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Articles Posted in Children’s Injuries

A birth injury is different from a birth defect. Birth injuries typically occur during the labor and delivery process and are often due to a medical mistake. Birth defects usually develop during pregnancy, beginning in utero. When a child suffers a preventable birth injury, the emotional and financial toll can be devastating for the family. Some birth injuries are minor and heal on their own with time. However, more serious birth injuries can cause permanent mental, physical and emotional damage.

A Boston birth injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if your child has suffered due to medical negligence. Birth injuries can be minor or severe, and they may or may not be caused by medical negligence. The most commonly-cited birth injuries include:

Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)

When the bundle of nerves originating from the upper spine are damaged during labor and delivery, the child may suffer a BPI. This injury can be temporary or permanent. A neuroma is one type of BPI in which a torn nerve fails to heal properly. Avulsion – the most serious type of BPI – occurs when the nerves are completely torn from the spine, resulting in total paralysis.

Bone Fractures

One of the most common birth injuries, bone fractures usually heal on their own. Bone fractures can be caused by medical negligence, but often they are the result of a difficult or complicated delivery. The most commonly-fractured bone in a newborn is the clavicle (collar bone), which may need to be broken if the infant’s shoulders are too wide to safely fit through the birth canal.

Perinatal Asphyxia

When a newborn doesn’t receive enough oxygen during the delivery process, he may suffer from perinatal asphyxia. Depending on the severity and length of oxygen deprivation, the child may be perfectly fine or he could have permanent damage to the brain.

Cerebral Ischemia

A newborn can suffer severe brain damage when there is a reduction in blood flow during labor and delivery. Cerebral ischemia may be caused by infection, shoulder dystocia, and overmedication of the mother.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are generally severe and often result in permanent damage. The use of forceps is frequently a factor in cases involving spinal cord injuries in newborns. In addition to complete paralysis, spinal cord injuries can often cause neurologic problems. A MA birth injury lawyer can help you recover damages if your child has been injured during the labor and delivery process.

Cephalohematoma

A condition that generally occurs during the labor and delivery process, cephalohematoma is often linked to the use of forceps. Pooling of blood between the skull bone and inner layers of skin may result in a hematoma, which typically looks much worse than it is. In most cases, this condition is harmless and will heal on its own. However, if your child exhibits additional symptoms, such as anemia, jaundice, infection or unnatural bulging on the head, you should consult with your doctor immediately. Continue reading

Weeks after three-year old Myles Hill’s body was found in the back of a daycare van in Orlando, another child’s death is blamed on being left in a hot vehicle while under daycare supervision. Last week in Alabama, the body of five-year-old Kamden Johnson was found in a van belonging to the Community Nursery & Preschool.

The child’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the daycare and its owners, Carl and Angela Coker, claiming that they were negligent in screening and hiring Valarie Rena Patterson, the employee responsible for leaving Johnson in the van on a 93-degree day. According to the lawsuit, Patterson has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1991.

In addition to the civil lawsuit, Patterson is facing manslaughter charges for her role in Johnson’s death. After finding the child’s body in the hot van, Patterson dumped him “on the side of Demotroplis Road,” according to court documents. Along with manslaughter charges, Patterson is also facing charges for abuse of a corpse.

Unfortunately, daycare negligence is surprisingly common. This summer alone, at least three children have died after being left in hot daycare vans. In addition to the two cases above, the body of a five-year old Arkansas boy was discovered in a similar scenario in June. And these are just the worst of the worst. Non-fatal daycare injuries occur due to negligence every day. A MA daycare negligence lawyer can help you recover damages if your child has been injured due to another’s negligence.

The Importance of Background Checks

A simple background check may have protected the daycare and its owners, at least to some extent. It would have almost certainly saved the life of five-year old Kamden Johnson. According to law enforcement, Mobile County jail records reveal Patterson’s extensive arrest history, including multiple theft charges and charges for failure to appear in court and driving without a license in the early 90s. She was also charged as a fugitive from justice in 1999 and for using the alias of Valarie Hardy during that arrest. Patterson was arrested a third time in 2007 on another fugitive from justice charge. A Boston wrongful death attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence.

