Child Injury Risks a Threat During Maine Winter

Our injury attorneys in Bangor and Portland have posted recently about the risks of driving in Maine’s harsh winter conditions, as well as the increased risk of slip-and-fall injuries. Children face even greater risk of injuries in both scenarios. 

The Associated Press has reported a six-year-old child was hospitalized after a Garland crash being blamed at least partly on bad weather, including low visibility and slushy roads. A Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy noted such conditions can make vehicles more prone to leaving the roadway, which increases the chances of serious injuries.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety reports Maine motor vehicle collisions remain the number one cause of unintentional deaths of children under age 16. Poor driving conditions make it even more important that parents and caregivers are following Maine’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) law.  Under the law, children who weigh less than 40 pounds must ride in a child safety seat. Those under age eight who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds must be in a federally approved child restraint system. The state also reminds parents that recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urge motorists to keep children ages 8-12 in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit properly in the lap belt.

Proper fitting of a child restraint system is also critical. A list of fitting stations can be found at www.buckleupmaine.org.

Children are equally at risk in parking lots, particularly when visibility is reduced or slippery services make falls or sliding cars more of a danger. The federal government reports some 50 children a week are injured or killed after being backed over in parking lots or driveways. The vast majority of children involved in such accidents were under the age of four. Safety advocates advise always holding a child’s hand — and forming a chain if supervising more than one child — is among the best things you can do to keep a young child safe when walking in a parking lot.

These can be tragic cases that are too often associated with very serious or fatal injuries. From a standpoint of collecting damages in the wake of a backover accident or other injury claim, weather will be just one factor. These are typically very complex case, and contacting an experienced personal injury law firm should be done as soon as possible for a number of reasons.

-Insurance companies will often try to settle quickly before the full extent of the damages is known. This limits a company’s losses, and distraught parents worried about the immediate cost of hospitalization and treatment are often in a vulnerable state.

-Statements you make to any insurance company, or even law enforcement, may undermine your claim.

-Independent accident investigation is often best done as soon as possible following a serious or fatal motor vehicle collision — but this is particularly true when weather conditions may have played a part. Ice, poor visibility, and obstructions caused by large piles of plowed snow will disappear as soon as the weather improves.

-Experienced injury lawyers deal with serious traumatic injury cases every day. Not only can they work to protect your legal rights, but also they will often be aware of resources or options of which victims are unaware or that they have never even considered.

It’s February, and spring is right around the corner. With a little extra knowledge, awareness, and effort, we can all do our part to help keep our kids safer.

If your child is injured, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

BuckleUpMaine.org

More Blog Entries:

Black Ice Blamed in Numerous Maine Car Accidents Recently, Dec. 14, 2017, Bangor Car Accident Attorney Blog

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