Back-To-School Reminder From A Personal Injury Lawyer: Bus Safety

It is that time again, when children in newly bought “school clothes” and backpacks clamber on to the school bus and head off to start another school year. Before they climb up the steps onto the bus, parents need to remind their kids of how to be safe while riding the bus and bus drivers need to be ready to keep them safe.

Getting On And Off The Bus
Board the bus one at a time. Children need to be patient and wait for the bus driver to give the ok for them to board. Once it is safe, each child should board one at a time.
Carry loose items in a bag. Make sure children keep all their items in their bag or backpack. Stopping to pick up dropped items can be hazardous. If they do drop an item getting on or off the bus, they should ask the bus driver for help retrieving it, especially if it goes under the bus or in front or behind it.
Obey the bus driver. Remind your children that the bus driver is in charge and has their safety in mind. They should be polite and obey all of the bus driver’s instructions. Once on the bus, children need to quickly find a seat, sit down and stay facing forward while the bus is moving.
Use handrails. Make sure your child knows they should use the handrails when getting on and off the bus. They also should be careful to tuck in loose strings and straps so they do not get caught in the door.
Crossing in front of the bus. Once the child is off the bus, if they need to cross, they should take five big steps from the front of the bus forward. Then they can turn and start to cross when the bus driver gives the signal. Once they get to the edge of the bus before walking across the street, they need to look both ways before crossing. Do not let them get into the habit of thinking that just because there is a stop sign that traffic will automatically come to a stop.
Bus Driver Responsibility
Bus drivers have precious cargo onboard and need to be both babysitter and driver at the same time. No one says the job is easy, but it is an important role. Making sure that drivers keep control of the students on their bus while still maintaining safe-driving procedures is critical.

Student management. Set strict expectations for your students. Let them know you are there to keep them safe but to do that, you need their cooperation.
Distractions. Children can and will be noisy. Focus on the job at hand, making sure that children are getting on and off the bus safely.
Follow safe driving procedures. Do not let the children distract you from driving safely. If needed, stop the bus and get the situation under control so you can drive with your attention on the road.
By parents and bus drivers both doing their part, all the children can get to school and home again safe this school year.

School Bus Accident Lawyers
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience litigating and resolving school bus accident cases on behalf of injured children. Our legal team evaluates every aspect of an incident to assure that every responsible party is held fully responsible. If you have questions about your child’s injury give our office a call today and delegate some of your responsibility to a trusted advocate.

Resource:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/parents/parents-bus.html

Back-To-School Reminders From Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers: Pedestrian Safety

If you are lucky enough to live close enough to your school to walk, you can avoid the traffic and have a nice walk with your child to school and then hear about their day on the way home. However, if for some reason you are not going to walk with them, you need to make sure they know the rules of being a safe pedestrian.

You can teach these rules to them during your walks to school so that when the time comes, they will always follow the rules when they are by themselves.

Sidewalks. Always walk on the sidewalk when one is available. If there is not a sidewalk, you should walk on the shoulder of the road, as far away from traffic as possible, facing traffic. Explain this is just the opposite of riding a bike, since bike riders need to ride with traffic.
Cross at intersections. Teach them early that you never cross the road when there is not a crosswalk or an intersection. This is not only a rule; it is an actual law in most places.
Left-right-left. All children should know to look left, then right, then left again before stepping off a curb to cross the road. Teach them early to be responsible for their own safety and not rely on stop signs and motorists to follow the rules.
Cross with an adult. If you are not there with them, children under 10 years of age should always be crossing the road with an adult. Preferably, they will be holding their hand.
Walk in groups. If your child is going to walk without you, it should be with a group, with an adult with them if at all possible. This is for their safety from motorists and also other people who may want to do them harm.
Teach them traffic signals. Show your children what the crosswalk signals mean, how the buttons work and when it is safe to cross. Remind them just because the signal says “walk” does not mean they should not do the left-right-left routine. Teach your child good habits by ALWAYS doing it with them before crossing.
With more children out on the sidewalks and streets, all adults need to be on the look out for kids running, playing and walking. In 2009, 13,000 children under 14-years of age were injured in pedestrian accidents. In school zones and residential areas, make sure to take extra precaution, watching for children who may excitedly run out into traffic.

