Injuries to Children

Injuries to Children

Here at Wiener & Lambka, we take pride in the work we do on claims involving minors and children and believe that we do an excellent job on these types of cases, including doing so at a lesser fee than we charge adults. Handling cases for children is significantly different from handling cases for adults and we’ve become experts in this field with experience in various types of child injury cases, ranging from birth injuries to injuries involving amusement parks, schools, playgrounds, or bicycle and car accidents. We take pride in handling cases involving children and take an awful lot of care to make sure these cases are handled properly.


Automobile Accidents

 
 
Children injured in automobile accidents require special attention because of the inherent deficit of a child’s ability to understand their body and articulate their symptoms to their parents and doctors. While some injuries are objectively clear to an observer, such as a broken arm or leg, as well as clear to the child in terms of the pain levels experienced, other injuries tend to fly a bit more below the radar.

Children might suffer from physical or mental injuries that are not necessarily immediately observable by either the child, nor even the child’s parents or doctors. Soft tissue injuries are physical injuries that both do not always have symptoms when they are incurred. Your child, or you, might feel fine at the scene of an automobile collision, but might become more symptomatic, with muscle soreness, over the days following the collision or other injury causing event. Harder to detect still are mental injuries relating to the fear / anxiety or worse, injuries caused by the same type of physical forces that can cause soft tissue injuries can also cause traumatic brain injuries. There is no requirement that a loss of consciousness occur in order for a person to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

This website has extensive discussions throughout regarding Traumatic Brain Injuries. For more information on what to look for if you have a concern about your child, please click here. When attempting to discuss these symptoms with your child or other loved one, it is important to remember that the injured person is often not fully aware of their symptoms. Because the main symptoms can be things like word finding difficulty, short term memory loss and emotional liability, these types of symptoms are often first notice by someone outside of the injured person – the objective person – while not always sorted out by the affected person, the subjective experience clouding what the prior norm was for the brain inured party. Prompt care should always be sought for a suspected traumatic brain injury (or any other suspected injury), both for the patient’s medical well-being, but also to help with any resulting legal claim. An insurance company will likely use any delay in obtaining care as an argument that the injury was either not caused by the accident at issue or doesn’t exist at all due to failure to properly diagnose at a stage close in time to the injury causing event.

Wiener and Lambka makes children’s cases a special priority and we do so at a discounted attorney fee to make sure that innocent children injured due to someone else’s negligence are completely compensated for their injuries and disruption of their lives.

Loss of Consortium

When a child is injured due to another’s negligence, the child and the child’s parents have independent claims for their losses. A parent may have a “loss of consortium” claim that is reasonable to bring if the child’s injuries are serious enough to warrant it. Children whose parents have suffered injuries may have a claim for loss of consortium if their parent’s injuries adversely affect their relationship with their parent in a material way. Any instance where an immediate family member incurs a serious injury may also have corresponding loss of consortium of the other family members associated with it.

School Injuries

Wiener & Lambka PS has experience in a wide range of school injury cases. We have represented children who have been injured in school bus accidents, through teacher / sport coach negligence, and through failure to properly supervise teachers and students. School bus accidents can occur not only due to the fault of the school bus driver, but also in circumstances where the school has improperly placed a bus stop or unreasonably failed to plan and supervise a pick up and drop off circle. Injuries can occur through negligence involved with high school sports and also physical education classes. Playground equipment can also result in injuries and legal claims where the equipment was not properly installed, not properly designed, not installed properly or where children using otherwise properly installed equipment where not properly supervised by the school staff. What is reasonable in many of these cases is something that has to be considered based upon the unique facts of each case. At Wiener & Lambka, PS, we take time and care to investigate and consider all possible theories in a case and then provide the personal and professional representation that an injured child needs.

Negligent Supervision / Caretaking

Cases involving Caretaking of children include daycares and other general caretaker negligence. The wrongful acts can be as simple as an unreasonable decision that leaves a child open to an injury or even a conscious decision to intentionally harm a child. Failure to supervise employees in a caretaker setting – a daycare, a hospital, a school, all can give rise to harm to children and a resulting legal claim. Wiener and Lambka PS offers free consultations where you can discuss your legal concerns in an open and free manner, without any obligation to hire us as attorneys. We are happy to discuss your legal concerns about your child.

