Articles Posted in Child Injury

As a parent, you want nothing more than to ensure your baby is safe and healthy. From the moment of birth onward, you can take several precautions to ensure your child’s development is on track.

Staying aware of potential issues your baby may have is essential to this process. One of the most important things to keep an eye out for is birth injuries. These can range from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious conditions like cerebral palsy or broken bones. The signs aren’t always easy to spot, so knowing what to look for is important.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the most common types of birth injuries and offer some advice on how to identify them in your child. We’ll also share some tips for getting professional help if you suspect an underlying problem with your baby’s health.

Dealing with the aftermath of a serious birth injury can often leave parents and other family members devastated and not knowing where to turn. Babies who are injured at birth can live an entire lifetime with physical disabilities, neurological disorders, and emotional instability. Long term medical care, ongoing physical and psychological therapy, and at-home learning may be necessary for a child who suffers from a severe injury during the labor and delivery process. 

However, the reality is that most injuries caused at birth are usually the result of negligence by the medical staff. This is why it is crucial to know what signs to look for to detect a birth injury in its early stages. You only have a limited period to file a birth injury claim in Port St. Lucie against the at-fault party. Inquiring with an experienced birth injury lawyer may be essential to help you hold the at-fault parties liable for the full and fair amount of compensation you may legally deserve.

At the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our compassionate lawyers understand the struggles parents and family members face when a baby is injured during the birthing process. Our dedicated lawyers have more than 40 years of combined legal experience, which includes cases involving birth injuries. We offer free, first-time consultations to discuss whether your birth injury claim may be eligible for compensation. Allow our team of legal professionals guide you through the complexities of the legal process and help you pursue the compensation you may need for a healthy recovery.

In April of 2019, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing whether the plaintiffs were properly allowed to amend their complaint to add a claim for punitive damages against the defendant. Ultimately, the court concluded that the trial court followed the required procedures when granting the plaintiffs leave to amend, and that the appellate court did not have jurisdiction to reconsider the lower court’s substantive legal decision once it determined the procedures were followed.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiffs were the parents of a young girl who was seriously injured when she fell from a ride called “Psycho Swing.” The safety harness was not installed on the ride at the time of the girl’s injury. The plaintiffs filed a personal injury claim against several parties, including the defendant, which was the company that owned the ride and leased it to the company that was operating it when the plaintiff was injured. The plaintiffs claimed that the ride was missing crucial safety equipment and was being operated without the instruction manual.

Initially, the plaintiff sought punitive damages from all other defendants but not the defendant involved in this appeal. However, the plaintiffs soon after requested a second hearing, seeking leave to amend their complaint to add a claim for punitive damages against this defendant. The court considered evidence from the first hearing, as well as deposition testimony from the creator of the ride who stated, among other things, that providing the swing to another company without the safety harness was “unconscionably something that you shouldn’t do.” After hearing all the evidence, the court determined that there was a reasonable basis for the plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages. The defendant filed an immediate appeal.

Medical malpractice claims in Florida are treated differently than general negligence claims. For one, plaintiffs in Florida medical malpractice cases have to follow certain procedural requirements before filing a lawsuit. Another difference is that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years, and to two years for general negligence claims. Whether a claim falls under the definition of “medical malpractice” is not always clear, as a recent Florida Supreme Court case illustrates.

Medical Malpractice in Florida

In Florida, medical malpractice is defined under Florida Statute § 766.106(1)(a) as a “claim, arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.” Florida courts have decided that to be considered a medical malpractice claim, the negligent act had to “ar[ise] out of medical . . . diagnosis, treatment, or care,” and the diagnosis, treatment, or care had to be “rendered by a provider of health care.”

Florida Supreme Court Defines Medical Malpractice in Lawsuit Against National Deaf Academy

The Florida Supreme Court recently decided a case that considered the definition of a medical malpractice claim. In that case, a woman brought a claim against the National Deaf Academy after she was injured as a resident there. One day, while she was residing at the treatment facility, she threw rocks at the staff and the building and pulled on the building’s cables and wires in an attempt to remove them. A nurse attempted to restrain the resident, and both of them fell, causing the resident to injure her leg.

