Boston Injury Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare: getting the call that your child was injured while under the watch of caregiver.

For Shaunna Broadway of Oklahoma, she was stunned to learn that the daycare facility she sends her sons, Connor, 7, and Trae, 5, to had taken the boys to a splash park and allowed them to play outside for hours, without sunscreen.

According to CNN, Broadway had dropped her boys off at Happiness is a Learning Center last week at 9 a.m. When she arrived to pick them up, her sons were crying and writhing in pain, their skin red with severe sunburn. Staff at the daycare told the single mother that they did not have sunscreen and that the boys had refused to keep their shirts on. Broadway was advised by a local pharmacist to apply aloe to her sons’ skin—but soon found herself in the emergency room. By Sunday morning, the boys were transported to Shriners Hospital for Children with boils on their shoulders and backs and Connor complaining of chest pain. The brothers were treated for serious, second-degree burns. Son Connor’s burns had eventually reached a level of third-degree and both boys, sadly, had to have skin removed from their backs.

When suffering from a second-degree burn, a person’s outer and underlying layers of the skin’s tissue are destroyed. Second-degree burns may take up to four weeks to heal and can cause scarring. Third degree burns are worse, requiring the skin to be replaced in order to treat. (Source: CNN)

This is not the first time the daycare has had legal issues. According to CNN, Happiness is a Learning Center had been visited in the past by the department for a list of non-compliance violations. These violations include expired fire extinguishers, incorrectly placed and updated food menu, and “no one on staff with a current director’s credential.” CNN has reported that the daycare was permanently shut down per order of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

My Child Sustained an Injury at Day Care… Now What?

If your child suffered an injury at a day care center or under the supervision of a caregiver, you may be entitled to recourse.

Establishing a claim for negligence is often the most challenging part, and to file a personal injury or premises liability case you must be able to prove that your child’s daycare facility had a duty of care, breached that duty of care and thus caused injury to your child.

Due care means the extent of which a daycare facility or caregiver would reasonably be expected to exercise in order to prevent a foreseeable injury. Often this is determined based on how the circumstances that led to your child’s injury compare to how normal day care centers should be operated. Two main factors should be considered when determining this:

  1. The cause of the injury or how the injury occurred
    For example: Was your child injured because he/she was inadequately supervised?
  2. The nature of the injury and whether it was foreseeable

When your child is injured at his/her daycare facility, your child should first and foremost complete medical treatment for those injuries. Once treatment is complete and your child is released from the doctor’s care, it is important to obtain any associated medical bills or reports.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, LLP, our team of attorneys has handled all types of personal injury cases, from negligence to premises liability. If your child was seriously injured at his/her daycare, you may be entitled to collect compensation for those injuries. Call our office today to schedule a case evaluation to see if you qualify. All initial consultations are completely free and confidential.

 

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Summer in Boston can often be a  time to leave your windows open and let the breeze roll in, an action of relief from the stifling heat. What most people fail to realize though is that these open windows may pose an enormous safety hazard for any young children present in the home—particularly if your windows are open on a high floor. During the past few weeks there have been numerous incidents where young children have fallen through open windows and suffered serious injuries; serious injuries that some may even die from if they fall a great distance.

Early Friday morning a 2 year old girl from Boston fell out of the window of her 2nd floor apartment located on 134 Hampton Street, and landed on the patio below. Initial reports indicate that the distance the young girl fell was between 12 feet and 15 feet. Thankfully, she did not suffer any serious injuries from the fall. She was transported to Boston Medical Center following the incident and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. The girl’s mother indicated that she believes the girl pushed aside cardboard that had been propped against the window, which is what opened the area up for her to fall through.

This occurrence is not uncommon. Children playing near windows or leaning against them will often push too hard against the screen, causing it to dislodge. This can happen fairly easily and quickly, which leaves children in a vulnerable position and prone to falling straight through the opening. Parents are encouraged to check the security and stability of the screen windows in their homes and to monitor children that may be playing near the window in order to prevent any injuries from occurring. Continue reading

Whirlpool has recalled more than 40,000 of its Jenn-Air brand ovens over concerns that a faulty design might cause burns to consumers.