Dog Bites

Children are more likely to get bitten by a dog than adults due to their naivety, curiosity, size, and inordinate fascination with dogs. In Washington there is not a “free bite” philosophy regarding a dog owner’s responsibility for when a dog bites someone. The owner and/or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for the damages caused when their dog bites another person. The only exception to this rule is when the dog is provoked into biting, a situation that does not have extensive explanation in Washington law, but which in the course of business in these cases, effectively means that unless one was mistreating the dog in an open and obvious manner, then the dog owner is responsible for the dog’s biting someone else.
While Washington statutory law makes it clear that the owner or keeper is responsible for a dog’s biting another, the owner or keeper can also be liable for the dog’s actions when they have been put on notice that the dog has a propensity toward biting or harming others. Under these circumstances, not only would the dog’s bite be their responsibility but also any other action by the dog that causes injury such as knocking someone to the ground.

Wiener and Lambka PS has handled many dog bite cases for both adults and children. We are well-versed in the laws and cases in Washington regarding these types of incidents. While the owner or keeper may be strictly liable for the injuries a bite causes there are still many thorny legal issues that can be involved in these types of cases. What actually constitutes and owner and what constitutes a keeper of a dog? What constitutes provocation such that the owner or keeper might not be liable? Were the injuries caused by the dog’s bite or some other aspect of the dog/human interaction (getting knocked down)? What injuries were caused by the bite? Was the treatment reasonable and necessary for the injuries incurred? Is there a scar? Does the child have emotional difficulties relating to dogs following the event?

Wiener and Lambka PS offers a free consultation to anyone who has been bitten by a dog and wants a better understand their legal rights. There is no obligation to hire us as attorneys when you have asked for a free consultation. Please give us a call or make an email inquiry about your particular claim and we’ll be happy to talk with you.

Wrongful Death

There are no more difficult cases or circumstances in the world than those involving the wrongful death of a child. Wiener and Lambka PS has extensive experience in cases involving the death of children. There is no type of matter that we take more pride in providing personal, professional and proven representation for than these cases.
The right to bring a claim when a child dies due to another’s negligence rests with the parents of the child. In Washington, the right to a wrongful death claim is one that is provided via a written statute. The particular statute in Washington has a limitation on the parents’ ability to bring a legal claim that provides no relief for the wrongful death of a child if over the age of 18 years. While the child’s estate may still have a claim based upon the economic issues involved in taking the life of another, the claim for the effects of the loss of their child to its parents does not exist once the child reaches the age of 18, that of majority. Interestingly, the claim of a child for the loss of his or her parents and the effect that has had on their life is not eclipsed by either person being over the age of 18.

All claims in Washington for the wrongful death of a child must be brought through the estate of the child, which often must be set up solely for the purpose of bringing the substantive legal claim.

Children and Brain Injuries

Read here for detailed information about Traumatic Brain Injury in children.

Amusement park injuries

The causes of amusement park injuries and deaths include workers’ negligence and ride defects, along with dangerous grounds conditions, understaffing, and inferior maintenance. We can help with claims against amusement parks. The unfortunate fact, though, is that many times these claims deal with severe injury and even death. It is of great importance that you consult immediately with a Washington State amusement park attorney regarding the unique circumstances of your case.

School Bus and Pedestrian injuries

Collisions involving school buses aren’t all that common. Generally, other drivers can clearly see school buses owing to the yellow paint, flashing lights, unique markings, size, and stop signs. For preventing injuries to children, these are all important safety features. They are designed to alert the drivers around the school bus of times when children will be entering and exiting the bus and in the area. When it comes to crossing streets, children don’t always make the best choices. This is a known condition that warrants drivers being more cautious in their presence. And that’s why the speed limit near schools is much lower.

