is often expected due to the body undertaking the recovery process, but if this fatigue is persistent it could indicate more severe brain trauma.
  • Concentration Problems – One part of the brain that is often affected during an injury is the portion that controls the ability to concentrate. Injured persons will often find themselves frustrated with trying to focus on a single task, and this can lead to difficulties with daily activities and poor work performance.

During Recovery

Most individuals who suffer from a brain injury will find that their symptoms disappear within six months of treatment. Approximately 20% of people who suffer brain injuries will face negative long-term effects, and these individuals should work with medical professionals to make sure further injury is avoided.

Getting Legal Help

Head injuries can be a very scary phenomenon. Besides the emotional trauma, the injured party may also need to worry about mounting medical bills and loss of income. One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to hire a personal injury attorney who can land you a settlement or win your case.

my brains – let me show you them by Liz Henry / CC BY-ND 2.0

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Man on Phone

How to Hire the Right Attorney If Your Child Is Injured

When a parent has an injured child they are often under a great deal of stress, and what can make this stress even greater is when the parent undertakes the task of searching for a personal injury attorney. The sheer number of choices can make this search seem almost impossible, but there are a few ways parents can make sure they make the right choice when selecting legal representation for themselves and their child.

Gather Recommendations

Every year there are thousands of personal injury cases that take place, and this means almost everyone knows at least one other person who has worked with a personal injury attorney before. Individuals who have gone down the path of personal injury litigation should be spoken to so that any recommendations the person has can be gathered and investigated by the parent.

Focus on Specialization

Parents may not realize that many attorneys select a particular aspect of law to specialize in while they’re in law school. In order for a parent to get the best representation possible they should seek out an attorney that specializes in personal injury, as these professionals will be versed in all the laws pertaining to injury and liability and will be able to present a strong case.

Schedule Multiple Appointments

One aspect of hiring an attorney that can be both beneficial and troubling at the same time is the vast number of attorneys located in a single area. Once a parent has narrowed his choices down to only those that specialize in injury cases they should setup appointments with each one and see which professional seems best equipped to handle the case.

The primary thing for parents to avoid during this time is making any commitments. Even though it may be tempting to go with the first attorney seen, it is often best for parents to investigate all their options since some attorneys may be able to better represent the case or provide their services at a lower cost.

Comfort Level

Working with an attorney during an injury case involves a level of trust that the parent must have, and this is why parents should only work with those legal professionals with which they are comfortable. While this trust may not be established immediately, it is important that the parent and attorney at least share similar goals for the outcome of the case since this may prevent complications once the case is underway.

Make Your Decision

After you have taken the time to do your homework, the final step is selecting your attorney and starting the legal process. One common mistake many parents make is waiting too long to go to trial. If your child has been injured, then you should hire an attorney right away.

* Photo by NEC Corporation of America

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Child Hurt Playground

Should I File a Lawsuit If My Child Was Injured on Playground Equipment?

When parents allow their children to use playground equipment they understand that there is some inherent risk involved with this type of activity. It is when an injury occurs that could have been avoided that parents should begin thinking about filing a lawsuit as a means to recover damages. The first thing parents will need to do is determine if they’re eligible to file a case, and this depends on a few key parts that make up an injury lawsuit.

Responsibility and Negligence

When a child is injured there can be conflicting reports about the events leading up to the injury. If a parent is present when the injury occurs any doubts can be eliminated, but when a child is entrusted to another person it may take some investigating to determine the truth.

  • Seek the Advice of Medical Professionals – The medical professionals that treat the child’s injuries may be able to help parents determine a cause. If the findings of a physician don’t match up with what was reported this can be brought up during the court case.
  • Gather Official Reports – Most child care facilities are required to maintain records in the event a child is injured. These should be obtained by the parents so a more accurate picture of what occurred can be formed.

The purpose of all the above-listed information is to help parents determine if it was the negligence of another person that caused the injury to take place. Proving negligence is the first requirement for an injury lawsuit and is the basis of the entire claim.

Type of Defendant

The type of defendant the parents face can also be a factor in whether or not they’re eligible to file a lawsuit. The three most likely parties include:

  • Private Individuals – These individuals are often liable for any damages they cause and can be sued in court. Victims will have to prove the actions or negligence of that single person were what caused the injury.
  • Businesses – Businesses can be held liable for injuries that occur due to their negligence in providing a safe environment or because they create an unsafe product that individuals can purchase or use.
  • Governments – Governments are the one type of defendant that victims may be unable to file a lawsuit against. Whether a lawsuit is possible or not is dependent on whether the government in question is protected by government immunity, and it is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer to find out the truth.

Getting an Attorney for Playground Injuries

There is nothing more painful as a parent than watching your child get injured. It’s especially difficult if the injury could have been avoided if it wasn’t for an individual’s negligence. In this circumstance, the best thing a parent can do is speak with a personal injury attorney.

Playground by Phalinn Ooi / CC BY 2.0

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