Children come into the world with unlimited potential, stretching for years into the future. We cherish and nurture our children in the hope that their lives will be a happy journey to achieve that potential. It is an unimaginable tragedy when a child’s options in life are cut off before his or her unique talents have fully unfolded. When the child’s life becomes limited or restricted by injury or death as the result of an accident that never should have happened . . . never would have happened, but for someone else’s negligence, the sorrow the child’s family experiences becomes nearly unbearable.
Children are vulnerable. Their bodies are not yet fully formed and their ability to recognize danger is not fully developed. Children rely on adults to protect them and keep them safe. As parents, we do our best, but children don’t live in a cocoon, and try as we might, we can’t always protect them from the acts of others. In cars, daycare centers, schools, playgrounds, pools, shopping centers—all the places where kids are welcome—we expect that our children will be safe; but life has no guarantees there is always a possibility that a child will suffer and injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death to children under the age of 14; approximately 2,800 children die from accidents in the United States annually.
There are many ways in which a child can be injured. Here, we review some of the most common ones:
CDC figures show that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children 14 and under. In 2011, more than 800 children in that age group lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and nearly 180,000 more were injured while riding in cars. Many of these deaths were caused by a driver’s negligence.
Following motor-vehicle accident injuries, bicycles, inline skates, and skateboards injure more children than any other consumer product, with bicycles taking the lead, the National SAFEKIDS Campaign reports. Most of the bike injuries are from accidents involving cars.Head injuries are the most common, including life-changing traumatic brain injuries that can affect cognitive function and behavior in those who survive them. Children 14 and under suffered a total of 40,272 bicycle-related head injuries in 2009, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
The second most frequent cause of accidental deaths among children 14 and under is drowning. This is often a result of negligent supervision of children around water. For every child drowning victim, four more suffer near-drowning or submersion injuries requiring treatment.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that nearly 78,000 young children were taken to emergency rooms in 2012 for injuries caused by products manufactured and marked as children’s items, including cribs, baby carriers, car seats, strollers, high chairs, baby baths, playpens, and bassinets. Approximately 100 children die every year from defective nursery products, many from asphyxiation, strangulation, or drowning. CPSC also reports 11 toy-related deaths in 2012.
When we trust our children to the care of teachers and childcare workers, we have the right to expect that they will be well cared-for and closely supervised. When child supervisors fail to provide proper supervision of children, accidents can occur: slip and fall accidents, playground accidents, wandering away from the facility, parking lot accidents, and hyperthermia accidents when children are left unattended in daycare vans. Negligent supervision in sports, and acts of violence from lack of appropriate security measures are also causes of injury and death for children in care.
Children are more likely to be bitten by a dog than adults: 82 percent of the dog bites treated in emergency rooms involve children 14 and younger. Nineteen of the 34 dog bite deaths in 2012 were children. In Tennessee, the owner of a dog that bites someone, with certain exceptions, is subject to strict liability, regardless of whether the dog has displayed vicious tendencies before.
It is heartbreaking to see the suffering of an injured child, and it is natural to want to hold the person who caused the injury accountable. Recovering money for a child’s injuries can ensure that you will be able to provide the medical treatment, psychological counseling, occupational and physical therapy, and whatever else is necessary to give your child as near to a normal life as possible following a serious injury. At the Chattanooga law firm of Wettermark and Keith, LLC, we can help. Call today for a free case review.