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Last Saturday was busy. I had spent the week working on a particularly difficult case, so I admit I was exhausted to start with. The weekend brought the usual barrage of errands and soccer games, lost cleats and lack of parking, and I very soon found myself close to the end of my proverbial rope. Getting out of the car, I dropped my keys, wallet, water bottle, and extra shirt, causing me to let out a string of expletives usually reserved for private moments away from my kids. In the midst of the chaos, my young daughter came over and put her hand on my face. “It’s ok, Daddy. I’ll help.” And my world was right again.

For parents, children are literally the center of our universe. We exalt in their highs and sympathize with their lows. We beam with pride over their smallest accomplishments and spend sleepless nights worrying about their future. We attend their sporting events and school activities, and we work hard to make sure they are happy, healthy, and that they have the best lives possible.

Most importantly, we strive to protect them and to keep them safe.

During the month of August, back to school activities are in full swing. As a parent, my number one priority for my children is to ensure their safety. This is why I would like to talk about bullying.

Bullying can happen anywhere, on the playground, in the classroom, on the school bus, or even online. It’s hard to know what to do when you suspect bullying behavior, however, no one knows your child better than you. Trust them and have a confidence in your instincts. If you think something isn’t right, you are probably correct.

Be active with your children, make your children feel empowered to do something if they see someone being bullied. Empower your children with the knowledge that it is ok to come forward. Children are often reluctant to say something because they feel ashamed, embarrassed or afraid.

Although we expect all products to be “safe,” there are certain products for which our expectation of safety is  heightened. Indeed, given the vulnerability of children, products intended for use by juveniles are expected to be designed in a manner that accounts for both youthful impetuousness and relative physical fragility. Nevertheless, not all products meet reasonable expectations. For instance, in a recent decision, Bogatov v. City of Hallandale Beach, the Fourth District Court of Appeal was tasked with determining whether liability could be imposed on the manufacturer of an allegedly defective jungle gym.

Bogatov started with a fall at the playground of a Hallandale Beach park. The plaintiff in this case is the father of a two-year-old who was at the playground with his nanny when he fell. The child sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall, and local law enforcement investigated the incident. During the investigation, the nanny, who was the only eyewitness to the fall, told law enforcement that the child was on the jungle gym at the time of the fall. Following this string of events, the father filed suit against the city of Hallandale Beach, alleging that the city’s negligence in maintaining the playground resulted in the child’s injury. The complaint was later amended to add the jungle gym’s manufacturer, which the plaintiff alleged was negligent in the design and construction of the jungle gym, in particular by failing to place grasping handles on the jungle gym.

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In a recent and interesting decision, School Board of Miami-Dade County v. Martinez-Oller, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal addressed whether a high school principal was negligent for failing to disclose a student’s poor disciplinary record to one of her teachers who witnessed an attack perpetrated by that student against another. In an unanimous decision, the Third District determined that the principal did not owe a duty of care to disseminate the student’s disciplinary records, and thus the principal and the school could not be deemed negligent.

The altercation at issue in the case occurred on March 22, 2010. The students were in a world history class when one student directed opprobrious language at another. Insulted, the student hurled an eight-pound textbook at the other. The book made contact with the other student and fractured his eye socket. The teacher was only about three feet away from the students when the incident happened, but the teacher didn’t hear the triggering language. A little more than a year later, the injured student, by and through his parents, brought suit against the school district. The plaintiff asserted claims sounding in negligent supervision, arguing that the principal had a duty to report the attacker’s previous disciplinary incidents to teachers. Under federal law, a student’s educational records, including disciplinary records, are entitled to privacy but may be disclosed to teachers if there is a “legitimate educational interest.” Under Florida law, disciplinary records are maintained at the school but are only accessible to the principal and vice principal unless there is a legitimate educational interest determination made authorizing their dissemination. Although no determination had been made, the trial court had directed a verdict with respect to the issue of whether the principal and, by extension, the school district owed a duty to disclose the student’s prior disciplinary issues to her teachers. The jury was instructed on this and further instructed that the only issue remaining for its determination was whether harm to the injured student was “caused” by the school’s failure to disseminate these records.

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