Possible Signs of Daycare Negligence

Although the below signs can be due to factors other than negligence, you may want to investigate further if one or more of these signs is present, or if they persist. Common signs of daycare negligence include:

  • Unexplained scratches, wounds, or bruises
  • A child who appears withdrawn or depressed
  • A chid who is extremely hungry or thirsty when picked up from daycare
  • Frequent altercations or fights with other children at the facility
  • A child who is found outside of the facility

If you are concerned about daycare negligence, do your homework. Talk to the daycare about its hiring and screening procedures. Pay attention to your child’s mood at drop off and pick up. Assess whether staff appear happy and seem to enjoy their job. Drop in unannounced. And lastly, if something just doesn’t feel right, remove your child from the center. When it comes to our children, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading

Choosing the right daycare facility is one of the most important decisions we make when our kids are young. Although we all want our kids to have the best possible start at life, there is more to consider than whether the facility serves organic food, teaches your toddler French, and provides lessons on impressionist art. Safety should be the most important factor to consider when choosing a daycare facility for your little one. Unfortunately, daycare negligence, and even abuse, do occur. Read on for more information about how to ensure that your child is safe and well cared for when you head to work each day.

Observe Staff

Pay attention to how daycare staff interact with the other children. Before enrolling your child in a specific daycare program, take a tour of the center. A tour doesn’t have to be limited to a five-minute walk through; you can spend several hours there if you so choose. You should observe the staff playing with the children, smiling, holding young children and babies, and engaging all children with loving interactions. There should be appropriate staff-to-children ratios to ensure that your child will get the one-on-one attention that he deserves. If staff seem stressed, overworked, or annoyed with the children, this could indicate a problem.

Staff Commitment

Ask about staffing turnover. Have most of the employees been at the facility for at least one year? Young children need stability, and this is best achieved by choosing a school with committed, long-term staff. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if your child has been neglected at a daycare facility.

Credentials and Licenses

Check the facilities accreditations and licensing. In MA, daycare centers cannot practice without a state license. In addition, they should have insurance and a business license. These are the bare minimums. Special accreditations and credentials indicate a commitment to providing high-quality daycare.

The Surprise Visit

Drop in unannounced. Most people schedule an appointment to visit a daycare facility. Although daycare staff may appreciate being given notice, unannounced visits are your best bet at witnessing actual day-to-day operations. Dropping by unannounced means that things may be a bit more chaotic than during a scheduled visit; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What you want to look for is general cleanliness, how staff is interacting with children, and if the environment appears safe and free from obvious hazards.

Special Care Policies

Ask staff about special care policies, such as how or if they discipline children, and how naps and special diets are handled. A good daycare facility will have policies for special situations and needs. If they don’t, you may want to keep looking. A Boston daycare negligence and abuse attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you suspect your child is being harmed at a daycare facility. Continue reading

Multiple recent studies have revealed that head injuries in young children – particularly traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – can affect IQ, cognitive function, and even behavior for an extended period. Study results also showed, however, that recovery can continue for years. Several factors have a significant impact on recovery, including the child’s home environment and the presence or absence of certain genes.

Each of three studies (two conducted in Australia, and one in the U.S.) concluded that a loving, stable home environment has an immensely positive impact on a child’s recovery after a TBI. One in 30 children will experience a TBI by the age of 16. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs often occur when a child suffers a bump or blow to the head. As such, young children have the greatest risk of a TBI, and approximately one-third of children who suffer a TBI will have permanent or long-lasting damage. A MA injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve suffered a brain injury due to another’s negligence.

“Many people think that the soft skull of a baby may give them some advantage because if they fall they are not likely to sustain a skull fracture. Also, because a baby’s brain is growing so quickly, it seems like the brain may be able to fix an injury. In reality, the soft skull and growing brain of a baby put them at a greater risk of future problems,” said Louise Crowe, an author of one of the studies and a postdoctoral research officer at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

“Children with significant head injuries do recover, but they are generally slower to learn concepts, and some high-level skills are often too difficult for them,” said Crowe.

Therapy May Still be Effective Years Later

However, until now, few studies have tracked long-term effects of brain injuries in children. According to Vicki Anderson, a professor in critical care and neuroscience research at the Murdoch Institute, therapy and intervention may still be effective years after the initial injury.

“Although this does not suggest that children catch up to peers, it does imply that the gap does not widen during this period,” said Anderson.

