Is Your Child at Risk of a Daycare Injury Accident?

 

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For many California parents, daycare is not a luxury – it is a necessity. When a parent lives away from friends and family members who are able to stay with the child with the parent is at work, a daycare facility is usually the parent’s last resort – somewhere where the child can be safe and supervised while the parent is away at work. When using a daycare facility, the parent may be lulled into a false sense of security: The regulations and laws with which a daycare facility in California must comply in order to continue operations can make a parent feel confident that their child will return to them from the daycare facility uninjured and in good health. This is not always the case, however.

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Common Daycare Injuries to Children

As much as parents may not wish to dwell on the thought, a daycare can be a dangerous place for a young child. Some children have been injured through deliberate acts inflicted upon them by daycare staff, but a child can suffer serious – even fatal – injuries simply because a daycare worker acted carelessly or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Just a few of the injuries that can befall a young child while at daycare include:

  •      Falls down steps or falls from heights which can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death;
  •      Cuts and serious lacerations from sharp objects like scissors or knives that are left in areas accessible to children, or from sharp corners on tables and other furniture;
  •      Serious burns of various types. Chemical burns can result from being exposed to powerful cleaners and disinfectants (even the fumes can cause internal injuries). Electrical burns can come about if the child is permitted to play with an active electrical socket. Heat burns can occur when the child is permitted to touch a hot stove or radiator.
  •     Traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and other injuries commonly associated with car accidents if the child is being transported in a daycare vehicle and the driver is involved in a crash.

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Parents of daycare-age children should carefully investigate a daycare facility before enrolling their children in the facility. Ensure that the facility is properly certified by the State of California. Tour the building and speak with the teachers, assistants, and staff. Does it appear that there are too many children and not enough adults? Are children supervised or do they appear to run wild? Are the facility, toys, and equipment in a good state of repair or are things falling apart? When it comes to your child’s safety, go with your gut – if you do not feel comfortable leaving your child at the facility for eight hours or more each day, it may be advisable to find another facility.

When to Call a Southern California Daycare Injury Attorney

If your child was injured while at a California daycare, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses and losses. Contact Case Barnett Law Firm at (949) 861-2990 today, or contact us online to discuss your case.

Alligator Attack At A Disney Resort May Result In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As residents of Southern California we are all well aware of how popular Disneyland is. It is a local landmark that attracts vacationing families from all over the world, and for many of us is a place that evokes fond childhood memories. However, tragedy recently struck at the ‘happiest place on earth’ when a two-year-old child was attacked and killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Florida. Now, Disney is potentially facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

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What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone dies due to another party’s negligence or neglect, the deceased’s relatives are generally permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While wrongful death statutes vary slightly some state to state, most states (including California) have a law on the books that closely resembles Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. In Florida, the party that causes a victim’s death via a wrongful act, negligence, default, or a breach of contract shall be held liable for damages.

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Is Disney Liable?

According to the Huffington Post, Disney may potentially face a wrongful death lawsuit given that businesses are required to ensure that their premises are reasonably maintained. In this instance, the fatal alligator attack occurred around 9:00 p.m. at the edge of a lake located at the Disney World resort. The toddler was playing in approximately six inches of water when an alligator attacked and pulled him into the lake. The boy’s father jumped into the water in an effort to save his son but unfortunately was not able for force the alligator’s mouth open. The boy’s body was later found intact, and officials suspect that the cause of death was drowning.

While no amount of legal action or monetary compensation will bring the deceased toddler back, his family may be able to recover damages from Disney by filing a wrongful death claim. The family would need to show that Disney was aware of the alligators on its property and did not take appropriate steps to warn their guests of this known danger. According to an article published in People Magazine, the resort routinely removes alligators from its waterways. This seems to indicate that Disney was aware of their alligator problem before the attack occurred. The article also notes that the resort had a legal obligation to protect invitees from known dangers on the premises. If this case goes to court, the key question would likely be whether or not Disney adequately warned its guests about the danger posed by the alligators.

