Articles Posted in Injuries to Children

van drivingThe families of Maine children injured in a van crash across state lines on I-95 in New Hampshire have filed notice they intend to sue a town government for negligence to recover compensation. Although this case has been filed outside of the state, it’s worth discussing because not only does it involve residents of this state, van crashes are not isolated incidents, and nor is the failure of employers to properly vet employee drivers (as is alleged to be the case here). If you have questions about a vehicle accident, reach out to a Maine personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

According to the Portland Press Herald, eleven summer campers were aboard the passenger van owned by the town, operated by a town employee and headed to Candia Springs Adventure Park in mid-August when the driver crashed into a large tree alongside the highway. Several of the children, ages 7 to 9, were injured and transported to a children’s hospital for treatment. They were ultimately released. Traffic investigators say the driver, a 21-year-old, suffered a medical emergency just before the wreck. Police investigators haven’t elaborated, but journalists reported the driver disclosed in a prior unrelated court case that he suffers from epilepsy and had experienced grand mal seizures in the past. He also had a long history of previous traffic violations as well as a long criminal record.  Continue reading

product liabilityHospital emergency room doctors in Maine and throughout the country are once again seeking a ban on infant walkers, saying that as an “inherently dangerous object” these walkers have no benefits to young children and should never be sold in the U.S. Spurring this renewed call is a new study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, revealing that 2,000 babies and toddlers every year are treated at hospital emergency rooms in infant walker accidents – often with serious and life-altering injuries like skull fractures, broken bones and concussions. Between 1990 and 2014, there were reportedly more than 230,000 injurious infant walker accidents among children under 15 months who were treated in hospital emergency departments.

As Bangor child injury attorneys may note, these types of cases would be based on the laws of product liability. Depending on the circumstances, one could allege defect in design, manufacturing and/or marketing/breach of warranty. When products are sold in the U.S., consumers are given an implied and often express assurance that they are safe when used as intended. This is especially true for products used by infants and children. Maine Title 14 S221, state law on defective or unreasonably dangerous goods, states that anyone who sells goods or products in defective condition or that are unreasonably dangerous to the user can be held liable for resulting injuries. Defendants can include the manufacturer, seller or supplier.

In instances wherein products prove unsafe, resulting in injury, it’s important to discuss legal options with an attorney or law firm with experience in handling Maine product liability lawsuits. Breach of express or implied warranty is often the grounds on which product liability plaintiffs present their case. Depending on where the incident occurred and who was caring for the child, there may also be claims of premises liability and negligent supervision (for example, against a daycare). Accountability is important for parents of young children injured in these preventable incidents.  Continue reading

The recent injury of a Sanford girl in a UTV accident highlights the risk of these and other all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as we head into autumn.Legal News Gavel

About 500 people a year are killed in ATV accidents, according to federal statistics, and more than 100,000 are injured seriously enough to seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms. About 25 percent of victims are under 16 years of age. In all, nearly 15,000 riders have been fatally injured since ATVs became popular in the 1980s.

CBS13 reports hundreds participated in a Sanford fundraiser for the 8-year-old girl, who broke her neck and jaw and suffered numerous skull fractures after falling from her UTV. The local Maine ATV Club sponsored the event.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently granted partial summary judgment in a case against a Portland High School after a mother alleged her teenage son fell and struck his head while apparently tussling with an older boy at a school sporting event.Legal News Gavel

The court dismissed the claims against the older boy’s parents. The case against the defendant teen and the school district will proceed separately from this ruling.

The mother claimed the incident occurred at Cheverus High School in Portland, where a number of youths had been attending a sporting event. She filed an injury lawsuit against the school district, as well as the older boy and his parents, bringing counts for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The defendant parents requested summary judgment for both negligent infliction of emotional distress and causes of action under state negligence laws.

Rabid wildlife has attacked two Brunswick residents and two dogs in recent days. While references to Stephen King’s “Cujo” will no doubt abound, the fact remains summer is already the most dangerous time of year for Maine dog bite injuries; confirmed cases of rabies in the area will only serve to increase the risks. While Stephen King’s 1981 classic depicted the horror faced by a mother and son held captive in rural Maine by a rabid dog, the truth of the matter is that mandatory pet vaccines throughout the majority of the country have drastically reduced the risks.Legal News Gavel

However, Maine is among the states that still report the most cases each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports rabies is a preventable disease of mammals, transported most often through the bite of another rabid animal. The vast majority of reported cases each year occur in wild animals, including raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks. Untreated, the virus infects the central nervous system and leads to brain disease and death. Death occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

In the Brunswick case this month, the Bangor Daily News reports a 72-year-old woman was bitten by a gray fox. A 27-year-old neighbor was also bitten while trying to detain the fox for authorities. In a separate incident, two dogs were bitten by a rabid skunk. As of June, Maine has had 18 confirmed cases of rabies reported statewide.

