There is no fear more profound for a parent than that of their child sustaining a catastrophic injury. And there is no agony more acute than that of a parent seeing their child in pain. No parent or child should endure that suffering because of someone else’s careless or reckless actions.
The lawyers at Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group, many of whom are themselves parents, spend their careers fighting for the rights and interests of Florida residents and visitors who have suffered catastrophic injury through no fault of their own. When our client is an injured child, we put our hearts and souls into doing everything we can to hold accountable any person or company who did that child harm. It is the least we can do for the children and families whose lives have been turned upside down by a preventable, senseless accident.
If your child has sustained a serious injury in any kind of accident in Florida, please know that the teams at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are here to help protect your and your child’s rights. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
Our Child Injury Law Practice
Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are Florida-based, affiliated law firms that exclusively represent personal injury victims and their families. We have years of experience fighting on behalf of Floridians facing the terrifying ordeal of a severe injury to a child. Our lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients through settlements and jury verdicts.
Parents of badly-injured children sometimes feel conflicted about taking legal action. It often seems unnatural to put a dollar value on a child’s and a family’s suffering. And litigation is an emotionally draining process, which is not something most parents relish for themselves or their injured child.
Rest assured, at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman, we understand and empathize with those concerns. We take pride in treating our clients with compassion and respect during some of the most difficult times of their lives. And we seek to reassure our clients that they are always in control, and that by seeking justice for their child, they also help to protect other parents, children, and families from similar trauma.
Risk Factors Particular to Child Injury
Children sustain severe injuries in all sorts of ways for all sorts of reasons. To begin, they face many of the same dangers that adults face every day. Like adults, for instance, the CDC reports that injuries in motor vehicle accidents and other transportation-related accidents are the leading cause of death for children. But children also live in the shadow of risks unique to their age, growth, and life experience. Here are some of the risks of severe injury that children, in particular, face every day according to CDC research.
Access to a Swimming Pool or Open Water
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 4. Unfenced swimming pools, in particular, pose a threat to young children, who can accidentally or even intentionally jump into them without knowing how to get themselves out. Any kind of swimming pool should always have a locking fence around it to prevent children from accessing it when it is unattended. Young children should never be permitted to play around a swimming pool without an adult qualified to swim and perform basic CPR present. The best practice is to never allow a young child to enter any body of water without an adult remaining within arm’s reach of that child, even if the child has some ability to swim on his or her own.
Very young children, principally those 1 and under, face a high risk of accidental suffocation. According to the CDC, two-thirds of accidental deaths of children under 1 result from suffocation. Many of these deaths result from children sleeping in cribs will ill-fitting sheets, poor crib construction, being placed in a crib on their stomachs instead of their backs, or objects in a crib that can cover a baby’s nose and mouth. Babies should sleep on their backs in a crib with tight-fitting sheets that is free of soft objects that could cause suffocation.
Falls and Other Kinetic Accidents
Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children under 15, reports the CDC. Children fall in myriad scenarios. They fall from heights on playgrounds. They fall from walls and steps in public spaces. They fall while riding bikes and skateboards, during active play, and while participating in athletics. To be sure, falling and learning to get back up is an essential part of childhood. But sometimes kids can’t get back up, and it’s important to monitor children in their activities to make distinguish “ordinary” falls from catastrophic ones.
Slips and falls happen in young children because they’re unsteady on their feet. But all children, teens, and even young adults, especially males, are prone to falls because they have an underdeveloped appreciation for risk and heightened tendency to act impulsively. This combination of biologically inevitable factors increases the frequency and, at times, the severity of injury from childhood falls. To combat injury from these accidents, children should always wear helmets and other protective gear whenever appropriate.
Children 4 and under face a high risk of poisoning, according to the CDC. But ingesting toxic substances represents a significant danger for children of any age. Children’s natural curiosity, reduced inhibition, and higher-than-average risk taking combine to make poisoning an ever-present concern.
Toddlers may try to drink or eat toxic substances that have attractive colors or packaging. Teens, especially males, tend to ingest potentially poisonous material on a dare. Some children (and adults) absorb poisonous substances into their bodies without even realizing, such as in communities where there is groundwater contamination or in buildings containing building materials such as asbestos.
Keeping hazardous items out of reach of young children, educating older children about poison danger, and monitoring environmental factors that can affect children’s health all constitute essential steps to keep kids safe from accidental poisoning injury and death.