At intersections take an extra moment to look all directions, whether there is a stop sign or not, to make sure no child is trying to cross. If we all do our part, children will be able to walk to and from school safely this year.

Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Tragically, the negligence or inattention of drivers can quickly alter a child’s life when their car hits a child crossing the street. Pedestrian Accident Lawyers will investigate the circumstance behind every case to determine who the responsible parties are. Following an investigation, attention can then be centered upon a child’s injuries. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience representing injured pedestrians and will not let any insurance company or defense attorney short change what a client is legally entitled to.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Pedestrians

Difficulties In Prosecuting Child Abuse

It can be difficult providing proof to prosecute the perpetrator in court for the attorney representing the victim even though it may be apparent that the child has been abused. If the child is an infant, or worse, did not survive the abuse, there are often no witnesses to the crime that can testify. In those cases, the juries must rely on expert testimony and circumstantial evidence.

Partial Acquittal For Murder Of Corduray, Jr
In the case of 3-month old Corduray Scott, Jr., his death was only partially vindicated. His father, Corduray Scott Sr. received a life sentence for his horrific murder but was acquitted of the charge of killing his son with malice.

The jury has to take into consideration two opposing testimonies from doctors from the prosecution and the defense. The only witnesses to the crime were the defendant and his dead son. The infant has several broken ribs, a skull fracture, a lacerated liver and blood in his lungs that pointed to smothering. Despite the physical evidence, the jury still was unable to convict on the malice issue. Fortunately, they still did find the father guilty of murder, despite his pleas that it was an accident.

Prosecuting Child Care Providers for Abusive Acts on Their Watch
As hard as it may be to prove child abuse at the hands of a parent, it can be even more difficult with a care provider. There has be proof that injuries happened when the child was in their care and, unless it is an obvious case, it can be tricky at best.

Baby Hall did not even get the vindication that Corduray Jr. received. Her accused abuser has to be retried after the jury was deadlocked after 11 hours of deliberation. Teaira Michele Hall was 22-months old when she died in November of 2009. Although it is not disputed that she died from a head injury, the jury could not decide whether her babysitter, the accused Lawanda Concettes Tripp, was at fault. Although the baby died in her care, they could not decipher whether Tripp inflicted the injuries that caused her death. A new trial is scheduled to start in the fall of 2012.

Although it can be difficult to prosecute childcare providers, it is possible. The best advice is report any signs of abuse as soon as they happen and document any unusual behavior or physical signs of trauma. This is of little comfort to parents who have lost a child, but making sure an abuser is not able to hurt other children is important as well.

Attorneys Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases Involving Caregivers
As a parent suspecting the abuse of a child is a heartbreaking issue to confront. Determining how to handle the situation can be an especially difficult decision in light of the implications. Attorneys who are well versed in prosecuting situations involving physical and sexual abuse of children can help navigate these treacherous waters. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is fully committed to providing the best possible legal representation for your circumstance and always seeks to to so with the utmost discretion.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2012-08-18/court-cases-show-challenge-prosecuting-child-abuse?v=1345331786
http://newstimes.augusta.com/ccnt/2012-08-15/woman-to-be-retried-for-toddlers-death-after-hung-jury

Is Medical Care Getting Safer? Or Are Fewer People Filing Claims?

According to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) data, 2011 had the lowest amount of reported medical malpractice lawsuits since 1991. This information on the surface suggests that medical practice has improved, thus leading to fewer claims. Both consumer advocate groups and tort reform groups, usually on opposing sides, agree that the numbers are misleading.

Why Are The Numbers Lower?
Although it would be wonderful to think that these claims are lower due to increased health care standards, there are other reasons these numbers have decreased. Although no one can say for sure, there are a few theories on the reasons.

