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Category Archive: Injuries to Children

  1. Injuries in Auto Accidents When Car Seats Break

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    On an October 28, 2015, segment of CBS News Investigates, individuals described the devastating effects on their lives that resulted from auto makers’ low standards for testing the strength of car seats to ensure they will not break during car accidents.  According to CBS, all the manufacturers have to do is put a brace across a seat, attach it to a winch, and pull – and they can pass the federal standard.  Car crash experts showed that even a banquet chair could pass the test, which does not bode well for Missouri drivers.  As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, this fact leaves me very concerned about the potential for harm to Missouri drivers and passengers in car crashes.

    Every day, an average of three children die in car accidents, and another 470 are injured.  Of those, 11% are sitting in the rear seats, which is the recommended location for children.  However, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards are so low for the strength of the seats in front of them that children in rear seats are at substantial risk of injury in motor vehicle collisions.

    The parents of a 16-month old child had their lives changed forever when their mini-van was rear-ended at 55 mph.  The child was sitting in the seat behind her father, whose seat broke after collapsing on impact and struck the child in the face, killing her.  Crash tests have demonstrated what can happen when a seat collapses.  The seat is launched backwards and slams into a child’s face.  Children are not the only individuals at risk for injury in these accidents.  Drivers’ heads crash into seat backs, sometimes resulting in injury, paralysis, or death.  For example, a 70 year old woman was paralyzed in 2011 when the seat of her vehicle broke after being hit from behind.  People harmed in automobile accidents like these may have claims against the auto makers for product liability.  If a loved one was killed, their family members may choose to bring a wrongful death suit against the manufacturer as well.

    Sadly, according to car crash experts, auto makers have been aware of the problem for decades.  What is more troublesome is that the NHTSA also has known for many years.  In fact, in 1992, the NHTSA, whose job is to look out for the safety of the public, warned of the danger of seat breakage and cited examples of “major or fatal injuries” when seat backs collapse.  Even after stating in 2000 that the NHTSA would be “looking into the seat back issue within a year,” the standard as of 2015 is the same as it was in the 1960s.  In fact, the NHTSA abandoned research into the issue 11 years ago despite the continued high risk of harm, personal injury or death to drivers and their passengers.

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  2. Jefferson County Children Injured in School Bus Accident

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    Most St. Louis personal injury attorneys have had auto accident cases involving injuries to pedestrians. These cases are particularly troubling when the pedestrians are children. Earlier today, KSDK news reported that two pedestrian children were struck at a bus stop in Jefferson County while crossing the street to board a school bus.

    According to DeSoto, Missouri police, the children were crossing the street to board a school bus when a driver failed to stop for the bus stop sign arm. Missouri law requires that the driver of a vehicle, upon meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children and whose driver has given the signal to stop, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus and shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by its driver to proceed. For the text of this Missouri law, click here.

    The news article mentioned certain mitigating factors such as glare from the sun, but the need for extreme caution around a stopped school bus can never be underestimated. School bus accidents cause serious and devastating injuries and the need for extreme vigilance should always be present.

    The latest news reports indicate that at least one of the young pedestrians from this school bus accident was released from the hospital soon after the accident. We can only hope that the second victim of this accident makes a quick hospital exit as well.

    2 Children struck at bus stop, KSDK.com, October 5, 2011.

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  3. South St. Louis County Students Struck by SUV Walking to School

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    Four students in south St. Louis County were struck by SUV while walking in the Bayless School District. According to KMOV in St. Louis, the driver of an SUV lost control of his vehicle on Weber Road and there were students struck by SUV – pedestrians in a terribly unfortunate position on the sidewalk where the driver lost control. Four students were treated by EMT personnel before being transported to a local hospital. The St. Louis County police report indicated that no one was seriously injured.

    As a Missouri personal injury attorney, it is always troubling to hear about young people injured in car or truck accidents, especially pedestrian accidents. Automobile accidents involving pedestrians can lead to life-changing injuries. Fortunately, no one appears to have sustained serious injuries in this pedestrian accident.

    Both the federal government and the State of Missouri have implemented programs to increase safety for pedestrians on our roadways. For more information on Missouri’s program to increase pedestrian safety, click here.

    Car accidents involving injuries to minors (those under 18 years old) also involve special legal consideration in Missouri. Most Missouri personal injury settlements on behalf of minors will require a Missouri court to consider the facts of the case and determine whether a proposed settlement is in the best interest of the minor. Many times a Missouri court will require that any settlement be placed in a restricted bank account for the minor until the minor turns 18. Lawsuits in Missouri to approve minors’ personal injury settlements may require the intervention of a Missouri lawyer.

    Driver Loses Control of Vehicle, Strikes Four South St. Louis County Students, KMOV.com, March 14, 2011

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