Even still, statistics show that drivers still fail to observe rules of the road around school buses and so create dangerous situations for children. If a school bus occupies a roadway with three or more lanes of travel and when it has lights flashing, oncoming traffic isn’t required to stop. If, however, the school bus is stopped with red lights flashing and stop sign out and is positioned for loading/unloading children, traffic behind the bus must stop. If traveling on a two-way road with single lanes of travel, you must stop regardless of the side the bus is stopped on.

The actual statue is as follows:

RCW 46.61.370

Overtaking or meeting school bus, exceptions—Duties of bus driver—Penalty—Safety cameras.

(1) The driver of a vehicle upon overtaking or meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a visual signal as specified in RCW 46.37.190 and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.

(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway divided into separate roadways as provided in RCW 46.61.150 need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.

(3) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with three or more marked traffic lanes need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.

(4) The driver of a school bus shall actuate the visual signals required by RCW 46.37.190 only when such bus is stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.

(5) The driver of a school bus may stop completely off the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children only when the school children do not have to cross the roadway. The school bus driver shall actuate the hazard warning lamps as defined in RCW 46.37.215 before loading or unloading school children at such stops.

(6) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, a person found to have committed an infraction of subsection (1) of this section shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the total penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended. Fifty percent of the money so collected shall be deposited into the school zone safety account in the custody of the state treasurer and disbursed in accordance with RCW 46.61.440(5).

(7) An infraction of subsection (1) of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera under RCW 46.63.180 is not a part of the registered owner’s driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120, and must be processed in the same manner as parking infractions, including for the purposes of RCW 3.50.100,35.20.220, 46.16A.120, and 46.20.270(3). However, the amount of the fine issued for a violation of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera shall not exceed twice the monetary penalty for a violation of this section as provided under RCW 46.63.110.

[2011 c 375 § 3; 1997 c 80 § 1; 1990 c 241 § 8; 1965 ex.s. c 155 § 52.]

Responsibility for causing a school bus accident can redound to the school bus driver, another driver, the school district, or the bus company. Sometimes, though, it’s a combination of all these.

When the bus driver is negligent, investigation into the driver’s hiring and employment record is in order. If the maintenance of the bus is at issue, then that requires a different type of investigation.

Negligent design or implementation of where children are dropped off and handling of traffic are issues as well. Pedestrian accidents near schools are fairly common and call for schools to have reasonable plans in place to ensure student safety on and near the campus.

In addition to a sound safety plan, schools should have properly designed pick up and drop off areas.

If your child has been injured as a pedestrian or bus passenger, please contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation. Insurance application in the school bus setting can be tricky and liability is often disputed in these cases. Early involvement of an attorney is often of great importance. Either way, our consultations are free of charge and without obligation.

Defective toys

It’s an unfortunate reality that children are injured and killed every year by defective toys.

Cheap toys (and also not that cheap) that are defective in design and/or manufacture cause injuries and death to innocent children.

Wiener and Lambka, PS takes pride in representing children who have been injured by defective toys. These can be difficult cases that require expert testimony and are fought against highly profitable companies. Attorney involvement at the earliest stages of a case can make a significant difference down the road. Our consultations are free and without obligation.

Defective property conditions in Seattle

Property hazards that could be legally deemed an “attractive nuisance” should, as a duty, not be created by property owners. Ponds, swimming pools, equipment, and circumstances offering play opportunities often attract children. For property conditions that are inherently dangerous (such as a swimming pool) and would attract a child, property owners should make sure to take reasonable precautions to prevent.

A hazard does not have to be something as obvious as a body of water, however. Adults who are responsible for the safety and welfare of children in their care in their home should make efforts to ensure reasonable precautions for the children’s safety. Owners of dogs, for example, that act aggressively around children should be restrained or confined. A backyard project that is unfinished but presents hazards in terms of sharp edges, nails, unstableness, etc. should be warned of and access to it restricted.

Children ought to be appropriately supervised in the presence of hazards and dangerous activities. We have handled a variety of such cases, including children who fell through a deck, children who were attacked by dogs, and children cut by table saws.

