Although car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, falls are the top cause of injuries among children. Injuries from falls could be as minor as a scraped knee or as severe as paralysis or death. Even what appears as a superficial scrape could develop into an infection if not treated properly. Approximately 8,000 injured children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every day after being hurt in a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Who is liable when a child falls? Although there are many other potentially liable parties depending on the accident, a few common ones to consider with regard to childhood injuries include:
Day care centers. Not all day care providers comply with regulations to provide an adequate number of adults to supervise children. Sometimes there are enough adults, but they are not trained properly or they are careless in their supervision. If an individual believes a child care provider is providing insufficient supervision or a dangerous environment, they can file a complaint with the Department of Health & Human Services. Records prior complaints can help an individual establish a history of negligence for their case.
Product defects. Playground injuries could result from a trip-and-fall or inadequate supervision, but other times the manufacturer has created a defective product. Many manufacturers have recalled playground equipment after a series of injury reports. For example, Playworld Systems recalled their stainless steel slides more than a decade ago due to improper welding, which posed a risk of amputation should children get their fingers stuck between the metal pieces.
Property owners. In other cases, the party responsible for maintaining a playground could be liable. Poorly maintained ground covering or exposed equipment anchors could pose tripping hazards.
Supervising adult. Whether a friend, relative, or hired babysitter is providing care for a minor - they might be held accountable if a child suffers an injury due to the supervising adult's negligence. Leaving a baby on a changing table to answer a phone call could result in the infant rolling off the table onto the floor. A toddler left alone while an adult goes outside to check the mail could fall out a window or down stairs.
If a parent receives reimbursement from a negligent party for the child's medical treatment of injuries sustained in a fall, the parent might feel satisfied. However, there could be future medical costs that result from the injuries the child sustained. Injuries during childhood could potentially impact the rest of the child's life. Concussions, fractures, and other injuries might contribute to developmental issues during a peak time in an individual's growth. Fortunately and unfortunately, individuals in North Carolina have a limited time to file an injury claim. The statute of limitations is three years from the date of injury/illness or discovery of injury/illness. Symptoms of brain trauma, for instance, might take time to develop - especially for a child whose motor skills and verbal communication are not yet mature. Our North Carolina injury attorneys help clients determine what their future medical costs might be through the use of medical expert statements, accident evidence, and more. Learn more about child injury cases during a free case evaluation.