Every hour in the U.S., a child dies from an injury. Nearly 1,000 more are injured – 25 seriously enough to require hospitalization.
Despite these sobering statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports unintentional injuries among children and teens are preventable. Still, more than 9,000 die each year.
Massachusetts child injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have worked tirelessly for the rights of injured children and their families. We know the heartache and recognize no amount of compensation is going to provide solace from the loss of a child. We have been by the sides of mothers, fathers, grandparents and guardians as they work through unimaginable challenges and deep grief to hold accountable those responsible for a child’s injury or death.
Filing a wrongful death or personal injury case in these circumstances is often fraught with legal pitfalls, and it’s imperative to have an experienced child injury law firm at your side.
Among the most common causes of child injury in Massachusetts:
- Car crashes
- Drowning/ swimming pool accidents
- Burn injuries
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- School bus accidents
- Bites and stings
- Handgun or firearm accidents
- Playground accidents
- Sports injuries
- Birth injuries
- School, church or daycare injuries or abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Lead paint exposure
- Defective products
- Firework injuries
- Elevator and escalator accidents
The good news is the number of children who died as a result of injury has fallen by a third over the last 10 years. However, injury remains the No. 1 cause of death among children, with 1 in 5 deaths attributed to some form of unintentional injury. Among the 10 countries with the highest income, the U.S. ranks among the worst in terms of child injury death rate of those 14 and under, just ahead of Mexico and New Zealand.
The emotional toll of these cases is wrenching for families, and it’s also often very expensive. The National Health Interview Survey revealed that annually in the U.S., injuries that result in an E.R. visit, hospitalization or death cost nearly $11.5 billion in medical expenses.
Our Boston injury lawyers have access to the resources necessary to aggressively investigate and pursue your claim. This includes access to experts in the field of medicine, law, investigation and insurance. Our winning team has time and again built compelling cases and secured monetary damages necessary to ensure coverage of medical expenses, long-term care costs and for pain and suffering.
In many cases, there may be more than one liable party, so it’s important for your attorney to conduct a thorough investigation.Preventing Top Sources of Child Injury
The CDC identified top causes of child injury in the U.S.: Motor vehicle accidents, suffocation, falls, drowning, fire/burn and poisoning.
In each of these cases, injury is preventable.
- Motor vehicle accidents. It’s estimated 4,560 children die in auto accidents every year. Other drivers owe a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely. When they fail, the law says they (or their insurer or employer) must be held accountable. In some cases, the owner of the vehicle, if different from the driver, may also be responsible. While parents and caregivers can’t avoid every crash, they can improve a child’s chance of survival or minimize injury by using the appropriate seat belt or restraint system. Teens should be counseled on safe driving habits and regularly monitored.
- Suffocation. There are an annual 1,160 child deaths attributed to suffocation, with most of those being infants. Parents and caregivers should be sure infants sleep alone, on their backs on a firm surface. Cribs should meet safety standards and loose bedding and soft toys should be taken out of the crib.
- Drowning. Nearly 1,000 children die annually by drowning. Most of those are under the age of 5. Both parents and kids should learn how to swim. Pools should be properly fenced and guarded, and children should be supervised around the water at all times.
- Poisoning. The CDC reports nearly 825 deaths due to consumption or inhalation of toxic products. All medicine, cleaning solutions and other dangerous substances must be kept in original packaging and out-of-reach of children.
- Fire/burns. There are nearly 400 child deaths each year caused by burns. Caregivers should always test water temperatures before bath time, avoid placing hot liquids within reach of children and install smoke alarms in each bedroom and at every level of the home.
- Falls. This often occurs on playgrounds and while playing sports, but can sometimes happen with defective child carriers or other products. Make sure all recall notices are heeded and appropriate protective gear is worn during all sports. Protective rails should be placed on all bunk beds, and playgrounds should be covered in soft landing surfaces like wood chips or sand.
In civil liability cases, defendants may assert defenses such as “assumption of risk” or “open and obvious danger” or “trespassing.” In general, the idea behind these legal theories is that people must take care to protect themselves and their own well-being.
This means not entering a swimming pool if you can’t swim or refraining from approaching a strange dog or staying off other people’s property. But children, it’s often presumed, don’t assume such responsbilities. So adults must take reasonable care to protect them.
A good example of this is the legal doctrine of “attractive nuisance,” which often arises in premises liability claims. Property owners are required to keep their property in reasonably safe condition for lawful guests. However, if an adult trespasses on their property and is hurt, the owner likely won’t be liable unless injuries were intentionally inflicted. But, if the trespasser is a child, the circumstances may be different if there was something on the property that attracted the children there and the owner knew or should have known about it. M.G.L. c.231, s. 85Q sets forth property owner responsibilities under the attractive nuisance doctrine. Examples of attractive nuisances on property include:
- Swimming pools
- Machinery (gas pumps, lawnmowers, etc.)
- Dangerous animals
- Wells and tunnels
- Paths and stairs
This does not mean child injury cases are easier to win, only that courts recognize the inherent duty adults owe to protect children, and the fact a child’s judgment in risk avoidance cannot be equally compared with that of an adult.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL