Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors & Children

Injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American children under the age of eight, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

During a car accident, children may be more likely to suffer serious injuries compared to adult passengers given their small size. A child will not sustain the impact of the collision like an adult and may be more likely to be thrown about the vehicle which makes them more vulnerable to head injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries.

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Every parent wants to do what is best for their child and to ensure their child is safe, secure, and protected from the harms that live in the world. At times, this might mean protecting a child from falling when she stumbles or making sure he always holds an adult’s hand when crossing the street. When it comes to riding in a car, it means selecting a car seat that will keep a child safe in the tragic event that a car accident takes place.

Car seats are a requirement under the laws of Illinois which mandate that all children under eight years old be secured in a car seat. But the laws do not specify which car seat, or even which style, must be used, leaving it up to parents to make those critical decisions. A variety of car seats are on the market and can give parents a range of choices from which to decide but also create the possibility that parents will make the wrong choice, select the wrong seat, or even use it in an improper or faulty manner.

There are numerous places in and around Chicago that offer free safety checks for children’s car seats to ensure that parents are using the right kind of seat and in the right manner to keep their children as safe as possible yet the organizations that offer such checks routinely report that only a small proportion of the city’s parents take advantage of the free car seat review.

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Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, designate one week in September as Child Passenger Safety Week. This year, September 13 through September 19 will bear that designation in an effort to increase public awareness of the issues surrounding the safety of those young people who travel in vehicles.

Issues surrounding the safety of minor passengers in vehicles in Chicago are different than those that apply to adults for a couple of reasons. First, cars are not built with children in mind and that makes children more prone to injuries if a collision occurs. Safety features like air bags can actually do more harm than good to a child and adults should be aware of this prior to placing any small child in a car. Secondly, the safety of a child is dependent upon the actions of an adult. A typical driver can control his or her choices to drive safely, operate without distraction, and to proceed with caution while behind the wheel but a passenger – particularly a young child – does not have that luxury. Not only is a child at the mercy of a driver’s ability to operate a car but that child is also dependent upon an adult to select an appropriate car seat and make sure the child is restrained in it properly.
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You may be surprised to learn that nearly 20 percent of all car accidents in the country occur in parking lots, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Many of these accidents occur at low speeds and fortunately do not leave victims seriously injured; however, some crashes are more severe, especially those that involve pedestrians. When an adult or a child is walking through a parking lot and is hit by a car, common injuries can range from broken bones and bruises to injuries to a head or neck or even to death.

When children are involved in car accidents, parents may be confused and troubled about their options to help their child recover. The laws in Illinois and in Chicago enable victims of any age to obtain financial relief for their losses but when the victim is under the age of 18, different options may be available. Parents may have their own claim in addition to the claims of their injured child and relief may be possible to cover expenses including medical bills. But children are also entitled to additional payment to ensure they are compensated for nonmonetary damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Speaking with a personal injury attorney in Chicago may help you understand whether your family is entitled to relief, and if so, who may be held legally liable for the harm.

On Saturday afternoon, a 14-year-old girl was walking through a parking lot in the South Austin neighborhood of Chicago when she was struck by an SUV. The incident happened in the 4800 block of West Jackson Boulevard shortly before 4:00 p.m. and prompted a response from local police, who have launched an investigation. Authorities believe the girl may have been bending over or crouching, possibly to tie a shoe, when an SUV approached and collided with the teen. The 45-year-old driver of the SUV was questioned by police and was issued multiple citations for his role in the accident, which left the girl in critical condition.

Emergency crews transported the teen by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries.
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Many of the car accidents that occur in Chicago involve multiple vehicles colliding together. Whether caused by a speeding driver, a failure to yield, or a failure to stop for traffic, most people imagine an impact with at least two vehicles when they think of a car accident.

But that is not the only way that collisions occur in the city and across the rest of Illinois. Annually, many single vehicle car crashes occur as cars leave a road’s surface and roll over, strike a fixed object like a building or a tree, or otherwise crash without an impact from a second vehicle.

When a single car collision happens, those injured in that crash may be entitled to relief against a driver if the driver made mistakes or against any other entity that caused the crash, like a tire company that produced a flawed tire, causing it to blow and leading to an impact. Speaking with a lawyer who represents the victims of car crashes may help you understand if a recovery is possible in your case and who may be held civilly liable for your damages.

At approximately 12:20 a.m. on Monday morning, a single vehicle accident occurred on Chicago’s south side in the Washington Heights neighborhood. It appears that a vehicle struck a median on West 95th Avenue and then left the road and struck a tree which caused the vehicle to come to a rest. Two adults and three children were inside the vehicle and all were injured in the crash.

The adults, ages 25 and 22, were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center and Little Company of Mary Hospital, respectively. Both were expected to survive. One of the children was allegedly found outside of the car but in a car seat when officials arrived. That child was transported to Advocate Christ Hospital as well in serious to critical condition. The condition of the other two children is not clear at this time.

Authorities are still looking into the incident and trying to determine what led to the crash, including whether distraction or intoxication played a role. At this time, no charges against the driver have been reported.
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A 27-year-old Chicago man has been charged in an accident that left a 2-year-old girl dead on Friday night, according to local authorities.

The man was reportedly driving near the 5700 block of South Morgan Street on the city’s south side just before 6:30 a.m. The driver allegedly ran a stop sign and struck a 2-year-old girl who was walking in the area with her great-grandmother, on the way to daycare for the day. After hitting the child, the driver continued down the road and ran through several construction markers before striking a parked car and coming to a stop.

The damage to the man’s vehicle left it inoperable so police say the man fled on foot. The man did not make it very far before he was apprehended in connection with the collision and taken into custody where he has been charged with reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence causing death, and driving without a license or insurance, all of which are aggravated by the incident involving a construction scene. Police stated that the man’s blood alcohol content was 0.252 at the time of the crash which is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 in Illinois.

The 2-year-old victim was transported by ambulance to Comer Children’s Hospital but her injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead as a result of the crash.

If the facts alleged are proved to be true, this truly tragic crash need not have ever happened. A driver who chooses to operate a car while under the influence of alcohol breaks the laws of Illinois and also places the safety of those in the area at risk. Studies have routinely shown that a drunk driver is less careful, slower to react, and more likely to cause a collision than a sober driver, meaning that other motorists, pedestrians, a bicyclists may all be in danger of being the victim of a drunk driver’s negligence.

Children can be victims of drunk driving accidents and unfortunately multiple children in Illinois die every year as a result of these crashes. In some cases, a child victim is inside the same car as a drunk driver. In other accidents, the child is in a separate vehicle that is hit by a drunk driver. And still in other situations, like the one on Friday, a child is walking or riding a bicycle when she becomes an accident vehicle.

Drunk drivers face criminal penalties for their actions but they may also face civil penalties by the way of a claim brought on behalf of accident victims. In the case of a child who is hurt by a driver, a parent or guardian may be able to make a claim on the child’s behalf against the responsible driver for monetary damages for the benefit of the child. This claim make seek compensation for medical bills that were incurred or pain and suffering experienced by the child as well as other damages that might arise.
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A late Saturday night car crash on the south side of Chicago left a 3-year-old boy dead. The incident occurred in the 3900 block of West 47th Street on the southwest side of Chicago and authorities report that the boy was not in the vehicle but rather a pedestrian at the time of the accident.

Emergency personnel responded to the scene and transported the child to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment but he did not survive his injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after 11:00 p.m. Saturday. The Chicago Police Department confirmed that they arrested the driver and currently have him in custody but they have not stated how the accident occurred or what crimes have been levied against the driver.

Any car accident that involves an injury can be devastating, but it always seems worse when the victim is a child. Not only did this young child lost his life, but his family and community lost one of their own. When a child is killed, the loss extends to all of those who surrounded the child during life, including teachers, neighbors, daycare employees, and friends.

Accidents involving children or minors, who are those under the age of 18, can happen in all the same ways that accidents to adults occur. Some of the most common types of accidents and injures involving kids are car accidents, school bus accidents, lead poisoning, broken bones, playground injuries, bicycle accidents, swimming pool accidents, and accidents while a child is a pedestrian. The law recognizes that children do not have the same ability to make rational and safe decisions as adults so the law requires all adults to exercise care when it comes to the safety of children.

When an adult or other person fails to act with caution around a child, an accident might occur and the child might get injured, or worse, killed. An injury or death to a child will leave the child’s family with certain rights, including the right to make a financial claim for damages against the person responsible. Depending on the specific accident and the injuries that result, these claims can be small and minor or large and complicated. When a child is injured, the last thing parents should have to worry about is whether they can afford to get their child the medical treatment the child needs to recover.
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A school bus reportedly struck several vehicles in a chain-reaction crash that occurred in suburban Niles. According to Park Ridge Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Sorensen, at least five crashes took place on Oakton Street between Prospect Avenue and Greenwood Avenue along the border between the towns of Park Ridge and Niles. Sorensen said the westbound bus allegedly hit several vehicles and kept traveling. In addition, at least one vehicle was reportedly struck head-on and another caught fire. Still another automobile was allegedly forced into a nearby house where it purportedly caused structural damage to the garage.

The exact cause of the incident is now under investigation by the Park Ridge Police Department. Authorities stated the chain of crashes may have resulted from a medical emergency that involved the school bus driver. Thankfully, the school bus was not carrying any children at the time of the traffic wreck. Sorensen stated paramedics transported at least one adult to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge with undisclosed injuries following the accident.