Less claims being filed. Due to litigation restrictions, it is thought that many malpractice claims are being dismissed or not filed at all. This means that victims of medical malpractice are paying for their own health care and treatments that were caused by physician errors.
Claims not reported. It is also possible that large institutions like hospitals suppress the doctors name or terminate the doctors involved in malpractice suits in an effort to hide the malpractice suits from their records. This would cause these suits to not get filed with the NPDB.
Protecting the Rights of Victims of Medical Negligence
Tort reform advocates would have you believe that malpractice suits are the cause of high medical care cost in the U.S. However, of the claims that were reported to the NPDB for 2011, 80% of them were for wrongful death or severe permanent injuries. On top of that, malpractice litigation costs for 2010 were only a fraction of 1% of the total national health care costs. Continuing to work for towards laws that restrict legal means of obtaining compensation for medical errors only hurts the people who have already been harmed.

Victims of medical malpractice need the option to have their case to be heard by a jury of their peers. Meritorious claims that are being dismissed due to litigation laws or restrictions are causing these people to be victimized twice, once by the doctor and again by legal system that is supposed to be there to protect them.

For example, a 36-year old woman who was recovering from a thyroid operation developed a hematoma in the recovery room and went into respiratory arrest, which caused the women not to be able to speak. The nurse in the room did not immediately call a doctor when the women could not speak. Although the woman was eventually resuscitated, it was delayed long enough that the lack of oxygen caused permanent brain damage. Although this case seems fairly straightforward as a case of a grievous medical error, the case was dismissed.

It is important for victims to have a way to get the medical treatments and compensation needed to care for harm done at the hands of physicians. Only by having the opportunity to bring the facts into a court of law and plead their case can victims get the vindication they deserve.

Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
In an era where meritorious medical negligence cases are commonly overlooked by both decision makers and jurors, it is essential to have a battle-tested advocate working on your behalf. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handles medical negligence cases involving all aspects of medical care. Our attorneys have achieved national recognition for their work on cases involving birth injuries and cerebral palsy. Put our team to work for you and your family.

http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/malpractice-payments-hit-record-low/2012-07-17
http://www.hgexperts.com/article.asp?id=5641

Tremendous Expenses Related To Disabled Child Care

Raising a child with disabilities can have enormous costs for the family. Beyond the cost emotional, mentally and physically, the financial burden can be tremendous as well. Even with health care insurance and even government assistance, there are many out of pocket expenses that are just not covered.

Specialized Medical Equipment Necessary To Care For Disabled Children
Depending on the severity of the disability, there are many devices and equipment that may be needed to properly care for a disabled child. Keeping in mind that a disabled child may never be able to be on their own, these are ongoing costs that can be for the entire life of the child. Some equipment that may be needed:

Wheelchairs, walkers, braces and other mobility equipment
Protective gear, such as helmets, guard rails and car seats
Special bedding, mattress protectors and bedding rails
Medical equipment, which includes too many items to list
Home And Car Modifications
If the disabled child is in a wheelchair or has difficulty walking, there may be needed changes to the home and vehicles. Since vehicles often need to be replaced, these modifications are continuous with every vehicle the family buys.

Ramps, inside and out of the home
Change in home door sizes to accommodate wheelchairs
Vehicle wheelchair accessibility and transport
Health Services
Disabled children have ongoing financial needs for all their health needs and there are travel costs to and from the many doctor visits. Many children with disabilities may have new symptoms and medical problems related to their disease, as they grow older.

Prescriptions and medications
Doctor visits-specialists, nutrition, physical therapy
Testing, scans and lab
Hospitalizations
Child Care
Balancing the need to make money and have childcare can be a difficult choice. For lower income families, the cost of going to work is often too great. Even if one parent stays home, the family has to live on one income, which is difficult in today’s economy. There are always times when specialized care needs to be available for the child.

When the parents are working
When there are errands to run
When other children need the parents
When the parents are ill or just need an emotional break
Disabled children do come with a high price tag but most parents would not trade their beloved, special kids for anything in the world.

Attorneys for children disabled due to injuries sustained during the birthing process
Caring and providing for any child can be a tough responsibility, caring for a child with disabilities sustained at birth can put an enormous amount of stress upon the entire family. Attorneys with experience litigating birth injury cases can help provide answers to how medical mistakes may have impacted your child.