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A Maine girl must now use a wheelchair for the rest of her life after pediatricians wrongfully diagnosed her with severe constipation, rather than the acute leukemia from which she was actually suffering. That was the claim made by the plaintiff in a Maine medical malpractice lawsuit against the practitioners and a walk-in clinic. That claim was recently settled with a $1.9 million settlement, which will be placed into a trust for the girl. Her parents told The Bangor Daily News they hope the settlement will help improve the quality of life for the girl, who will likely never walk again.Legal News Gavel

According to reports, the girl’s parents brought the six-year-old into a walk-in clinic on one February day in 2014. They knew she was very sick. Two doctors diagnosed her with severe constipation and assured her parents this issue would pass. However, her parents grew increasingly worried because their daughter’s fever did not subside, her stomach grew hard and distended, and her eyes were glazed over.

Concerned, her parents took her to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Four days after seeing the first pediatrician in the walk-in clinic, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer. Her parents say from the moment she began treatment at the larger facility, their daughter’s health began to improve drastically. However, the delay in her treatment initially resulted in leukemia cells blocking blood flow from the girl’s lower spine to her legs, rendering her paraplegic.

The outcome of a vicarious liability claim against an employer of a dog owner in a recent Maine dog bite injury lawsuit hinged on whether the employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time the dog attacked. The case, recently before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, was challenging because the employee and dog owner lived in the same place where he worked. Additionally, the dog owner’s employer was also the victim’s landlord. Legal News Gavel

The child dog bite injury happened at an apartment complex where the plaintiff and her son resided and for which the dog owner, who also lived on site, was responsible for maintenance.

Vicarious liability, per Maine Revised Statutes 29-A-1109, holds that employers can be responsible for the acts of their employees if they approved or had knowledge of the employee’s actions and either approved or retained benefits, proceeds, profits, or advantages from the acts. Relevant also in this case is Maine Revised Statutes 9-729-3961, which outlines reimbursement for damage done by animals, including dogs. It holds that when an animal causes damage to a person or property due to the negligence of the animal’s keeper or owner, that owner or keeper is liable in a civil action to the injured person for the damage, as long as the injured person wasn’t more at fault than the dog’s keeper or owner.

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The loss of a child is a profound and devastating loss that leaves parents, siblings, and other loved ones forever changed. It can be particularly traumatizing when the death occurs suddenly and unnecessarily, such as in a car accident.Legal News Gavel

Motor vehicle crashes remain one of the top causes of childhood mortality and serious injuries, and new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows they are on the rise nationally.

Just recently, a nine-year-old Maine boy died after suffering severe traumatic brain injuries in a car accident on Interstate 95 that closed the highway for hours. The boy, from Kittery, was killed in the Connecticut crash while seated in the back of a Toyota Camry, seat belt fastened. According to the Bangor Daily News, the driver of his vehicle had to stop abruptly due to a sudden slowdown in traffic up ahead. The 29-year-old driver of a sport utility vehicle directly behind them slammed into the back of the car and then pushed it into the vehicle ahead. The driver who rear-ended the Camry was also from Maine.

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It was five years ago that a high school cheerleader in Maine suffered a horrifying head injury during a “basket toss” stunt, in which she fell some 20 feet after being thrown in the air by her teammates at practice. cheerleading

In a lawsuit she filed three years ago, the former Poland Regional High School student described the aftermath of her concussion, which involved dizziness, sensitivity to light, awful headaches, long sleeping stretches and difficulty concentrating that resulted in slipping grades. The lawsuit alleged the school didn’t properly supervised the practice, failed to halt the practice once the student athlete was injured, didn’t observe her injury or provide prompt medical attention and violated a host of industry rules and standards as well as Maine law.

Now, according to a recent report published in the journal Pediatrics, we know these injuries aren’t all that uncommon among cheerleaders. There are approximately 400,000 students nationally participating in high school cheerleading. Of those, about 124,000 are in competitive “spirit squads.” These squads demand discipline, skill and increasing athletic ability, and that has meant the risk of injury has risen.  Continue reading

Only six states in the U.S. have laws that require seat belt installation on school buses. Maine isn’t among them. That should change, according to Mark R. Rosekind, National Highway Traffic Safety administrator. schoolbus2

In a recent keynote speech to a group of school transportation officials in Virginia, Rosekind announced the NHTSA would putting more resources toward researching the effectiveness of seat belts on school buses. He further committed his agency to pursuing mandates requiring every school bus in the country to have three-point seat belt systems installed for children.

However, he didn’t indicate the NHTSA would be initiating the rule-making process, which is necessary to enact a mandatory rule. The aforementioned study will focus on school bus seat belt safety in Florida, California, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Texas. These are the states that have required schools to have seat belts installed on all vehicles responsible for transporting children. Continue reading

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