According to the Associated Press and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the extendable rack inside the ovens has the potential of falling out. Thus far, the company has received eight reports of injuries, including one serious incident where a person suffered a second-degree burn to the back and arm.

The recall includes Jenn-Air single and double wall ovens that were sold at stores like Sears, Pacific Sales, and others and cost between $2,500 and $5,000. The Associated Press reported that about 33,000 were sold in the United States; 8,000 were sold in Canada. Whirlpool said consumers should discontinue using the extendable rack and contact the company about a free inspection and repair.

Products Liability Claims

Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for consumers to use and free of defects or hazards that could potentially cause harm or injury. When a person is injured as the result of a defective product, the company bears the responsibility of compensating the victim for his or her injury.

In this case with Whirlpool, there have luckily, been no severe injuries reported. These types of cases are unfortunately common. Products with a design defect may be manufactured and marketed just as they were intended, but they were ultimately designed improperly and cause harm to consumers. In most instances, the manufacturer of the product could have used a safer design that may have helped avoid foreseeable risks. A design defect will be found in every product that was produced according to the design, and the defect is actually present prior to the manufacturing process. Regardless of whether a company intentionally produced an unsafe product or not, it is liable for any injuries that may result.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of experienced products liability attorneys has nearly 50 years of experience handling all types of personal injury cases as well as products liability lawsuits. We have gone up against a number of large corporations to fight on our clients’ behalf and have a track record of successfully achieving high settlements and getting clients the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one was recently injured as the result of a malfunctioning product, do not hesitate to contact one of our esteemed attorneys today. Our lawyers are available around the clock to assist you with any questions you may have and all consultations are completely free and confidential.

 

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A rape survivor is speaking out against the hotel owners and garage owners she feels are partly responsible for the attack she suffered in a Radisson hotel parking garage over six years ago. Kira Wahlstrom, a survivor and a mother, spoke to reporter Karen Anderson from Channel 5 News as well as a Suffolk Superior Court jury about the brutal rape. Kira Wahlstrom is angry about what happened to her, and her anger is only fueled further by the fact that another woman was raped by the same man in the same parking garage just 12 days before her own attack took place.

Kira Wahlstrom has said that she believes former hotel owners and owners of the garage should have provided information about the rape of one of the hotel’s employees to people who had access to both the hotel and the parking garage. Wahlstrom feels as though her rape could have prevented if she were provided with the knowledge of the hotel employee’s rape in advance. She has said in an interview that “The woman that worked there was raped 12 days before by the same man and they didn’t do anything not only to not protect me that was a paying customer but their own employee.”

She went on to say that she feels as though the management company for the parking garage should have also provided additional security to those accessing the area in order to prevent any further attacks from taking place. She recalled the exact events that led up to her traumatizing rape, and has stated to a jury that she still thinks about what happened to her every single day. Continue reading

If you are injured by someone whose intoxication is a result of being over-served at a bar, restaurant, or nightclub, you can hold the establishment civilly liable in the state of Massachusetts. This is known as a “dram shop claim,” and it can also apply to social hosts who serve alcohol at a party or other event.

Massachusetts prohibits all alcohol vendors from selling or serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Doing so can make the vendor liable for negligence. However, the injured person must show that the vendor continued serving alcohol to the visibly intoxicated individual. For example, if the person sitting next to you is still ordering drinks even though his speech is slurred, you can file a personal injury claim if you’re injured when he falls from his barstool and knocks you over. You can also file a dram shop claim against the bar.

Social Hosts

Bar owners and servers are supposed to be professionally trained to detect when a patron is visibly intoxicated. But what about social hosts? If you are injured when an intoxicated guest leaves your neighbor’s birthday party, can you hold your neighbor liable? The short answer is “no.” With very few exceptions, the only way a social host can be held liable for serving alcohol is if he or she serves minors under the age of 21.