Access to Firearms
A 2017 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics reported that firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among US children aged 1 to 17 years and the second leading cause of injury-related death.” The study broke firearm deaths into three categories: homicides, suicides, and accidents. Across the board, it concluded that access to firearms increased the chance of childhood injury and death from a gunshot wound. Young children find guns, despite parents’ best efforts to hide them, usually without their parents ever knowing. When there are children in the home, guns should always be kept under lock and key to prevent tragedies.
Proper Restraint in Motor Vehicles
When many of today’s parents were children, car safety by and large meant wearing a lap-belt while sitting in the backseat of a car. Today, according to the CDC, there are four appropriate types of restraint for children in cars, depending on their weight and height (as measured roughly by their age). These restraint categories represent the best information we have about how to keep children safe in a motor vehicle accident. Using appropriate safety restraints for children is also the law in Florida.
Common Severe Child Injuries
Children sustain many of the same types of injuries as adults. But they are also more prone to certain types of injuries, and the impact of some injuries can affect their lives far more significantly than a similar injury in an adult. Here is a review of some of the injuries that particularly affect children.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
The research on childhood concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is still developing, but the expert consensus is that these injuries are particularly harmful to children. A child can sustain a brain injury in all of the scenarios described above, resulting from a blow to the head, from oxygen deprivation, or from penetrating trauma. A concussion is a “mild” TBI that could bring long-term consequences and may make children more susceptible to repeated injury. TBI can have lifelong impacts on children, affecting how their brain develops and how they learn, work, communicate, socialize, and otherwise function in the world.
As noted above, swimming pools and other areas of open water pose an extreme risk to children. Children who do not know how to swim, or who hit their heads on the bottom or side of a swimming pool during play, face a high risk of drowning.
The scenarios above also frequently result in broken bones. These are painful injuries, obviously, and though most heal relatively easily, some require surgical intervention and can affect a child’s physical development.
Long-term Health Complications
Poisoning, in particular, can lead to long-term health complications in children. Acute poisoning, such as when a child drinks a toxic substance, can damage internal organs in a way that cannot be fully-repaired and may require lifelong medical intervention. Poisoning from exposure to dangerous chemicals and pollutants can lead to delayed development, chronic health issues, and deadly disease.
Children who a sustain significant injury to their spinal cord may lose motor function in the part of the body “below” the location of the damage to the spinal cord. Spinal injuries change the lives of children and families forever; they typically cost many millions of dollars to adapt to and treat over the child’s lifetime.
How an Experienced Child Injury Lawyer Can Help
It is a fact of life that children get hurt on occasions. Much of the time, no adult or company is to blame. But that’s not always the case. As Floridians, we all have a special duty to take care to keep children and teenagers out of harm’s way. When someone fails to live up to that social contract, the law holds them accountable to pay damages for the injured child’s suffering and the difficulty that child’s family endures.
Of course, the first thing any parent should do when their child gets hurt is to seek immediate and appropriate medical attention. In that moment, nothing is more important.
Once your child’s health has stabilized, consult with the experienced Florida child injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman. As we said, not every childhood injury involves someone else’s wrongdoing. But a quick, free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our teams can give you a rough sense of whether an adult or organization may have legal liability to your child and your family.
If an attorney advises you that you may have a legal claim, it will most likely be because someone’s engaged in careless or reckless conduct, or otherwise failed to take reasonable steps to keep your child safe. For example, that might be the case if the owner of a backyard pool failed to keep a fence around it and allowed neighborhood kids to swim there unsupervised. It might be the case if the manufacturer of a helmet your child wore sold you a defective product that did not function as intended to keep your child’s head and brain safe. Or it could be the case if your child spent time at a home where an adult failed to store firearms properly.
Whatever the circumstances, if the lawyers of Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman believe you have a viable claim, then they will tell you so. When a client decides to proceed with us as their attorneys, our team works with laser focus to ensure the person or company who harmed our client’s child is held accountable. That often involves negotiating with insurance companies, but it may also involve going to trial to argue our client’s case to a judge and jury. However a case unfolds, we take the utmost care to keep our clients informed and in control.
Your Florida Child Injury Attorneys
If your child has sustained a severe injury, seek experienced, compassionate legal help as soon as possible. We have offices on both Florida coasts if you’d like to meet with us in person. Or you can call us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or visit us online to connect with a Florida child injury attorney. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers have offices across both Florida coasts.
Dolman Law Group
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900