Child Injury from School Bus Accidents
A recent survey found that there are approximately 23 million children who travel in school buses during the school year. Of those 23 million children, nearly 17,000 are injured every day in school bus accidents. Although they transport our children and travel on all types of roads, from rural country roads to interstate highways, school buses are not required to have seatbelts, airbags, or other safety systems that are now routinely found in automobiles. While the overall sdesign has improved over the years, children still remain very vulnerable in a school bus accident. The theory is that buses are large trucks, and passengers are placed high above the road. In the event of an impact, the offending car will strike at a lower level than the children. Also, by painting them bright yellow and installing lots of flashing red lights and even strobes on the back, the hope is other drivers on the road will see the school bus and take heed. Of course, the best plans can always be defeated by an inattentive car driver or overly fatigued school bus driver. And who pays the highest price in a school bus accident? Our children do.
Child injury attorney Robert J Reeves has personally handled serious school bus accident cases. A few years ago, a Charlotte school bus overturned on the interstate. Because the children were not restrained in seat belts, many were injured when they were tossed in the air while the school bus was rolling over. Fortunately, most of the kids were fine with just a few bruises. However, our client who was initially cleared by the emergency room had to be rushed back later that night for emergency brain surgery from an undiagnosed serious head injury. When he became lethargic and starting vomiting, his parents knew something was wrong and took immediate actions that ultimately saved their child’s life. The lesson to be learned here is that in any accident, but especially in unrestrained school bus accidents, you have to make sure your child is medically fine. If there is even a hint of a head impact, an MRI or CT scan should be actively pursued. Broken bones are easy to spot, but head injuries may not be evident in the initial period after an accident. After you are certain your child is going to be alright, you should then contact an experienced child injury attorney to see what legal options are available. You’ll feel better knowing you have done everything to protect your child when others do not.
Child Accidents at Summer Camp
As children, we all enjoyed going off to summer camps. We would make new friends and learn new things. Parents would enjoy a little time away from the kids and trust that all will be well for a few days or a week. Camp programs today are fairly expensive, and you expect your children to be well cared for. However, there are still so many ways for small kids to get hurt if not properly supervised or if the camp equipment is not well maintained. This is where a moment of inattention or neglect can result in a serious child injury or even worse. Playgrounds must be set up correctly when first installed and then regularly inspected for wear and loose parts. Mulch underneath swings or other areas where children will be playing must be replenished and spread evenly to prevent injury from expected falls. To be safe, the camp employees must be on constant watch for unsafe conditions or dangerous play. If they do not do their job properly, child injury can occur. Camp counselors and their assistants must also know basic first aid and how to properly care for and treat injuries. And, if they see something getting out of hand, they must act quickly to prevent harm. Certainly, we want everyone to have a great summer and have those childhood experiences that will last a lifetime. But above all, we want everyone to be careful and head back home safe and sound to their parents and friends. Don’t take safety for granted. It is up to everyone to stay aware and watch out for each other.
Children Are Treated Differently
The law says children are more vulnerable, and thus, are treated differently than adults. A young child cannot be contributorily negligent (NC) or comparatively negligent (SC). Consequently, their injuries can still be compensable even if they engage in activities that might be considered unsafe. After all, “kids will be kids.” This is not an excuse, but rather, a warning to those persons charged with their care. This is precisely why we have to watch out for their safety more than others, because “kids will be kids.” If a camp is willing to take your money, they should be held accountable if they don’t also take care of your children.
Waivers of Liability
One last thing about summer camps. Private companies who operate camps routinely present parents with extensive “waivers of liability” forms which purport to hold themselves harmless from lawsuits if their children are injured while away. In many cases, these forms are not worth the paper they are written on. Such waivers cannot absolve liability where equipment is not maintained, where there are insufficient or insufficiently trained staff, or activities are too dangerous to involve children in the first place. And as we discussed above, children cannot legally enter into such contracts and are not held to the same legal standard in negligence claims for child injury cases. I would caution parents about sending their children to such camps if presented with such a waiver. All we really want is for the camp to take care of our kids and focus on having a great summer.
Be Safe. Get Home.
Child Injury from Automobile Accidents
Children, especially todlers, are the most vulnerable to serious injury and wrongful death from car crashes. Even if placed in size and age appropriate car seats, auto accidents are still a primary cause of child injury. One reason is that they never see an accident coming. Adult drivers and passengers often know in advance and can brace themselves for impact. Children do not and are unaware until the impact is already occuring. Side impacts are especially destructive as their heads are jerked violently to the side causing substantial neck injury. The defense in preventing serious child injury from crashes is to make certain they are always placed in appropriately sized car safety seats and that these seats are properly secured inside the vehicle. As your child grows, the technology of safety seats can be defeated or negated if not the proper height and weight limit is exceeded. If you plan to have more children, save the seat for them. If not, you should consider donating the seat to others so that their children can be better protected. Everyone wants their child to be safe and guarded from harm. Another safety measure that can be taken is to position your child in the backseat and center of the vehicle. They will be better secured from frontal impacts as well as side crashes. Also, rear end collisions can be better absorbed as the child will be effectively centered in the car.
