Archive for the ‘Child Injury Accidents’ Category

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Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms Can Persist for Years

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weve all heard the expression thats used when a football player takes a blow to the head and appears shaken up on the field. Commentators virtually make light of the situation by saying, He got his bell rung, which gives the definite impression that if the player goes to the sidelines for a few plays, hell be ready to go again by the next series of downs.

Up until recently, doctors didnt do much to dampen that view. They have long expressed the opinion that the effects of a bang to the head in a car accident, or when playing sports, or when someone trips and falls and hits their head off the floor will dissipate within a short period of time, given a bit of rest and relaxation for the victim.

This theory regarding head injuries has taken a knock of its own recently. A new University of Oklahoma study indicates that traumatic brain injury symptoms can last for years. In many cases, not only do the symptoms not disappear, they dont even decrease in intensity. (more…)

For Insurance Companies, YOUR Time is THEIR Money

Posted by Sean DuBois on Saturday, July 6, 2013

Insurance companies are happy to use delay as a tactic when they are trying to avoid paying a claim. They do this in many cases, but it can get particularly egregious in wrongful death cases, such as the case against Bold Earth Teen Adventures for the death of Tyler Madoff.

Tyler was 15 years old when he went on a trip from his home in White Plains, NY to the Big Island of Hawaii. While there, he went on a tour with Bold Earth, which allegedly stopped the tour group for a rest in an area that was not permitted by the state, and that was experiencing dangerous surf warnings. While they were resting, a wave took Tyler away. His body has not been found.

Tyler’s family brought a wrongful death claim against Bold Earth. But rather than offer a reasonable settlement, Bold Earth and their insurance company decided to fight the lawsuit. And rather than fight the suit by telling their side of the story and letting a jury decide, Bold Earth is using legal procedures to try to gain an unfair advantage and to delay the case. (more…)

Minors Can Get Counseling Without Telling Parents…But Can’t Tan

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

There is an interesting juxtaposition of bills affecting the rights of minors going through the Oregon legislature these days. One that gives minors more rights, and one that takes rights away. I’m in favor of both of them – giving rights with one hand, and taking them away with the other.

Senate Bill 491 – Teens Can Get Counseling

Senate Bill 491 passed the Senate 26-3, but has not been voted on by the House yet. This bill would allow children who are 14 or older to get mental health treatment for depression or other emotional issues, including drug addiction, without parental consent. Kids cannot get methadone treatment for their drug addiction under this bill, just counseling. (more…)

Oregon Child Safety Laws for Car Seats

Posted by Sean DuBois on Monday, September 24, 2012

Every state has its own set of laws. And while the Oregon child safety laws are similar to others in the U.S. either, they do have their differences. Following these safety laws will ultimately lead to much safer situations when a child is in a driving situation. Lets take a look at how to properly keep a child safe when driving a vehicle.

Car Seat Laws

As of January 1st, 2012, new Oregon child safety laws came into effect which said that children must be restrained while keeping the following guidelines in mind:

  • Approved Safety Seats: Each child must be in a safety states that have been approved by the state.
  • Weight: A child must continue to be restrained in a safety seat until he or she is forty pounds or over.

Keep in mind, children who are forty pounds or over must graduate to a booster seat if they havent reach 49 or the age of 8. Booster seats dont need to be utilized if the rear seats of a vehicle only have lap belts. In this case, under Oregon child safety laws, the child would need to be restrained by the lap belts.

Safety Belt Laws

For any child who is 8 years of age or 49 or taller, he or she must be wearing a safety belt when the vehicle is operational. The child needs to be secured across the thighs and positioned over the collarbone for maximum safety. Failing to follow these guidelines would result in no following the Oregon child safety laws.

Pickup Truck Laws

The Oregon child safety laws also have regulations when it comes to pickup trucks and their beds. For one, no child who is under 18 years old is allowed to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. If for whatever reason this happens and the individual is caught, the driver will have to pay a $242.00 fine. This law is designed to keep the child safe by not allowing them to ride in the most dangerous part of the truck.

