As most every parent, teacher and community leader intrinsically knows; our children represent the future of this planet. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues also know that there is no greater tragedy than when a child has been seriously injured or killed in a senseless traffic accident. Whether as passengers in a motor vehicle or as pedestrians walking to school or riding their bicycles, youngsters can be hurt in passenger car or commercial vehicle collisions just as easily as their adult counterparts, perhaps even easier.
Kids can receive injuries in any number of accident scenarios, but traffic accidents are only one category. Many children are hurt or killed each year as a result of dog bites, swimming pool accidents or defective playthings, as well as through pharmacy misfills, physician negligence or hospital errors when they are already being treated for a medical problem. As an aside, each of the latter items requires proof that another party was negligent and that the alleged negligence was the cause of the child’s injuries or death.
As auto and commercial trucking accident lawyers, we know the law and how to apply it to cases of child injury. For example, the parents of an injured minor child are entitled to pursue compensation for the costs of a child’s past, present, and future medical treatment and rehabilitation following a bad accident. Since most families cannot afford around-the-clock medical care for a child, parents can actually file a lawsuit in order to recover medical expenses associated a child’s injuries and subsequent treatment.
When injuries lead to death, and the parents can prove negligence or recklessness, the responsible party or parties can be liable for costs associated with the injury to and death of the child, including intangibles such as loss of the child’s companionship, love and affection. Claims of this type go under the heading of “wrongful death.” Under these circumstances, if the child suffered physical pain and mental anguish from the moment of the injury to the time of the child’s death, his or her parents can file what is known as a “survival action.”
Hopefully no accident or negligent act will lead to this last type of legal claim against a responsible party; and, fortunately, the police, fire and emergency services personnel throughout Maryland are around to help victims, both young and old, following serious traffic accidents and other incidents involving severe or life-threatening injuries. Take, for instance, the training exercise that took place last fall in Baltimore County, when first responders responded to a mock school bus accident.
According to news reports, a whole range of EMS and other emergency responders took to the street as part of a drill to sharpen their rescue skills and prepare them for the real thing, which we all trust will never happen. Based on reports, the mock accident involved a school bus full of kids. The rehearsal was apparently quite timely, as there had been a string of bus-related traffic accidents all across the nation at the time of the drill.
Funded by a federal grant as well as private donations, the mock emergency was “precipitated” by an imaginary three-vehicle crash that involved a school bus and its young passengers. The activity, which is likely one of many around the county, was designed to prepare local emergency personnel — in this case those from the Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company — for a similar crisis that could happen anytime in real life.
Safety experts have been saying for many years, ever since the 9/11 terror attacks, that first responders can benefit most from real-life simulations in order to stay ready for the real thing. While no one would ever want a situation like a severe school bus accident to happen in their backyard, having professional trained to meet the challenge of an actual large-scale emergency like this is reassuring in many respects.
Baltimore County First Responders Perform School Bus Accident Mock Drill, CBSLocal.com, November 17, 2012