Although there were no children on board the school bus involved in this particular incident, a situation like this could have resulted in tragedy. Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation states there were 2,418 school bus crashes throughout Illinois in 2008. As a result of those accidents, 123 students and 99 school bus drivers were injured. Since students generally do not wear seat belts while riding school buses, the injuries children may suffer in a collision can be catastrophic or fatal. Common injuries children may suffer during a school bus crash include back, neck, and traumatic brain injuries, and fractured bones. The parents of a student who was injured while riding a school bus in Illinois may bring a lawsuit on behalf of their child in order to recover medical expenses, suffering and pain, loss of normal life, and a number of other damages. If your child was hurt in a Chicago area school bus wreck, you are advised to discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately.
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Shopping for the right booster seat is much easier now with the rating system that the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just released.

More than 30 seats have made it on the “Best Bets” list. Seats on this list mean that they fit most children aged 4- to 8-years old and help to ensure that a seat belt fits correctly and comfortably on your child. Properly used booster seats can help to prevent the injury or death of your child during a car accident in Chicago. The seats are affordable for all parents as they range anywhere from $15 to a couple hundred bucks.Our Chicago child injury attorneys understand how important it is to choose a car seat that fits your child correctly. About 70 percent of car seats used in the U.S. are used incorrectly. We ask that you take a moment and review the seats on the new “Best Bets” list to ensure that you’re getting the best car seat for your child.

In addition to the “Best Bets” list, there are now 5 new seats on the “Good Bets” list. Child car seats on this list prove to provide acceptable seat belt fittings in most vehicles. Nearly 10 seats have been deemed as unusable because they don’t properly fit into most vehicles.

Booster seats should be used by children who exceed the weight and height limits for front-facing child seats. In a booster seat, a child should be elevated so that the adult’s seat belt will fit properly across their body. Some seats are able to seat your child more safely than others. One of the most common mistakes made by consumers is that they correlate price with quality, which isn’t always the case. The booster seat rating system was started back in 2008 to help parents to equip their vehicle with the devices that will best protect their child in the event of an accident.

“A Best Bet means any of these top-rated boosters should work well in the family SUV or the babysitter’s sedan,” says Anne McCartt, the Institute’s senior vice president for research.

In the last wave of ratings, the IIHS rated more than 60 different booster seats. More than 20 of them appeared twice in the lists. These kinds of seats are ones that can be used as backless of highback booster seats. There were 11 more seats evaluated this year than last year.

These lists are not created from crash test results. They’re based on how well they’d fit a young child. The test is conducted by placing an average-sized child dummy in the seat and then examining the fit of the belt. There were 10 seats on the Best Bets list in 2008, only 9 in 2009 and more than 20 in 2010.

According to McCartt, there are more seats that fail to properly secure your child into a vehicle’s seat than those that can. In a booster seat, a seat belt should fit across a child’s upper thigh and across the middle of your child’s shoulder.

Car seats have been proven time and time again to be effective in saving a child’s life in the event of an accident. The determining factor in these events is the parents and their decision to choose the proper seat and to buckle them up in it every time.

For a complete list of which seats made the cut, visit the IIHS’ Booster Seat Evaluation page.
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National Passenger Safety Week is taking place from September 18th to the 24th. During this time, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will be continuing its efforts to help keep child passengers safe in the event of a car accident in Chicago or elsewhere in the state. During the 2011 safety campaign, the Department of Human Services will be joining the ISP to conduct a number of events and child seat inspections to help parents to learn how to properly buckle a child in a motor vehicle.ISP Trooper Mindy Carroll says that all parents and guardians are encouraged to attend these events and to have their child’s car seat inspected by a certified technician. During this time, parents will be taught how to properly buckle in a child’s car seat. Recent statistics show that roughly 75 percent of child seats are improperly installed into motor vehicles.

Our Illinois child injury attorneys ask that all parents do their part to help keep our children safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were nearly 1,500 children who were age 14-years-old or younger who were killed and another 180,000 who were injured in motor-vehicle accidents in 2009 in the U.S. We would also like to point out that nearly 250 child lives ages 4 and younger were saved in 2008 because they were properly buckled in their child seat. When these seats are used properly, they can reduce the risk of death by more than 70 percent for infants. The seats have the ability to decrease the risk of death for toddlers aged 1- to 4-years-old by more than 50 percent. Booster seats can reduce the risk of injury for children ages 4- to 7-years-old by nearly 60 percent.

“It’s very important the car seat is secured properly inside the car and the child is secured properly inside the seat,” says Carroll.

According to Carroll, the ISP follows the most recent child car seat recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Carroll goes on to instruct Illinois parents to keep all children that are under the age of 13 in the back seat. She also suggests that you keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they’re within the seat’s height and weight limits as set forth by the manufacturer.

Illinois has enacted the Child Passenger Protection Act to further its efforts to keep our child passengers safe. This Act holds parents and guardians responsible for keeping children under the age of 8 safely and properly restrained in a child-safety seat. If you’re busted with a child passenger who is not properly restrained, you can face a $75 fine for the first conviction. Illinois will waive the fee if you can prove that you have purchased or received an approved child seat and have had a technician properly install it into the vehicle.
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