In situations where medical negligence is responsible for a birth injury of a child, attorneys with experience litigating birth injury cases can help provide for your child’s financial future in the form of a medical malpractice case against a physician, midwife or hospital. Get the compensation your child deserves and contact our team of birth injury lawyers today for a free case assessment without any obligation on your end.

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/disabilities_managing_finance.html
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/staten_island/palsy_kid_3jO2Ciyy8IDYbZqmUJSlpL

Child Abuse Can Be Responsible For Injury To The Brain & Delayed Development

It is not just physical abuse that can affect and damage developing brains in children. According to recent findings, emotional abuse and neglect can also have an impact on how a child’s brain develops, leaving them more likely to have learning and emotional disabilities, as they grow older.

Early Childhood Affects On The Brain
A neurologist from the University of California, Los Angles recently released brain scans of two 2-year old children who both came from very different home environments. One child came from a loving home while the other had been exposed to neglect and abuse. The results of the scan showed that the abused child had an under-developed brain in areas that would affect how the child learned and functioned, even into adulthood.

The effects of abuse and neglect on child brain development have been studied before. It is thought that environmental factors in a child’s early development can actual change the how genes within the body react. A study done on Russian orphans who were known to have experienced neglect showed there was actually a change in the children’s DNA, linked to their poor treatment.

During the first two years of a child’s life, 80% of their brain cells are developed. Any disruption in their emotional or physical needs can affect how these cells develop. While physical abuse such as shaken baby syndrome and other forms of child abuse are more apparent in their affect on the child, it seems that other less noticeable forms of abuse can leave physical marks as well.

How Changes In The Brain Occur
When a child is born, their brains are fairly undeveloped. At this point, their small brains will mold and develop over the next few years and can be greatly influenced by their environment. While an adult can be affected by a traumatic event, it will most likely not change their brain physically. In small children, stress, abuse and emotional trauma can actually change the physical properties in their brain.

According to Dr. Bruce Perry, who is considered an expert on brain development, when a child is in constantly in distress or feels threatened, the fear-activation in their brains constantly is on overload. While this survival mode is normal when any person experiences trauma, for children it can actually impact their development and how their neural pathways in the brain are created. This disruption in normal development can lead to a host of problems that can cause both physical and mental disadvantages for the rest of the child’s life.

The good news, if there is any, is that the sooner abuse is recognized and stopped, the better chance children can have of overcoming these delayed developments. Young children are very adaptable and with encouragement and a safe, nurturing environment, it is possible for them to recover at least some of what they lost. The best solution is prevention and increased education on abuse so it can be stopped before it is too late.

http://health.msn.co.nz/healthnews/8555843/child-abuse-causes-damage-to-the-brain
http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/abuse_neglect.htm

Are School Buses Really Safer Than Cars?

The large orange-yellow school bus is an iconic symbol of formative years, as almost all children rode on one either to and from school or at the very least, to certain school functions. While a child would not question whether it was the safest mode for them to be transported in, parents cannot help but wonder if they truly are a safe option. With all the distractions that can happen on a bus, are school buses really safer than cars?

Safety Features
As far as outside safety features go, school buses are as safe as they come. Built with reinforced side panels, a bright, recognizable color and even equipped with a stop sign and flashing lights, they are large, safe, well built vehicles.

There has been concern over the years, as seat belts have become standard and even the law in most states, that school buses should also have seat belts. Although smaller buses do come equipped with seat belts, the larger buses do not. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has looked at the issue and has determined that due to the design and the weight of standard school buses, that seatbelts would not improve safety. Impacts to these large vehicles cause much less force to passengers compared to other smaller vehicles and the high energy-absorbing seats that are narrowly spaced provide protection in the case of a crash.

School Bus Drivers
One of the main safety features of a school bus is the person behind the wheel. While the average parent may insist they are excellent drivers, they are unlikely to have went through the type of training and testing that the average school driver goes through. School bus drivers must:

Pass random drug/alcohol testing
Receive training in loading, security and medical procedures
Have frequent driver record checks
Be trained in student behavior management
Statistics On Safety
An estimated 23 million children ride on a school bus every day and most arrive safely to and from school. In fact, compared to riding in a car, they are much more likely to arrive safe and alive. When fatalities of children of school age who die in a motor vehicle accident during school hours are compared, the far safest mode of transportation is the school bus.