Other Considerations

Why are these laws in place? Well, the Oregon child safety laws were designed to keep children safe in all driving situations. These laws basically dictate how the child is supposed to be restrained once the vehicle has gone operational. Failing to comply with these laws can result in a few things including having your license revoked, paying a fine, or doing both of these and then going to jail.

Conclusion

Safety laws for children in Oregon basically state that a child must remain in a verified restrainer until they reach 40 pounds. Once this time arrives, they need to continue sitting in a booster chair until they either reach the age of 8 or reach the height of 49. And finally, Oregon child safety laws require that any children under the age of 18 are now allowed to sit in the back of a pickup truck.

 

Portland Sports Injury Attorneys: Laws Now Favor Victims

Posted by Sean DuBois on Friday, September 7, 2012

Tens of thousands of Oregon children are involved in organized sports every year, and one thing is as certain as night following day. When kids get involved in sports, some of them get hurt.

Many parents are left devastated when the sport their child played with such joy and passion ends up causing a devastating injury. In addition, many of those parents feel (without ever seeking legal advice from an Oregon sports injury attorney) that those accidents, while unfortunate, are one of the risks of taking part in any vigorous activity.

The fact is, the law allows for children who have been injured playing organized sports to be compensated in many cases, like the one involving Steven Domalewski, of Wayne, New Jersey. The now 18-year-old lives with his parents, and after his 2006 accident when playing Little League baseball, he will require care for the rest of his life.

Little League, the bat manufacturer, and a sporting goods chain were responsible

Steven was 12 years old and pitching for his Little League team when the accident happened. He threw a pitch; the batter swung and connected with his metal bat, and the line drive smashed into Stevens chest, just above the heart.

Steven was knocked to the ground and according to people who were at the game, including his parents, he tried to reach for the ball in an attempt to throw it to first base.

He never made it that far.

Doctors say the ball struck Steven in that precise fraction of a second between heart beats. The severe impact of the ball caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Steven collapsed and stopped breathing. By the time his father and the other teams third base coach got to him, he had already turned blue.

Within 90 seconds, a man trained in CPR jumped over the fence and started trying to resuscitate Steven. Paramedics were doing a CPR demonstration a mere 400 yards from the field and were with Steven within a matter of a couple of minutes. They placed an oxygen mask over his face and rushed him to a hospital, but the damage had already been done. Stevens brain had been without oxygen for between 15 and 20 minutes, according to doctors who testified on his behalf.

The lawsuit named three plaintiffs, all of whom were partially liable for the brain damage Steven suffered when his brain was starved of oxygen. The main points of their claim were:

  • Little League had certified that the specific metal bat being used by the hitter on the day Steven was injured was safe for use in games involving children. They approved the use of the metal bat.
  • Little League apparently recognized the potential for danger in the use of metal bats as far back as the early 1990s, when they asked manufacturers to limit the metal bats performance to that of the best wooden bats.
  • In 2008, two years after Stevens injury, the crackdown on the performance of metal bats was being credited for reducing the number of injuries to Little League pitchers from 145 per year down to somewhere between 20 and 30 per year.
  • Little League has also said that the use of most metal bats by young children had been banned for the 2012 season. Older kids can still use some metal bats, as long as they remain within prescribed weight and size limits.
  • The Sports Authority, which is the national sporting goods retailer who sold the metal bat at the time was also named as a defendant. At the conclusion of the trial, they declined the opportunity to comment.
  • Finally, Hillerich and Bradsby, the manufacturers of the Louisville Slugger metal bat in question, were also named as defendants in the lawsuit. When asked for comment, they would only confirm that a settlement had been reached but had nothing else to say.

Stevens lawsuit was settled, according to an announcement in New Jerseys State Superior Court last Wednesday. He is to receive $14.5 million, and his family says this will allow Steven to receive the care he will require for the rest of his life.

His parents say he still cant perform any of the functions required in daily life without assistance, and there is no real hope that he will be able to do so in the future.

Oregon sports injuries

Portland sports injury attorneys point out that athletic facilities are required by law to provide safe, functional equipment, and they can be held liable if a patron is injured on their premises. This can apply to schools, organizations, teams and gyms.