Access allowed through negligence to an inherently dangerous item including firearms

Anyone with a firearm in the home ought to ensure that it cannot be accessed by minors. There is little more tragic than the death of a child due to someone not taking care enough to lock up their firearm. Unsecured firearms and curious children who don’t fully understand the danger of firearms are the ingredients for a disastrous outcome.

Care should not be limited to locking up firearms from minors, but all reasonable precautions should be taken with any inherently dangerous item.Adults have a responsibility to assess how dangerous an item can be, the kind of harm it can inflect, and how easily that harm could happen with a child involved. This is why we don’t keep poisons under the sink, but, instead, up on a high shelf that is out of reach to a child.

Bicycle accidents in Seattle

Bicycle accidents, for many obvious reasons, are much more likely to happen to children. First, they have less ability to properly evaluate risk and danger. They lack experience and the ability to think steps ahead. For this reason, children aren’t allowed to drive until the age of 16 and are restricted until they can demonstrate safe-driving abilities.

In addition to being more likely to ride bikes, children, being smaller, are not as visible when riding bikes as adults and harder for drivers to see.

Some of the most common reasons why bicycle and motor vehicle accidents happen are:

  • Cyclist not adhering to a signal or sign
  • Motor vehicles not abiding by traffic signs and signals
  • Not seeing the cyclist
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Under low-light conditions, lack of proper lighting on bicycle
  • Illegal or unsafe turn by a motor vehicle

Wiener & Lambka, PS strongly advocates helmet use laws not only for children but for anyone else using transportation with risk of fall or head strike.

When your child is in a bicycle accident, immediate medical care is highly important. Even if your child was wearing a helmet, a blow to the head demands an emergency room visit to check for internal bleeding. Also, the police should be called. They investigate and document details of the accident scene, which would be impossible for you if riding in an ambulance or receiving treatment. If possible, take pictures, get the names of witnesses and, once these things have been completed and medical care taken care of, immediately then contact an attorney to discuss your case. With respect to fault and insurance issues, bicycle accidents can be highly complex legally.

Injuries occurring at birth

Claims involving birth injuries are one the most common of all kinds of medical malpractice claims. Wiener & Lambka, PS has successfully handled these types of claims. Every year in Washington state, tens of thousands of children are born without significant complications. Although advances in technology and knowledge have been made, errors still happen with respect to pregnant mothers and birth. If you have concerns about the quality of your care, please consider contacting us for a free consultation.

If you recognize one these conditions in yourself or your child, you should contact a Washington birth injury lawyer for review of medical records. Although having one or more of the following diagnosed doesn’t necessarily mean medical malpractice, asking questions and having a review are reasonable.

  • Baby not breathing or crying at birth
  • Baby born floppy or limp
  • Developmental delays
  • Shaking, repetitive twitching, or long periods of blank staring after birth
  • Seizures in your baby
  • NICU admission
  • Premature rupturing of the membranes
  • Baby born small
  • Baby born too big (macrosomia)
  • The need for resuscitation or ventilation after birth
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neonatal brain damage
  • Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) or cystic PVL
  • Hypoxic – ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus injury
  • Kernicterus
  • Sepsis
  • stroke
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Interacranial hemorrhage
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Placental abruption
  • Preeclcampsia
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placenta previa
  • Vasa previa
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Chorioamnionitis/villitis
  • Group B Strep (GBS)
  • Post-term pregnancy
  • Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
  • low amniotic fluid
  • The misuse of forceps or vacuum
  • Umbilical cord prolapse or compression
  • Lengthy or sporadic labor
  • Breech birth
  • Issues with anesthesia or induction drugs

Car Seat Injuries in Seattle

Car seats are intended to offer some protection to children involved in motor vehicle accidents or car crashes. But occasionally car seats are recalled in the case of defects that threaten the safety of children. If the injuries (or even death) children sustain in a car accident are made worse by a defective car seat, the manufacturer of the car seat along with others may be held liable. If it happens that your child is injured and a car seat subject to recall was involved, you may be able to move forward with a claim regarded the enhanced injuries. These cases are complex both factually and legally as the car seat claim is intermingled with the facts of the actual automobile collision. We suggest contacting a Washington attorney for car seat defects for a free consultation.

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