Further, home environment has a significant impact on a child’s recovery. The more stable the home, the better the chance of full recovery. “It’s difficult to predict outcome,” Anderson said. “A quality home environment and access to appropriate rehabilitation is critical to maximize outcomes. Or, the young brain is plastic, and so the better the environment, the better the outcome.” A Boston TBI lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Meanwhile in the United States, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital conducted a study on long-term TBI effects for an average of seven years from initial injury. Individuals with mild to moderate TBIs were twice as likely to develop attention disorders, compared to five times more likely for those with severe TBIs. This study also emphasized the importance of home environment. Children with moderate injuries from poor home environments demonstrated worse outcomes than children with severe injuries who live in stable, loving homes. Although the reason for these outcomes is still unknown, it may have to do with early family response, which seems critical to the overall outcome of the child’s long-term prognosis.

More than 630,000 children visit the E.R. for TBIs annually in the U.S. Predictors of recovery, however, remain unclear. These studies provide greater insight into this grey area; particularly when it comes to the roles of environment and specific genes. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is currently working on ways to identify the genes essential to TBI recovery, and how environmental factors may interact with these genes. To do so, they are collecting DNA samples from hundreds of children who have suffered a TBI. Continue reading

The leading cause of death for young children is motor vehicle crashes. For this reason, the use of child safety seats is crucial to the safety of your child. However, an improperly installed or defective safety seat can be even more dangerous than using no seat at all because it provides parents with a false sense of security. To reduce the risk of serious injury or death to a small child, thoroughly review seat features and customer ratings prior to purchase, have your installation of the seat base professionally checked, and regularly monitor for recalls or product safety reports to determine if your seat has a potential defect.

Earlier this month Graco, the leading manufacturer of safety and convenience products for children, recalled more than 25,000 child safety seats due to a concern that an important feature of the seat may break in a crash. Webbing on the harness that restrains children in a collision is the culprit. Shockingly, despite the harness being one of the most important components of a child safety seat, Graco claims that it’s safe to use seats while waiting for a replacement kit. A Boston defective products lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a faulty or dangerous product.

Recalled Models

If the webbing of the My Ride 65 Graco seat breaks in a crash, the entire harness system could malfunction, resulting in improper restraint of the child. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulate the design and safety features of child restraint systems; the My Ride 65 Graco child safety seat did not meet these standards. As such, a total of eight models produced between May and August of 2014 are being recalled. The model numbers included in this recall are:

  • 179433
  • 1813015
  • 1813074
  • 1853478
  • 1871689
  • 1872691
  • 1877535
  • 1908152

If you have a My Ride 65 with one of these model numbers and a code tag of 2014/06 on the webbing, Graco will send you a free replacement harness. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product.

Child Safety Seats Save Lives

More than 650 children age 12 and under died in car crashes in 2011, and more than 148,000 were injured. Of those children, a whopping 33 percent were not restrained. Despite these sobering statistics, a one-year CDC study revealed that more than 618,000 kids between infancy and age 12 rode without proper safety restraints at least part of the time.

How to Use Your Child’s Safety Seat Correctly

Safety seats only save lives when they are used correctly. Studies show that up to 84 percent of these restraints are being misused. It is extremely common, for example, for children to be in a seat that is not suited to their age and weight. Other common problems are improper attachment to the vehicle’s seat, and a loose harness. Incorrect use of a safety seat more than triples your child’s risk of serious injury. So how can parents ensure that their safety seat is properly installed?

  • Prior to installing your child safety seat, carefully read the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer for the seat. In addition, review your vehicle owner’s manual for instructions on how to install child restraint systems in that particular vehicle. Every seat and vehicle is different.
  • Child safety seats should be placed in the back seat of your car or truck.
  • Place your child in the seat to properly adjust harness straps. Ensure that the belts and harness fit your child comfortably and securely.
  • Regularly check the fit of the belts and / or harness as your child grows. You may also have to adjust them seasonally, to accommodate for heavy winter coats and layered clothing, or the removal of these items.
  • Ensure that the base or seat (depending on whether you are using an infant seat or a booster) is tightly and securely fastened to the vehicle’s seat using the vehicle’s safety belts.
  • Children should remain in a rear-facing seat until the age of two years.
  • Have your seat’s installation professionally inspected by a certified technician.

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The parents of a three-year-old child who died in a tragic accident at a Head Start child care program are suing for $10 million. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the child’s death could have been prevented if reasonable care had been exercised to ensure a safe environment.