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A horrible escalator accident in Jingzhou, China, a province in Hubei that has approximately 5 million citizens, has left a young woman dead as she put herself in the way of danger in order to save the life of her son. 31-year-old Xiang Liujuan was at the AZG Mall in Jingzhou enjoying a Sunday shopping trip with her son when they unknowingly stepped onto an escalator that had a panel loose at the top landing strip. The loose panel had been discovered just a few minutes earlier by mall employees—but none of them warned customers of the safety issue. No one was contacted in order to fix the problem, and the employees did not place a safety barrier around the escalator to prohibit anyone from stepping onto it. These simple steps could have prevented a young child from losing his mother so early on in life.

Officials in Jingzhou that are investigating the matter have stated that they believe human error is to blame for this terrible accident taking place. Video surveillance of the tragedy has been released and clearly depicts how Xiang Liujuan had little to no time to react to what was happening. Xiang Liujuan is shown lifting her son up once they reach the top of the escalator in order to allow him to exit the mechanism safely. As she goes to lift him up however, the loose panel collapses underneath her. Xiang then falls into the opening gap, but somehow manages to keep her upper body above the structure—just long enough for her to push her son into the arms of mall employees who witnessed the accident unfolding and ran over to help. The boy is whisked away to safety by an employee while two others work toward pulling Xiang Liujuan from falling completely into the escalator. Their efforts were sadly unsuccessful however, when after just a few seconds Xiang falls into the hole that opened up beneath her feet. Continue reading

A North Carolina man was charged with the death of a woman from Hudson after an accident that took place in May. Following his hearing in Central District Court on Monday however, he was released on personal recognizance. 62 year old Gary Shray from Oriental, North Carolina has described the occurrence that claimed 24 year old Sarah Ewing’s life as a “freak accident”.

The accident took place on May 14th of this year in Worcester’s Kelley Square. Gary Shray, a truck driver, was operating an 18 wheeler vehicle for Ocean Star Transportation (based out of East Hartford, Connecticut) when he pulled over onto the side of Millbury Street in order to let a firetruck pass by him. Once the firetruck had passed him, Shray had attempted to take a right turn onto the Interstate 290 ramp when his vehicle hit the curb and proceeded to knock over a stop sign and a street lamp. Sarah Ewing and a 25 year old male identified as Joseph Meszaro of Oxford, who was a friend of Ms. Ewing, jumped forward in order to avoid being struck by the falling street lamp. It was at this time that Sarah Ewing became wedged in the wheels of Gary Shray’s 18 wheeler truck.  She would later succumb to her injuries, but the extent and severity of these injuries has not been disclosed. Her friend, Joseph Meszaro, suffered injuries to his feet and is still currently in recovery from these wounds.

Gary Shray tested negative for alcohol and drugs upon investigation into the matter. He maintains that it really was an accident, and he expressed remorse and grief about what has happened. “You know, I am truly sorry.” He did not provide any further comments regarding the accident and later requested a court-appointed lawyer for his hearing at Central District Court this past Monday. Continue reading

Law enforcement officials in Chattanooga, Tennessee believe they are on their way to developing a system to determine whether or not motor vehicle drivers are maintaining a safe distance from the bicyclists they share the road with. And while there are still a few key factors that need to be worked out in order to provide this security on a massive scale, police officers in Chattanooga think they are on the right track.

Safe passing laws are in effect in most states across the country, but bicycle safety activists feel that even though these laws are in place, they aren’t necessarily enforced to a degree that ensures safety or accurately reprimands the dangerous drivers who violate these laws. Police officers have indicated that it becomes difficult for them to precisely determine who is guilty of this encroachment. Officers who ride their bikes on the job have said that while yes, they are able to understand when a motor vehicle is riding too closely to them, that they aren’t swift enough to track down the culprit and pull them over when on their bicycles. Police will then have to provide an additional motor vehicle to accompany the bicyclist cop on their route in order to appropriately apprehend an individual that has committed this passing law violation. Since 2007, Chattanooga law enforcement officers have said that they had not even enforced this law until recently, when Chief of Police in Chattanooga, Fred Fletcher, decided that something concrete needed to be done.