Because children are so fragile and susceptible to injury, you should have your child examined by medical staff after any type of car accident, even if it seems relatively minor and you feel alright. For the reasona we reviewed above, children can be injured more easily than adults, and they may not be able to effectively communicate where or even how much they hurt. Crying can be confused as just being a baby or any number of other reasons. However, it could be from an undiagnosed injury. And, of course, head injury in children is also a major concern as symptoms may be missed and leave your child untreated until it is too late. It is better to be overly concerned and protective than to find out later about something serious. CT scans or an MRI can rule out head trauma. You should also watch for changes in sleep patterns or strange changes in mood or cognitive ability. Because children are so vulnerable, you as the parent need to be hyper vigilant to rule out any latent injury that may be missed or even ignored by others.
Some states will allow immunity between husband and wife, parent and child, or any other type of familial relationship when it comes to domestic relations.
However, accordingly, South Carolina will give NO familial immunity to any crimes against the person or against their property. In other words, just because your family member committed the crime against you or your property, does not mean that you can not bring a case against them. Take for example, a case where there has been domestic abuse by one spouse against another. Not only can the state press charges, but through state law, the victim is also allow to sue for civil battery is he/she so chooses.
For crimes against the person- there is no family immunity-
There are no general principals of immunity that would apply in criminal prosecutions of parents and spouses for crimes against any other family members. Under old common law, a man could not be prosecuted for raping his wife, as they have engaged in intercourse previously. This is no longer the rule in South Carolina, any most states. The rule is now that there is no “marital exception,” that still applies, and a man can be charged by wither his wife or the state for domestic abuse in the form of any type of violence, including rape.
Moreover, South Carolina has a specific statute that deals with this “spousal sex battery,” as it is referred to it in the South Carolina Code. According to SC 16-3-615., “ it is required that there is a physical manifestation of force or violence needed to overcome the victim. This offense is exempted from rape shield statute. This means that South Carolina goes one step further, and adds an additional element, requiring that there be mens rea( the requisite mental state) to actually force your wife. The purpose of this statute is to prevent rambunctious husbands and wives from later claiming rape if they had been rough in the past.
For crimes against property- there is no family immunity-
Again, there is general principle of immunity that applies to criminal prosecutions for parents and spouses for crimes against property of family members. For example, if there were a case where an estranged husband broke into his estranged wife’s home that he no longer lived in, and burglarized it, he would and could be prosecuted by the state for such a crime, with no immunity protection whatsoever.
Domestic Relations in South Carolina can be tricky and complicated. If you have been charged with a domestic relation crime, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP. Mrs. Bea Hightower has been a child’s advocate for over 20 years, as well as a guardian ad litem. If there is domestic abuse in your South Carolina home, contact us toll-free at 77-374-5999 for more information.
A Chester mother is escaping charges against her for accidentally running over her 1-year-old daughter Wednesday afternoon.
According to the police reports, the 23-year-old mother was at home, working on her 1999 Dodge Durango at the time of incident. She reportedly had the hood up, and was attempting to drive the vehicle from one side of her house to the other.
She stated she was trying to maneuver the car to where a garden hose could reach the hood to clean out the grease and debris.
While driving, the mother left the hood up, blocking her line of sight, and continued to drive until she heard the neighbors screaming loading. It was at that point that she realized that she was backing over her 1-year-old daughter and immediately stopped her vehicle.
The little girl was rushed to Chester Hosptial, the closest hospital in the vicinity, where she suffered minor injuries. Specifically, he right arm was broken and there were some minor scrapes and burns to her stomach and chest.
From Chester Hospital, the girl was later flown via helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center for further treatment.
As of this point, the mother is not being charged with any crime due to the accidental nature of the incident, and the non-life threatening injuries the daughter suffered.
If you, or someone you know has suffered any serious car or personal injuries, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information.
A family wants the world to see the last words their son was about to send while he was texting a driving on that grim night that he crashed his vehicle and lost his life.
Apparently, the victim was a young and vibrant student on the University of Northern Colorado who loved to snowboard and hike, while still managing to maintain a high G.P.A.
He had a clean driving record- not even one speeding ticket to his name. He was killed in a single-car rollover accident earlier this month. Amongst the wreckage and the victim’s belongings, the police found the victim’s cell phone, in which it appears he was in the process of texting at the time of the tragedy.
The text message read as follows: “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw.” It is obvious that the victim was unable to finish he thought before the accident occurred.
Witnesses have provided a little more detail to the incident and report that the victim appeared to be drifting into oncoming traffic with his head int he downward position, when he suddenly looked up, jerked the steering wheel and over corrected. His car ended up leaving the roadway and doing a complete flip before ending up head down.
The victim’s mother has decided to be extremely proactive in educating others on the dangers of texting and driving. She wants her son’s death to not be in vain, but rather to hopefully save the lives of others who continue to text and drive.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more then 9 people that are killed every day in crashes by distracted drivers. Not to mention, there are around 1,060 people injured a day by distracted drivers.
There are 39 states that have taken the initiative to outlaw texting while driving. Whether you live in those states or not, please think about the distraction and choose to put the phone down. Studies reveal that traffic accident rates for people ages 16 to 22-years-old are the highest out of any other age group of drivers.
It’s clear that youths, through no fault of their own, are the least experienced on the road. That’s why it’s important that parents and mentors take the time to warn youths of the dangers of risky driving and the importance of practicing safe driving techniques. If your teen has been involved in a serious accident, you need an accomplished and trusted attorney on your side. Call the law officers of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP at our SC office at 803-548-4444, our NC office at 704-499-9000 or toll-free at 877-374-5999.