Only 1% of these fatalities happened while the children were on a school bus.
58% of the fatalities were with a teen driver
23% were when there was an adult driver
When it comes down to it, school buses seem to be safer than cars when it comes to transporting children to and from school. They also take millions of cars off the roads near school areas, save money for families and are better for the environment. What can be better than that?

http://www.nhtsa.gov/School-Buses
http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2009/10/school-bus-safety-.html

Childhood Brain Injuries May Lead To Criminal Behavior

A new study suggests that brain injuries in children can lead to criminal behavior later in life. When a child sustains a brain injury (see here), many difficulties can arise in how their brain can function. Although some symptoms from the injury are apparent right away, others may take years to identify. Brain injuries can affect the way that a child’s brain develops; causing delay or dysfunction in the way they process information, perform physical tasks and in their social and behavioral aptitude.

University of Exeter Study
Professor Huw Williams of the University of Exeter in the U.K. released his report “Repairing Shattered Lives” that gave the details of his study on the effects of childhood brain injuries on judgment and impulse control. His study and another released by the University of Birmingham were both cited in a report on the issue of brain injuries and criminal behavior issued by the Children’s Commissioner for England, highlighting the need for detection of brain injuries in young offenders to prevent further criminal behavior.

Professor William’s study included a survey of 200 male prisoners on their childhood history of head trauma. 60% of the inmates reported having a head injury as a child, which is much higher than the general population. Since head injuries can cause developmental behavioral problems, identifying young offenders that may be suffering from these issues and treating them may reduce the amount that go on to lead adult criminal lives.

Traumatic Brain Injury And Behavior
Although these studies are recent, the fact that early brain trauma can affect behavior has been studied and acknowledged for some time. A study published in 2003 in the Oxford Journal showed a correlation between traumatic brain injuries, both moderate and severe, to behavior problems as soon as one year after the injury and lasting through the fourth year of the study. These children were two to three times more likely then those without brain injuries to have behavior issues.

Another study from researchers in New Zealand looked at the affects of childhood traumatic brain injuries years after the injury. The study looked at 81 cases of brain injuries in children 5 years or younger and followed their progress through age 13. Those who had severe brain trauma that required hospitalization had much higher instances of ADHD symptoms and conduct disorders compared to children with no history of brain injury. Even more alarming, the symptoms tended to get worse as the child grew older.

Brain injuries, especially in young children, can affect the way that the brain processes information and how it develops. It should not come as a surprise that children who suffer this type of trauma may have a host of cognitive problems, including how they behave and handle stressful situations. It can only be assumed that without treatment and counseling that these children could grow up to make poor choices, even criminal ones. The lesson to be learned is that any childhood brain trauma (click here) can have long lasting effects and should always be taken seriously.

Resources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19998710
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_236372_en.html
http://jpepsy.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/4/251.full
http://www.childinjurylaws.com/brain-injury-tbi/more-attention-needs-to-be-focused-on-understanding-the-impact-of-brain-injuries-in-children/
http://www.child-psych.org/2009/04/traumatic-brain-injury-in-young.html
http://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/2012/07/closing_statement_in_brain_inj.html

Attorneys Suggest Pedestrian Safety Tips for Your Child

Whether it is walking to school, the bus stop, or a friend’s house, it is important that your child knows proper safety techniques to ensure they are walking safe. Practicing safe walking is the best way to protect your child from being involved in a serious accident that leaves them injured. If they should be involved in such an incident, there are skilled New Jersey injury lawyers that can assist you.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2009 there were 244 pedestrian accident fatalities that were children 14 or younger. Of all fatal traffic accidents involving children, these pedestrian accidents accounted for about one-fifth. It was also reported that in 2009 there were an additional 13,000 children 14 or younger injured in pedestrian accidents.