The accidental death occurred at a Head Start in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Several retractable lunch tables were leaning against a wall that the child was playing next to. The heavy, decades-old tables fell from the wall, opening up, and crushing the small child. In addition to not being properly secured to the wall, the tables were in disrepair and hadn’t been used for years. The lawsuit alleges that proper inspection of the tables would have prevented this tragedy.

What is Wrongful Death?

When negligence, carelessness, or recklessness results in a death, surviving family members can obtain compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death liability differs from liability for death caused by misconduct and criminal behavior in that the liable person or persons didn’t intend to cause the death. As such, wrongful death lawsuits impose civil, not criminal, consequences. In many cases, a surviving spouse, parent, or child can file a lawsuit and obtain compensation to effectively replace the loss of income, benefits, and other forms of financial and emotional support.

There are time limits to filing a claim for wrongful death. An experienced MA personal injury attorney can help you determine if you should file a wrongful death lawsuit following the death of a loved one. In addition to time limits, the loss of evidence over time can negatively impact the outcome of your lawsuit. As with most types of injury lawsuits, time is of the essence.

Liability of Child Care Facilities

Kids get hurt. And not all bumps and bruises are the result of negligence. But serious injuries, and even chronic minor injuries, may indicate negligence. In some cases, injuries can even indicate abuse. A Boston injury lawyer can provide a free consultation to help you determine whether you have a strong enough case to warrant a lawsuit.

Common Injuries Related to Child Care Negligence and Abuse

Negligence and abuse can take many forms, resulting in minor or serious injures, even death. Some of the more serious injuries include:

  • Injuries from high falls
  • Drowning
  • Dehydration from lack of access to water
  • Choking on non-food objects
  • Injuries suffered from “wandering away” due to inadequate fencing or gating
  • Burns or injuries related to exposure to chemicals and toxic or poisonous substances
  • Cuts and wounds from sharp or rusty objects

Proving Liability

Determining whether your child’s injuries are a result of negligence or abuse isn’t always an easy task. There are certain elements used to determine liability in child care negligence claims. These elements include:

  • The care provider had a duty to exercise reasonable care.
  • The care provider breached that duty.
  • The injury would not likely have occurred if the care provider hadn’t breached his or her duty.
  • The injury was caused by the breach.

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Last week, the family of a child who was severely injured at birth was awarded a $42 million verdict for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity, among other damages. A Pennsylvania judge awarded the multi-million dollar verdict due to the extent of the child’s injuries and the likelihood that he will require life-long care.

The child, who is now five years old, was injured during the delivery process when the doctor allegedly used forceps prematurely to pull the infant from the birth canal. According to the lawsuit, the pressure from the forceps caused internal bleeding, which resulted in permanent injuries, including cognitive problems, physical impairments, and an inability to express himself. As a result, he has suffered multiple brain and spine surgeries, and will require many more in the future. In fact, doctors do not expect that the child will ever read or write, and he may spend the rest of his life in an electric wheelchair.

The birth of a baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, when a doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice results in painful or debilitating injuries to mother or child, this special day can forever be marred by trauma, sadness, and anger. In some cases, traumatic birth injuries lead to a lifetime of medical problems, and even death. Malpractice claims can be brought against doctors, other medical personnel, and hospitals. However, these types of claims are highly complicated and require the help of a skilled MA birth injury lawyer.

Types of Traumatic Birth Injuries

Any kind of birth-related injury can be classified as a traumatic birth injury, but some of the most common serious birth injuries include:

