Articles Posted in Injuries to Children

When three young children and their parents were exposed to toxic lead in their rented Maine home, they sought compensation through the courts.

After being denied a jury trial on some of the negligence complaints raised, the family lost the remaining claims at trial.

But now, the Maine Supreme Court has found clear errors in the way the trial court handed the case, ruling that the burden of proof was unfairly shifted to the plaintiffs. The victims will now have the opportunity to seek a new trial in the case of Bratton v. McDonough.

A man has filed a Maine injury lawsuit alleging he sustained serious injuries in a 2010 fair accident at Windsor Fairgrounds. He was reportedly struck in the head and shoulder while watching a harness race. He was one of five people hurt in the accident.

Bangor injury lawyers understand the gate, which is towed by a vehicle, didn’t retract fast enough and several spectators were hit. The gate, which weighs approximately 1,500 pounds, was reportedly traveling some 35 mph at the time of the incident.

As in many cases like this, where injuries occur due to dangerous conditions or faulty equipment on a property, several of those involved negotiated settlement agreements with insurance companies However, this plaintiff said his settlement negotiations were unsuccessful and now, his medical bills are approaching $100,000.

More than once every half hour, a child suffers a shopping cart injury in Maine.

In fact, it’s a problem across the country, despite voluntary safety standards that were adopted by the industry back in 2004.

A new study, conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio and published in the journal “Clinical Pediatrics” in January, reveals that concussions and closed-head injuries resulting from shopping cart use has increased over the last several decades.

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In filing a Bangor child injury lawsuit on the grounds of negligent supervision, plaintiff attorneys must first establish that the defendant had a duty to supervise the child.The existence and scope of the duty of negligent supervision is a matter of law, and in order to prove it, plaintiffs have to show that there was some type of custodial relationship between the two parties. Per Dragomir v. Spring Harbor Hosp.,, Me: Supreme Judicial Court 2009, a custodial relationship in Maine exists between two parties when one party is required or voluntarily takes physical custody of another, such as to deprive the other party of his normal opportunities for protection.

This custodial relationship is not necessarily a formal agreement. It need not be in writing or even expressly stated verbally.

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Agreements that extract a party from liability for negligence are handled with a heightened degree of judicial scrutiny in Maine courts.This is especially true when these exculpatory agreements involve release of negligence for harm to children.

The recent case of BJ’s Wholesale Club v. Rosen, reviewed by the Maryland Court of Appeals, illustrates how courts tend to wrestle with these matters.

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Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for kids, but amid the fun of trick-or-treating and costumes, parents need to be aware of several safety issues. According to My FOX Maine, it’s best to warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has carefully examined them for evidence of tampering. Your best bet is to inspect the candy first, before handing it over to children.Our Bangor child injury attorneys understand that Halloween night is the most dangerous night out of the entire year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. More children are killed on this night than any other. But luckily, there are things that parents and guardians can do to help reduce these risks. And it all starts out with a little planning. We’re asking parents and guardians to review the following safety tips and to share them with friends, family members and children to help ensure everyone makes it through All Hallow’s Eve unharmed.

The first thing you’re going to want to tackle before heading out the door is costume safety. Starting from head and heading to the toes, you want to make sure that your child’s costume does not consist of a mask. Masks can hinder children’s vision and can send them walking straight into danger. Consider using face paint instead. You also want to make sure that their costume is light in color and consists of reflective materials to help motorists to see them more easily. Costumes should also be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling. Comfortable shoes are ideal as it’s going to be a long night of candy-seeking adventures. Lastly, swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material. You don’t want any eye injuries.

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Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are looking out for the safety of our youngest travelers, and they’re turning to the parents and guardians for help. As a part of Child Passenger Safety Week, officials are raising awareness about the safety benefits associated with the proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts for young children.”Safety is our top priority, particularly when it comes to protecting our children – who are our most vulnerable passengers,” said U. . Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Our Portland child injury lawyers understand that Maine’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) law is one of the strongest in the country. The law requires that children who weigh less than 40 pounds are required to ride in a child safety seat; children less than 80 pounds ride in a federally-approved child restraint system; and children over the age of 8 (or taller than 4’9″) ride with a properly-secured seat belt. Also, children under 12 and who weighs less than 100 lbs. must be properly secured in the back seat of the vehicle, according to Maine’s Bureau of Highway Safety.

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Most parents spend a lot of time getting ready for their new baby to arrive – picking out just the right color of paint for the room, making sure there are enough bottles and burp clothes and buying toys that will be safe and mentally stimulating.The problem is that it seems sometimes, manufacturers don’t spend nearly as much time on safety. We assume that when we buy items for our babies that those products have been thoroughly tested and vetted. However, our Bangor child injury lawyers know that every single month, there is some new product finding its way onto the U. . Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall list. Many times, those products are intended for or have been used by infants.

One of the most recent of those involves a Baby Einstein musical activity jumper model, of which nearly a half a million have been sold in the U. . alone. The problem with these toys is that one of the parts has the potential to spring back rather forcefully, causing impact trauma to babies and even adults whose faces are nearby.

There have so far been more than 100 reports of some type of incident involving this particular piece of the toy. Of those, there were more than 60 injuries. A lot of those were cuts and bruises, but there was at least one instance in which a young infant suffered a skull fracture. In another instance, an adult suffered a chipped tooth.

This was a product sold over the last three years at several major retailers, including Amazon.com, Target and Toys R Us.

We wish the concerns ended there. Just this summer, the CPSC has recalled a dozen infant and child products, for reasons ranging from choking hazards to failure to meet inflammability standards.