Children are especially susceptible to sports injuries, because their bodies are still forming. In Oregon, football injuries tend to be the most severe, as it is traditionally the sport with the greatest amount of high-speed contact. The types of injuries suffered include:

  • Head injuries, including concussion
  • Neck injuries, including fractures, pinched or damaged nerves, or compression injuries
  • Back or spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones

Of course, sports injuries in Oregon arent limited to football. Other popular sports which can, if not properly monitored or when the appropriate equipment is not used in the correct manner, lead to serious and life-changing injuries include:

  • Rugby
  • Cheerleading
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Equestrian sports
  • Diving

The line between unfortunate accident and ultimately preventable injury is a fine one, and its hard for parents to know whether or not they have a case. Unfortunately, the statutes of limitation in Oregon for making sports injury claims are quite strict.

One thing is as certain as the fact that injuries will occur, and that is the cost of treating those injuries will be high. Are you absolutely certain that someone else shouldnt be footing the bill for your son or daughters medical expenses?

If youre in any doubt as to who might be liable for your childs sports injury, dont hesitate, because time is not on your side. Contact our experienced Portland sports injury attorneys for a free consultation. In this particular game, they really do know the score, and they will advise you on the strengths of your claim and whether or not you should pursue a lawsuit. If you decide to go ahead, they will guide you through every step of the process, handle the paper work and deal with the insurance companies, so you can concentrate on helping your child get better.

Teen Driving Laws Getting Tougher

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The days of the double date or those of eight teens piling into the car for a quick trip to the Dairy Queen are being legislated out of existence by state legislatures. Strict limits are being placed on the number of teens that can occupy a car at any given time, and the police and other law enforcement agencies are constantly seeking new and easier ways to identify teens flouting the laws.

As of this year, the restrictions on the number of teens a teenage driver can have in the car are tighter than ever. Currently, no fewer than 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, prohibit teenage drivers from having even one other teen in the car, and all but seven states have passed statutes making it illegal to have more than one other teen in the vehicle.

Curfews are being established, too

Its not just the number of teens in a car that is being legislated for in many states. South Carolina teens can forget driving to the 8 p.m. showing of the latest movie blockbuster. That state forbids teens from driving at all after 6 p.m. in the winter months, and 8 p.m. in the summer.

Idaho, too, has laws placing restrictions on when a teen can get behind the wheel. The rules in that state prohibit teen driving from sundown to sunup. New Jersey makes teenagers wait longer than any other state before they c an even get their license. They have the highest licensing age in the country, at 17.

New Jersey even insists that teens place a red decal on their license plates to make it easier for the police to spot rule infractions. Now, some legislators are pushing for even tougher laws that would require parents of teen drivers to complete a driver education course.

Why so tough on teens?

The new, tougher laws doubtless place a hardship on some families. For example, a licensed teenage driver cannot, in many states, drive his or her teenage siblings to and from school. Cases have been cited where a parent has to follow their teenage son or daughter to school in a separate car in order to get the remaining children to class.

The campaign to tighten laws on when and how teens can drive shows no signs of abating. If anything, theyre getting tougher. North Dakota was the last state in the country to introduce graduated drivers licenses (they introduced them in January of this year), and 29 states have actually introduced more restrictive clauses to existing legislation since 2009.

The reasons for the tougher laws are simple enough to understand when the statistics related to injury-causing or fatal crashes are revealed. Teen drivers may not like the new laws, which they deem as unfair and unnecessary, but its hard to argue with the facts.

Some of the numbers revealed by a variety of studies make it hard to argue that the more stringent laws are either unfair or unnecessary. They show that:

  • Car crashes, even with the tighter laws, remain the leading cause of death for teens.
  • Teens have a crash rate that is four times higher than older drivers.
  • A staggering two-thirds of accidents leading to the death of a teen occur in a car being driven by another teen.
  • The risk of a teenager being involved in a crash increases by 44 percent with only one teenage passenger.
  • If three or more teenage passengers are in the car with a teen driver, the chances of crashing increase by a shocking 400 percent!

