As of July 15, 2014, seventeen children have already died as a result of being left alone in hot cars or other motor vehicles, according to a report by KidsAndCars.org. According to some statistics, over 670 children have died in hot vehicles since 1994. In some cases, these children have been intentionally left to die, but in most cases, the deaths have resulted from a lack of knowledge and understanding, negligence, or reckless indifference for a child’s safety.
The recent spate of such deaths has sparked renewed attention from the national media and others about what might be done to prevent or at least reduce the number of car-heatstroke deaths suffered by children in the future. Why are so many children dying in this altogether preventable manner? And who is responsible when a child dies or suffers serious injury due to being left in a hot car without adult supervision and any means of escape? Any adult entrusted with the care and supervision of a child may be held responsible for the death or injury of a child caused in this way, and other individuals or entities may be found liable, as well, depending on the circumstances of the particular case.
If your child has been injured or killed by being left alone in a car or as a result of other negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries or death. Child-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino has dedicated his child injury practice to achieving justice for children who have been injured through someone’s negligence or a defective product. Attorney Killino and his team of child accident and defective children’s products lawyers have achieved national recognition for their litigation of a great variety of child injury cases. Contact Attorney Killino and his highly experienced team of child injury lawyers to obtain justice for your child’s injuries or death.
Legal Liability for Children’s Heatstroke Deaths
Parents and others who have been suspected of intentionally killing a child by leaving the child in a hot car may face murder charges and criminal liability for their actions. Others, who intentionally or recklessly leave a child in a hot car but who have not been found to have had the intent to kill the child, may be charged with manslaughter or child abuse, depending upon the laws of the particular state in which the incident occurs. In other cases, civil liability for negligence may be imposed when a child sustains an injury after being left in a car after by someone entrusted with the child’s care, through the institution of actions by personal injury lawyers.
Civil Liability for Negligence
Anyone entrusted with the care of a child has the duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of that child. This duty attaches not only to individuals but also to entities that have agreed to watch over a child while the child’s parents are otherwise engaged. Thus, teachers, daycare supervisors, foster parents, babysitters, nannies, and even neighbors, relatives, and friends may be liable for the injury or death of a child if the injury or death occurred during a time that the individual agreed to watch over and care for the child.
When an individual negligently performs his or her duties to care for a child, the entity that employs the individual may also be found either directly or indirectly liable for the child’s injuries or death. If, for example, a babysitter or nanny employed by an agency negligently causes the death or injury of a child while the child is under the nanny’s or babysitter’s care, the agency that employed the babysitter or nanny may be held vicariously (indirectly) liable for the injuries caused by the negligence of its employee while that employee was under the control or direction of the agency.
In some cases, an agency or other employer of a negligent employee may be found directly liable for injuries or deaths caused by the negligence of its employee. If, for example, an agency was negligent in screening, hiring, training, and/or retaining a babysitter or nanny, the agency may be found directly liable for the death or injury to a child caused by the babysitter’s or nanny’s negligence.
In many cases, an injury or death has been caused by a defect in a product, and damages may be recoverable for such injuries or deaths through the institution of product liability actions against the product manufacturer and others. Parent Central and other child safety groups have asserted that rear-facing infant car seats may contribute to the occurrence of children’s car heatstroke deaths, and a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study reported in 2012 concluded that vehicle safety devices intended to reduce such injuries and deaths were not sufficiently reliable. Thus, manufacturers of these seats may be argued in product liability actions to have created defective seats with respect to the prevention of children’s heatstroke deaths.
Wrongful Death Liability
The same individuals and entities that may be held liable to a child for the injuries caused to the child may also be found liable to the survivors of the child if the child is killed as a result of someone’s negligence. Wrongful death actions may be instituted under the laws of most states by the immediate family members of a deceased victim to recover damages suffered by the survivors as a result of the victim’s death. Such damages may include the emotional or psychological trauma caused by the family member’s death, as well as lost support, funeral, and medical expenses.
Obtain Expert Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino
Nationally-respected child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino and his team of child injury and wrongful death attorneys will help you obtain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled if your child has been injured or killed as a result of someone’s negligence or a defective product. Contact Attorney Killino for aggressive yet compassionate assistance with your child injury or wrongful death case.