Safe Walking Tips for Children
While the number of kids getting hurt in these kinds of incidents has lowered over the last decade, there is still much to be done with regards to preventing these tragic accidents. Make sure your children know how to safely walk where they need to go and that they always follow these rules.

Always walk on a sidewalk or path, never in the street. If there is no options of sidewalks, always make sure you are within the lines of the shoulder and that you are walking towards traffic.
Make sure you are seen. Wearing brightly colored clothing will help drivers see you when walking during the day, but at night you will need to wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight to alert cars that you are there.
When crossing the street, stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again before walking into the street. You should always cross in a marked crosswalk and when you have the green light.
When walking with friends, it is important that you never roughhouse by pushing, shoving, or jumping on each other. Someone could fall or accidentally get knocked into the street.
Practice Makes For Improved Safety
By informing your children of how they should behave and the safety measures they should practice, you are greatly reducing the chance that they will be hit by a car. As parents you should also be aware of your children playing in or around the street—if at all possible do not allow them to do this. It is much safer for your children to play in the back yard or an enclosed space away from the road where there is no chance of them running into the street.

If the unthinkable does occur, and your child is left with serious injuries, there are experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident attorneys that can help you to get the money you deserve and to see that the responsible parties are held accountable for their careless actions.

Resources:

New Jersey injury lawyers: http://www.consoleandhollawell.com/new-jersey/accident-injury-lawyers/
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811387.pdf
New Jersey pedestrian accident attorneys: http://www.consoleandhollawell.com/new-jersey/pedestrian-accident-lawyers/

Pediatric Brain Injuries Related To Car Accidents – What Statistics Tell Us?

The injuries inflicted on a child during a car accident can have lifelong consequences. With head trauma and brain injuries, sometimes these consequences will not be apparent until later in a child’s life. Head injuries are the most common injury that children suffer from in car accidents.

The Statistics
In a study conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010, they reported that children under the age of one are at a much higher risk of sustaining head injuries in car accidents than other children. The most common form of head injuries in children under the age of one is concussions and unconsciousness. It was also reported in the study that older children (over the age of one) were more likely to suffer from skull fractures.

For all age groups studied, head injuries were the most common injuries to occur in car accidents for children aged seven and under. Children under the age of one had a higher incidence rate at 70% compared to children aged 1 to 3 at 51% and children aged 4 to 7 at 39%.

These incidence rates regardless of age group are quite high, and the statistics bring to light the fact that pediatric head and brain injuries due to car accidents is a very common and very serious matter.

Traumatic Brain Injury and its Long Term Effects
Traumatic brain injuries are very complicated and hard to diagnose in children as their brains are still developing. Due to the brain’s developing during this stage, any head injuries a child sustains may have impacts that will not be clear until later on, once the brain has fully developed. During this developing stage, any damage caused to the brain can result in developmental issues or neuropsychological problems that may appear later in life.

Specific areas of the brain control specific functions in our bodies, and some regions of the brain develop later than others. Thus, if a region is damaged before fully developing, injuries sustained in that area will affect the functions that brain area is responsible for. For example, the frontal lobe is a late developing region that controls personality and social skills. If this area is damaged early in life, it will shape how the child functions socially and effects will not be noticed until later in life when the frontal lobe has fully formed.

How Head and Brain Injuries Can Be Prevented
Although there is no specific formula for preventing a head injury from occurring, there are ways that parents can help protect their children from sustaining serious injuries. Restraining devices should be used in all vehicles for children of all ages. Vehicles should be driven safely with all attention on the road.

Parents must ensure that they are not distracted by their child or by any other actions such as talking on the cell phone. If a car accident occurs, a child must be properly checked by a medical physician, no matter how minor the injury may seem. Delaying medical attention can cause greater damage to the child. With head and brain injuries, a child must be monitored very carefully after the accident, as effects can be delayed.

Some helpful resources for child brain injury:
http://biac-aclc.ca/2010/06/16/children-and-brain-injury/
http://www.brainline.org/content/2008/07/what-situation-children-tbi.html?gclid=CM-Gh7PG7LUCFRDKtAodwHcAQg
Hat tip to Personal Injury Lawyer, John Yannone for his support