The Huffington Post notes that the resort did in fact have signage posted around the lake that stated “No Swimming Please”. However, this signage did not indicate that alligators may be present in the water. Disney did have at least one sign posted on the property that read “Please be aware of alligators in the lake”, but this sign was posted a few miles away from where the toddler was attacked. Although Disney is not required to keep their resort guests absolutely safe at all times, they do have a legal responsibility to warn of known dangers on the premises and the signs that were posted may not have been adequate to provide an appropriate warning.

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How Can We Help?

If you live in Southern California and are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, or other personal injury claim, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm. Our personal injury lawyers are happy to discuss your legal options and can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

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Nursing Home Saves Money at the Expense of its Patients. Ends up Being a $1 Million Dollar Mistake.

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L.F. v. Nursing Home

Case Barnett Law Corporation

Settlement: 1 Million Dollars

A lucrative nursing home in Orange County decided to save money on nursing staff. The nursing homes make more money by hiring fewer nurses than needed to provide appropriate care. Patients are then left in their own feces and urine for hours at a time. These patients frequently develop bedsores and other humiliating and painful injuries because they aren’t helped. Case Barnett Law made this facility pay.
91 year old L.F. ends up in the emergency room septic, with a bed sore, a 102 degree fever and a soiled diaper. She had been essentially forgotten about and left to die. Then, adding insult to injury, the nursing staff “backdated” their notes writing that they had recently bathed her and she had rolled herself in a wheelchair to the cafeteria smiling and laughing.
For two years the nursing facility refused to accept responsibility only offering $30,000, nuisance value to make the lawsuit go away. The family and Case Barnett Law refused to accept this. Like L.F., they are fighters. Case Barnett Law took more than 20 depositions and engaged in vigorous discovery to prove that the nursing home had neglected this beautiful woman. As part of the resolution, the facility must pay $1,000,000 to the family of L.F. and was forced to make changes in order to prevent this from happening to any one else ever again.

California Distracted Driving Accidents

Traffic crashes are often referred to as “accidents” giving the impression that crashes just happen out of nowhere. But traffic crashes happen because someone was negligent. Someone wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do. Someone was not obeying traffic laws. Whether someone was driving too fast, or distracted because of their mobile device, accidents don’t just happen. According to The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, 3,154 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. If a person is traveling 55 mph, that is enough time to cover the length if a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI).

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Distracted Driving and Traffic Laws

Legislators in the state of California take traffic safety very seriously, and they are trying to reduce the number of car accidents by enforcing various laws that are supposed to deter drivers from speeding, running a red light, driving under the influence, or using cell phones while driving, which are some of the most common traffic violations in the U.S. Talking on a cell phone while driving is the most common cause of distracted driving, and most states have specific laws banning it. Distracted driving laws in the state of California have existed since 2006, when the first cell phone legislation was introduced.(dmv.com)

Distracted Driving Laws For Teen Drivers

Currently, there is a law in effect that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless communications device while driving. This ban is an addition to the provisions that are already in existence, which prohibit teen drivers from using cell phones. (dmv.com)

Cell Phones

The prevalence of mobile devices in life, has created addictions and people can’t just stay off of their phones. It only takes a fraction of a second to change someone else’s life forever. There is no excuse for looking at a text messages or email while driving. “Everyone does it,” is not a defense. For more information on teen distracted driving data, please go to: http://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/11381-Distracted_Driving_Teens_2013_032415_v1a_tag.pdf

Text Messaging Bans

Sending text messages while driving is a huge distraction, but a lot of people don’t realize that and still do it. It’s a potentially dangerous activity because it requires you to take at least one hand off the steering wheel to type and send a message, and you can lose control of your vehicle pretty quickly that way. That’s why the state of California has banned all drivers from texting, and this ban is considered a primary law. Furthermore, drivers are also prohibited from hands-free text messaging, as well as voice-operated text messaging. The text messaging fine is $20 for a first offense, and $50 for a repeat offense. (dmv.com)

Using a GPS App

Using a smartphone while driving for navigational purposes is also not allowed. Drivers can’t use a GPS application while holding a smartphone in their hands, which used to be allowed until April 2013. (dmv.com)