The same studies reveal the harsh reasons behind the much higher crash and fatality levels. Research has shown that:

  • Teenage drivers have a strong tendency to overrate their own driving skills.
  • Teens also tend to drastically (and dangerously) underestimate road hazards and risks.
  • Teenagers are less able to multitask while driving, particularly in areas like:
    • Talking to friends in the car
    • Listening to the radio while driving
    • Texting

The tougher laws are working

In spite of the hardship (whether real or perceived) caused by the tighter controls on teen driving, safety campaigners proudly point to studies that show the new laws have had a significant effect on reducing the number of traffic deaths involving teenage drivers and passengers.

This success seems to be spurring states into taking even tougher stances on laws relating to teen driving. This explains the rapid increase in the number of states introducing or further tightening driving curfews, as well as the restrictions on the number of teen passengers.

The federal government is also encouraging states, through a number of incentives, to tighten laws on teen driving even further.

The new highway bill, just passed this summer, set up a range of incentives for those states that place further restrictions on teenage drivers. In particular, the federal government wants states to:

  • Place stricter limits on the number of passengers teens can carry and the hours they can drive
  • Place a blanket ban on the use of cell phones by teenage drivers, even those using hands-free headsets
  • Extend new and existing restrictions up to the age of 18 in states where they currently end at age 17 or earlier
  • Examine the possibility of tying drivers licenses to school attendance

Justin McNaull, Director of State Relations for the AAA, would like to see passenger limits extended until drivers reach the age of 21, or possibly even 25. We dont want to say that teens are a menace to us all, but the reality is, when teen drivers crash, its people in other cars or teen passengers who end up dying, McNaull said.

Oregon laws on teen driving

Oregon has taken its own steps in an effort to reduce the number of teenage accidents on state roads. Whats more, the state has introduced stringent penalties for teenage drivers who flout the laws.

One example is the complete ban on anyone under the age of 18 using a cell phone or any other text messaging device while driving. The use of hands-free devices is no excuse. A conviction of this law, among several others, will count towards those that will lead to the offender being placed in the Provisional Driver Improvement Program.

Under this program, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles will restrict the privileges of any driver under the age of 18 for 90 days. They will only be permitted to drive for work purposes and even then with no passengers other than a parent, stepparent or guardian. A teenage driver will be placed in the program if they have:

  • Two convictions
  • Two accidents (whether or not the teen driver was at fault)
  • A combination of one conviction and one accident

Drivers who are in the first year of a provisional license will face further restrictions, and any violation of those restrictions will result in increasingly severe penalties. A third conviction or accident during the initial restrictions will result in the DMV suspending all your driving privileges for six months, regardless of whether you turn 18 during the suspension period.

Teenagers see driving as a rite of passage, but with rights come responsibilities. Other road users also have the right to safe passage along Oregon streets, roads and highways. Sadly and all too frequently, innocent drivers, passengers, pedestrians or bicyclists are the victims of drivers who were driving too fast or who were distracted by friends, phones or music.

If youve been injured in a road traffic accident that wasnt your fault, you also have rights. For a complete explanation of the options available to you and your family, contact a dedicated Portland personal injury attorney. The consultation is free, so make the call and find out how you can go about recovering your medical expenses and lost wages. A good lawyer is the best place to start.

Oregon Skateboarding Laws: The Basics

Posted by Sean DuBois on Friday, August 17, 2012

Skateboarding was once considered a fad, a momentary craze; something that would fade out as fast as cork-soled clogs and the beehive hairdo. It would now seem, however, that skateboarding is here to stay. It is heavily featured in extreme sports competitions worldwide, and in Oregon, moving around on a thin wooden board with four wheels attached seems to be popular with kids from 6 to 76.

In fact, the City of Portland and the State of Oregon are taking the skateboarding “craze” so seriously, they have passed laws to govern the use of skateboards in public places.