  • Broken bones and bruising: In many cases, these injuries will heal over a period of time, without the need for medical intervention. Broken bones and bruises are often caused by the use of forceps, vacuums, or natural physical stresses of the birth process. When an infant is tugged with too much force or medical personnel improperly use birth-assisting tools, these injuries can become more severe.
  • Bell’s Palsy: This injury is characterized by facial paralysis, and occurs when the infant’s facial nerves are damaged during the birth process. The damage is often caused by extreme pressure on the infant’s face, either from natural causes or from improper use of forceps during delivery. In most cases, Bell’s Palsy improves without treatment. A Boston injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were harmed due to medical negligence.
  • Brachial Plexus injury: The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that connects the spine to the arms and hands. When the brachial plexus is injured during the birth process, the baby may temporarily lose the ability to move the arms. In most cases, this injury will heal over time, but brachial plexus injuries can be permanent if the nerves are actually torn. These injuries are most common in difficult births, especially when a doctor pulls too hard to extract an infant whose shoulder is stuck in the birth canal.
  • Anoxia: A form of oxygen deprivation, anoxia can cause serious medical complications in a newborn. If the placenta separates prematurely or the umbilical cord is wrapped around the infant’s neck, oxygen flow to the brain may be reduced to dangerous levels. If a baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, serious brain damage can result. In some cases, this oxygen deprivation causes a medical disorder called cerebral palsy (CP). Children with CP have difficulty controlling body movements and developing / maintaining muscle tone. CP is a serious, life-long and life-altering condition. In some situations, oxygen deprivation leads to death.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4 million people suffer a brain injury in the United States annually. This type of injury is often the result of a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or fall. Any kind of trauma to the head can cause a brain injury, which can range from a minor concussion to permanent brain damage.

If you are considering legal action after a brain injury, it is important to understand the complex legal and medical issues surrounding this type of injury claim. A Boston injury lawyer with extensive experience in this specific area can make all the difference in the world. Whether you’re filing for workers’ compensation benefits, negotiating with an insurance company, or determining if you have a successful product liability lawsuit, skilled legal representation is crucial to a positive outcome.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove that another party is legally responsible for your injury, you will need to show all of the following:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff: For example, an airbag manufacturer has to exercise reasonable care that its airbags are safe for the general public.
  • The defendant failed to exercise that duty of care: If a driver is injured when his airbag explodes for no reason, sending metal debris into the air, the airbag manufacturer may be liable.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s failure to exercise that duty of care: If the court finds that the airbag manufacturer knew about the risk of sudden explosion but failed to recall the airbags, the manufacturer will likely be found negligent.
  • The plaintiff suffered measurable injuries or losses: If the victim suffered a brain injury due to the exploding airbag, he will likely be awarded compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs.

In a scenario like the one above, proving negligence should be a fairly straightforward task. But brain injury lawsuits are rarely this cut-and-dried. In many cases, simply proving that a brain injury occurred can be difficult. Broken bones and burns are easy to see, but brain injuries – unless severe – are not always apparent. As the victim, you may experience pain and cognitive difficulties on a daily basis, but proving this to the court may be an uphill battle.

Further, even when a brain injury is obvious, proving that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury can be a challenge. For example, if your brain injury occurred in a car accident involving another vehicle, proving that the defendant’s bad driving was the cause may be difficult. For this reason, gathering as much evidence as possible following a brain injury can have an immensely positive impact on the outcome of your case. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Brain injuries can be mild or severe, and so can the related symptoms. If you have suffered trauma to the head, or were involved in a high-impact accident, such as a motor vehicle accident, the following symptoms may indicate a brain injury.

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Chronic headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Memory loss
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

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The birth of a newborn baby is as natural of a miracle that we can observe in our world. A newborn baby represents hope, potential, and a clean start. Hundreds of thousands of births occur every single day, and unfortunately many of them have complications that result in various difficulties for the newborn baby and its family.

One form of complication, Erb’s Palsy, occurs in infants who sustain nerve damage in their brachial plexus, a cluster of nerves that root in the shoulder, near the neck, and flow down into the arms. These nerves can be injured in various ways, such as during a difficult or abnormally stressful breach birth or when the baby is excessively large.

Sadly, one of the ways Erb’s Palsy can also happen is as a result of a doctor pulling on a baby too forcefully during a challenging birth. It most commonly manifests when a newborn’s head is twisted too sharply in one direction, tearing or cutting off circulation to the nerve cluster. The condition can cause long-lasting or permanent physical disabilities in the child, from temporarily being unable to move its arms or fingers to having full limb paralysis throughout its life.

Dog attacks actually happen quite frequently, and most involve children. Minor nips and bites are rarely reported, but the CDC reveals that approximately 4.5 million people report being bitten by dogs annually. The vast majority of these cases can be avoided, especially when they involve children. Read the tips below to avoid dog attacks and keep your kids safe. If your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Tips to Prevent Dog Attacks

  • Children should never approach an unknown dog. It doesn’t matter if the dog is a teacup chihuahua wearing a pink, crocheted hat. Any dog can bite, and even small dogs can cause serious damage. If you see a loose dog wandering around, leave the area immediately.