We encourage parents to regularly check the CPSC ‘s recall lists for products that might be in your child’s nursery or play room. To make it a little easier, in addition to the activity jumper, here is a list of some of the items recalled just these past three months:

  • Toysmith Toy Light-Up Frogs and Ducks, due to choking hazards. About 30,000 have been sold exclusively at World Market.
  • Far East Brokers Ladybug-themed kids’ outdoor furniture, due to violations of lead paint standards. About 14,000 have been sold under the Leisure Way brand.
  • Girls Autumn Run Girls Gemma II Boots, due to an exposed staple at the sole of the boot that could present a laceration hazard. About 5,000 have been sold at Academy Sports + Outdoors.
  • Nan Far Woodworking Round Cribs, due to entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards. The drop-side rail has the potential to fall out of position, causing an infant or toddler to become wedged or entrapped and possibly strangled. About 4,000 have been sold at JC Penney.
  • Infants’ First Impressions Varsity Jackets, due to choking hazards. The snaps off the jacket can reportedly pop off. Some 8,7000 have been sold at Macy’s.
  • Thermobaby bath seats recalled by SCS due to drowning hazards. The seats fail to meet federal standards for stability. About 7,500 have been sold on Amazon.com.
  • Jeep Liberty Strollers, produced by Kolcraft, due to projectile hazard. Some 96,000 have been sold in the U. .

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Here in Portland, we’re seeing temperatures flirt with the 80s, and that means that we all need to start paying attention to our children a little more — especially when in a motor vehicle.We’re targeting the risks for child heatstroke resulting from being left inside a vehicle. Our Portland child injury attorneys understand that there have been eight reported fatalities from these accidents already in the U. . this year. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are just that — ACCIDENTS. Even the most loving and caring parents can fall victim to these circumstances. And that’s why we’re here with some important information to help to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.

And we’re not alone. Recently, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that they were teaming up with safety advocates from Safe Kids Worldwide and other various organizations for the “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.” safety campaign.

“Child heatstroke in a hot car can happen to any caregiver from any walk of life, even to the most loving and conscientious parents,” said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

According to NBC News, it only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to rise by 20 degrees; within 30 minutes, it can climb by 34 degrees. That means that even with our mild temps in the 70s, it will only take a matter of minutes before temperatures inside the vehicle reach deadly levels.

“This can happen to anybody,” said Janette Fennell with KidsAndCars.org.

You’ve also got to remember that a small child’s body heats up much faster than our adult bodies. So what you may not think is hot, might be a whole different story for a small child. When their body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, you’re asking or trouble. It only takes an internal temperature of 107 for them to die.

The most important thing you can do is remember to check the backseat of your vehicle before shutting it off and locking it up. Quiet, sleeping children can oftentimes be forgotten. Leave something in the front seat to help to remind you to check for children. Keep something important back there so you’re forced to go back and check before leaving.

Make sure that you teach your children that vehicles are not playgrounds. Never let them around vehicles if they’re not supervised and keep your keys out of sight and out of mind.

Share these tips with friends, family members and care providers to make sure everyone is on the same page and keeping your child’s safety as a number on priority.

If you see a child that is alone in a vehicle, call 9-1-1 right away. Try to get the child out and cooled off as quickly as possible if you can. Your intervention could wind up saving their life.

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The holiday season is a time when kids are very excited to receive presents from friends and family members. Many of those presents are toys. Unfortunately, with an influx of new products coming into your home during the holiday season, there is always a risk that some of those toys may be dangerous.

The same holds true for clothing, cribs, highchairs and other items marketed for use by children.

In fact, although the U. . Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that toy recalls and toy-related fatalities are down, they also report that toy related injuries are up. The 27th annual Trouble in Toyland Survey also reveals some dangerous items on the shelves this holiday season.

As you do your shopping, our Portland personal injury attorneys urge you to exercise caution in making sure you keep dangerous toys out of your home. We also advise all parents to monitor new toys by supervising play, ensuring the toys are age appropriate, and checking the list of toy recalls to find out if any potential risks dangers exist.

How Dangerous Are Toys This Holiday Season?
According to the U. . Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toys have become safer in recent years, in large part thanks to broad enforcement efforts and tougher mandatory standards that limit lead paint and other hazards in toys.

The U. . Consumer Product Safety Commission provides some statistics on the number of toy-related fatalities and toy recalls to show the success of safety efforts. According to CPSC:s

  • Recalls of toys fell from 172 in 2008 to only 50 recalls in 2009.
  • Recalls fell further in 2010, down to just 44 toy recalls.
  • Fatalities fell to 15 toy-related deaths in 2009, down from 24 fatalities in 2007 and 2008.

While these statistics show that toy safety is moving in the right direction, there is still some cause for concern. CPSC indicates, for example, that the number of toy-related injuries necessitating a visit to the ER has increased in recent years. However, CPSC suggests that these increased ER visits don’t necessarily indicate that toys are more dangerous. Instead, they report that many of these injuries were associated with kids playing with toys but they did not actually result from any problem, danger or defect in the toy itself.

Some Toys Still Present a Risk
Despite some good news from CPSC, not every toy that you bring home comes without risk. According to Portland News 8, the Public Interest Research Group’s 27th annual Trouble in Toyland survey still identified some dangerous products on the shelves.

In conducting the Trouble in Toyland survey, researchers visited stores to examine toys and test for dangers. Some of the potential problems they found included:

  • Toys with noise levels that were too loud for too long, exceeding the 65 decibel limit for continuous noise.
  • Toys that had magnets that could be ingested too easily.
  • Toys that presented a choking risk due to their small parts and that didn’t properly warn parents of the dangers to young children.

Parents need to be aware that these and other hazards exist whenever a new toy is brought into the home. Parents should make sure toys are age appropriate and should routinely check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s Recalls and Product Safety News for updates on recalled and dangerous toy products.

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