It wasnt easy to get the Oregon skateboarding laws passed that allowed skateboarders to share city streets with cars, buses and trucks. When the ordinance was proposed that effectively legitimized the use of skateboards in public places, back in December of 2000, the mayor of the day, Vera Katz, said she felt spending council time debating such an ordinance was utterly foolish. In spite of the objections, City Ordinance 20.12.205 was passed on January 26, 2001, and while skateboarders around Portland and Oregon rejoiced, the bill, the new laws do place a number of restrictions and provisions upon the use of skateboards. In Portland, those provisions include:

  • Skateboards may not be used in the downtown core area, which is the zone between SW Jefferson, Naito Parkway, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue. All other city streets and sidewalk are fair game.
  • Another no-go area is the Tri-Met bus mall on 5th and 6th Avenues; the streets and sidewalks there are prohibited in terms of skateboarding use.
  • Anyone 16 or under must, by law (and through pure common sense) must wear a helmet when skateboarding in public. Fines will be issued for those who dont obey, and if theyre below the age of majority, the parents will be forced to pay the fines (usually $25).
  • Between sunset and sunrise, boarders must have on their person or their board a white light and a rear red light or at least a reflector. Yes, we are talking about skateboards, not just bicycles!
  • Speaking of bikes, the new ordinance applies the same rules to skateboarders as to cyclists when operating on or near public streets, sidewalks and bike paths, including:
    • Skateboarders must yield to pedestrians
    • Motorists must yield to skateboarders in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.
    • Skateboarders may not pass motor vehicles on the right (in the absence of a bike/skateboard lane).
    • Skateboarders must stay as far to the right side of the road as possible.
  • It is completely illegal to skateboard on private property without the owners permission.
  • Damaging any ledges, stairs, rails or other urban architecture is seriously frowned upon, and the Portland Police Bureau have every intention of cracking down on the practice.
  • Other restrictions to skateboarding in public areas named in the same ordinance include using skateboards on:
    • Brickwork
    • Cobblestones
    • Ornamental surfaces
    • Picnic tables
    • Tennis courts
    • Fountain areas
    • Planters
    • Sculptures

While the above rules may appear to place too many restrictions on the use of skateboards, Portland has actually been quite proactive in creating safe environments for those who prefer to use manually powered means of transportation. Remember as well that, except for the few places listed above, it is perfectly legal to skateboard on any city street or sidewalk.

In addition, the City of Portland has actually designated certain downtown streets as preferred skating routes, and those streets will actually have signs to show they are skate routes. Apart from these streets, which are located in the heart of the city, officials recommend that skateboarders use designated bike routes as the safest option.

State statutes are also in place

Outside Portland, the State of Oregon has enacted a number of laws dealing with skateboarding. The laws and penalties for non-compliance are as follows:

  • Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 814.485 deals with the failure to wear an approved helmet by someone aged 16 or under, in a public place. Oregon considers this a traffic infraction and can impose a fine of up to $72, but ORS814.600 says the fine for skateboarders is $25.
  • ORS 814.488 says that anyone aged 11 or under will not receive a citation…but their parents will. Between the ages of 12 and 16, the citation can be given to either the child or a parent or guardian, but not both.

Skateboarding is clearly not going to go away any time soon, if ever. In Portland, it seems to be growing in popularity with an increasingly young fan base.

The rules of the road that apply to bicyclists also apply to skateboarders, but then again, the rights enjoyed by bicyclists also apply to skateboarders. You have the right to use Oregon roads and Portland streets, the same as cars and other motorized vehicles.

Unfortunately, motorists frequently ignore bicyclists and skateboarders, or fail to see them in time to avoid a collision. And like bicyclists, skateboarders have very little by way of protection from the much larger, faster, more powerful vehicles on the road.

If youve been injured by another road user and it wasnt your fault, you have the right to be compensated for your medical bills, any lost income, and for your pain and suffering. To find out exactly what your rights under Oregon law are, contact a Portland personal injury lawyer who specializes in such accidents.

The consultation is free, and a good accident attorney will be able to give you a good idea of the kind of compensation you can expect to receive. They will guide you through the process, deal with the insurance companies and make sure your rights are protected.

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