Chief Fletcher had previously worked in Austin, Texas as a liaison to the bicycle community that thrives there. He said that based off of this experience, he was able to acquire knowledge and understanding of how to best protect cyclists who take to the streets every single day. The police officers of Austin, Texas are specifically trained to identify the appropriate amount of length that should be maintained at all times between motor vehicles and their bicycle counterparts. This designated length of 36 inches can be hard to observe at an exact figure, but Chief Fletcher says that officers can use their common sense to distinguish between what looks about 36 inches and what looks much closer than that. He has said that if an officer on a bike can reach out and touch the car in question—they’re driving too close. Continue reading

The popular furniture design company IKEA is issuing a safety alert to all customers who have purchased their MALM chests and dressers when they subsequently discovered that these items are extremely susceptible to tipping over if they are not properly anchored. Recently, there have been two separate incidents in which the items in question have fallen over onto children and killed them from the impact. Reports show that in February of 2014 a 2 year old child from Pennsylvania became pinned between a MALM 6 drawer chest and his bed when the item fell over on top of him. Another incident occurred in June of 2014, this time involving a 23 month old child from Washington in which a MALM 3 drawer chest tipped over. Both of these deaths could have been prevented if the items were properly secured—a fact that until now had not been made abundantly obvious to customers. This type of manufacturing negligence and defective product design can have fatal consequences. If you have been a victim of the IKEA call a Massachusetts injury attorney to fully understand what rights you may have.

Approximately seven million MALM chests and twenty million additional IKEA chests and dressers are going to be included in a repair program that is taking place nationwide, according to a statement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued on Wednesday. IKEA is urging their customers to immediately discontinue use of any children’s 23.5 inch tall dressers or chests as well as any adult dressers or chests that are over 29.5 inches tall if these items are not secured to a wall or sound structure. Continue reading

Do you have a carbon monoxide monitor in your home? What about your vacation home? In the wake of a carbon monoxide related accident that has left four young people dead—it might be something you need to consider more seriously.

Four young residents of Massachusetts were staying at a family vacation home in Byron, Maine at the Coos Canyon Campground when they were discovered to be unresponsive on Friday night, July 17th. According to preliminary reports by investigators who arrived on scene, the residents visiting the cabin plugged a refrigerator into a backup generator located in the basement of the home and sometime after that, they all went to sleep. This occurred on Tuesday night—and it is presumed that the four victims passed away sometime during that night due to the poisonous, undetectable gas that escaped from the generator. Police responding to the call said that they could not immediately find a carbon monoxide detector anywhere inside of the cabin. They went on to say that if there had been a monitor located anywhere inside the home, it very likely would have saved their lives.

The four victims have been identified as 21 year old Brooke Wakelin from Attleboro, Massachusetts and her boyfriend, 23 year old Keith Norris also from Attleboro, Massachusetts. As well as 18 year old Matthew Wakelin, brother of victim Brooke Wakelin, and his 22 year old friend Deanna Lee Powers, both of whom are from Mansfield, Massachusetts. The father of Brooke and Matthew Wakelin, whose family owns the cabin, made the heartbreaking discovery on Friday when he made the trip up to Maine to find out why he had not heard from his kids since their arrival on Tuesday. Upon entering the residence, Mr. Wakelin discovered the bodies of his daughter Brooke and her boyfriend Keith in an upstairs bedroom, as well as the body of their pet beagle as well. He searched the downstairs bedrooms of the residence and further discovered the bodies of his son Matthew and his friend Deanna in separate rooms. Since the cabin did not have any electricity (which is what led the four victims to use the backup generator in the first place) Mr. Wakelin jumped onto a four-wheeler vehicle and drove immediately to a nearby cabin where he telephoned local police. Continue reading