Adult Drivers

Drivers aged 18 and above can only use a cell phone with an attached hands-free device. There is a hand-held ban for both adult and teen drivers, which is considered a primary law. (dmv.com)

School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, be it hands-free or hand-held. They have a special responsibility due to the fact that they transport children to school and that’s why they are not allowed to use a cell phone with a hands-free device, which other drivers are allowed to do. (dmv.com)

General Distracted Driving Laws

Some states forbid specific activities while driving. While recent years have seen states address telephones and electronic gadgets, some low-tech distractions have been specifically banned in certain states for a long time. States have specifically prohibited activities including personal grooming (such as shaving or putting on make-up), reading, writing, interacting with pets, and other common in-vehicle distractions. (findlaw.com)

Evidence of Negligence or Recklessness

A traffic ticket is by far the least serious outcome of distracted driving. Distracted driving poses far more serious dangers such as accidents and injuries which can lead to lawsuits. The fact that a driver was distracted greatly increases the likelihood that a driver will be found responsible for damages caused.

For example, if someone has an accident while or shortly after talking on a cell phone, evidence of their phone call could be presented to prove negligence or recklessness. With the issue of negligence deciding many auto injury lawsuits, evidence of distraction could result in potentially large monetary liabilities.

With cell phone records detailing when people use mobile devices and how, evidence relating to phone calls and messages sent or accessed close to the time of an accident become crucial in many auto accident related lawsuits.

Even if there is no specific law against what the driver was doing, evidence of distracted driving can help prove negligence, perhaps leading to civil liability, For example, even in states which have not banned texting while driving, evidence of texting while driving may cause a driver to lose a lawsuit stemming from an accident. (findlaw.com)

Conclusion

Distracted driving has many variations and can happen when tending to a crying child or looking at your phone when you receive a text message. California  has enacted laws banning specific acts such as texting or using a handheld phone while driving.

In addition to traffic tickets, distracted driving can cause accidents, injuries, or even death, and can be used as evidence of a driver’s negligence or recklessness in lawsuits stemming from an auto accident.

If someone is on their cell phone, tablet or otherwise just not paying attention while driving, and crashes in to you, contact Case Barnett Law so we can help you. Let Case Barnett Law deal with the insurance companies and all of those hassles so that you can focus on healing.

For more information on California distracted driving laws visit

Can I Sue For A Slip and Fall In A Public Place?

Dr. Beltran vs. Homeowner’s Association-Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement Won by Case Barnett Law

CorporationSettlement: 2.5 Million Dollars

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It’s not often that an attorney settles a trip and fall case for $2 million, but in 2015, Case Barnett Law did. Dr. RB lived in a posh Orange County neighborhood paying over $700 a month in monthly homeowner’s association dues. A water meter box was continually broken in front of his home. Dr. RB complained to his homeowner’s association about the broken water meter box on multiple occasions.

After a day at work, Dr. RB returned in the evening and parked his car in the driveway. He exited the car to get his mail. His second step went in to the broken water meter cover causing serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and severed tendons in his hand.

The defendants repeatedly passed responsibility amongst each other and pointed the finger back at Dr. RB for not fixing it himself, and for knowing about it, but failing to avoid it. The liability issues were complicated because of the covenants, codes and restrictions (the CC&R’s), the governing documents for the homeowner’s association and the HOA’s attempts to shift responsibility to the homeowners. CC&R’s give HOA’s the ability to make their own laws and distribute responsibilities. A close inspection of these governing documents is essential to suing any homeowner’s association.

We were able to settle four of five defendants for $2 million before trial, leaving one defendant who refused to accept any responsibility. This defendant, insured by Liberty Mutual, insisted its client had zero fault. A jury of 12 Orange County Citizens disagreed and found the last defendant 32% responsible. The case currently waits for the damages phase to begin. Case Barnett Law will be seeking damages of more than $10 million. Insurance companies never learn.

If you have been injured in an accident contact Case Barnett Law for a free consultation.