Is cheerleading an activity, or a sport fraught with all the risks of other high impact sports, such as football, soccer and hockey? It depends on the state. More progressive states treat cheering as the high impact sport it has become. Gone are the days when cheering meant pompoms and dancing rhythmically. While cheering does still include these elements, you are far more likely to see highly athletic, acrobatic maneuvers intertwined with the classic forms. If you, or your child, were injured during a cheering performance, stunt or practice, you may have been the victim of improper supervision, incorrect spotting, insufficient coaching or training. If so, you may have rights to recover for your medical bills, and for your personal injuries. Most school districts, towns and professional academies have insurance coverage for out of pocket medical expenses associated with an injury while participating in a school-affiliated activity or sport, or while at an academy or other recreational facility. However, medical bill coverage is not the extent of your rights. Vishno Law Firm and Attorney Jeremy Vishno are available for a free consultation if you have questions about a Connecticut cheerleader injury, whether that injury occurred at school, a school event, or at a cheering academy or camp.
So you signed a form when you dropped your child off. Maybe you stayed to watch. Regardless, you did not waive your Seriously Injured Child's rights, under Connecticut law, even if what you signed claimed to be a Liability Waiver. If you've ever dropped your child off at a birthday party where the facility asked you to sign a Liability Waiver, then you likely questioned your qualifications as a parent when, like most of us, you signed it without reading it. Did you really just give permission for your child to engage in a dangerous activity, monitored by bored and underpaid high school students, or by equally bored and undertrained "specialists"? If your child suffered a serious injury while attending a party, event or even just a get together at a monitored, paid facility, you need to know that in spite of signing a Liability Waiver, you still have many important rights. Permanent damage, lost time from school, work or activities, as well as out of pocket medical expenses can all be factors when a child is injured through no fault of their own.
As a lawyer, and parent of three young kids, even I have signed these documents without reading them. The reason I don't read them is that I know that typically they are not worth the paper on which they are written. This is especially so when the "Waiver" appears to remove responsibility and accountability for businesses that are caring for, teaching, monitoring and/or otherwise working with our children.
If you are a bully, and are in school in Fairfield, Connecticut, watch out! Your actions will not be tolerated under a more comprehensive Anti-Bullying policy, which now includes "Sexual Harassment" in its list of prohibited acts. Thanks to Kelly Crisp, a long-time advocate of child safety in her former role of prosecutor in Georgia, and in her current role of general "Do Gooder," Fairfield's new anti-bullying policy includes "Sexual Harassment." Crisp argued strenuously and convincingly that failure to include this category of bullying would leave one of the most insidious, and tolerated, forms of bullying to continue without formal recourse through the Board of Education's prior policy. Now that the Board has adopted more inclusive language, Sexual Harassment will include more than the vaguely phrased "targeting someone based on gender." Rather, it will also now include "unwanted sexual attention or insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conduct." This broad, but strong lagnuage far more accurately incoroprates what really happens when a student is bullied verbally, or by way of peer or direct pressure of a sexual nature.
Mandatory reporting, implementation of a safety protocol to protect a bullied student, and police intervention when a crime may have been committed are all part of the policy, and carry strong requirements for the Fairfield school system and its staff. Of particular interest to me is that the policy extends to activities off school property, including functions such as school dances, field trips and last but certainly not least, bus stops, where children are often left unsupervised for more than enough time for bullying to occor unimpeded.
If your child is under attack, meaning bullied in any way that is connected with their school, even remotely connected, then you are entitled to the protectino afforded under these new guidelines/rules. if you are not satisfied with how the matter is being handled, contact a knowledgable lawyer to help you understand your rights and remedies. Vishno Law Firm, and Attorney Jeremy Vishno have handled many child-related claims, and we are happy to provide feedback on your situation.
When a dog bites, it hurts, even if it only leaves a scrape. When more than one dog bites an infant or a child, the consequences can include Serious Personal Injuries and can even be fatal.
Tragically, fatal dog bites were the reason a 20 month old West Haven, Connecticut girl died Friday, September 30, 2011. Only a few details are currently available, but we do know some important facts: the toddler was left, according to reports, on the ground; the child was in a place where the dogs were not prevented from biting her, and; the dogs invovled were apparently pit bulls. This combination is frightening for its simplicity. If there were no history of attacks by these dogs, then the owner(s) may not have had a reason to worry. However, Connecticut Dog Bite law takes account of the fact that, while dogs are truly great pets, have been domesticated for hundreds or even thousands of years, they are still prone to sudden and unexpected bites and attacks. The only escape from liability for the owner/keeper is if the biting or attack victim was tormenting, teasing or otherwise provoking the dog, or if the victim was actually an illegal trespasser, or was otherwise doing something illegal, such as trying to attack the dog's owner. Once the owner/keeper is determined to be liable, the damages to be paid include: medical bills, out of pocket expenses, compensation for the injuries, scarring, future bills for surgery, such as reconstructive procedures and for trauma related psychiatric/psychological treatment, and of course for the pain and suffering of the person attacked. While this system of compensation does not actually heal the person, it is both a way to provide some relief to the victim, and to provide a strong incentive to dog and pet owners to take precautions in advance of a problem.
Know your rights. Consult an attorney experienced in handling Dog Bite Claims, such as Vishno Law Firm , and Attorney Jeremy Vishno.
A Seymour, Connecticut child was injured when a pellet gun was accidentally discharged in his friend's bedroom, according to a Connecticut Post article this morning (see December 21, 2010 P.1 headline). The 13 year old suffered a serious and "life threatening" head wound. The article goes on to state that the gun went off accidentally while the kids were rough-housing, and not while the gun was being used by anyone at the time, and all while the children's parents were at home.
Questions abound: What was a pellet gun, capable of killing someone, doing in a 13 year olds bedroom? Why is such a weapon not locked while not in use? Did the parents of the injured child know that this deadly weapon was in the house at all, let alone unlocked and able to discharge inside the house? Who is legally responsible for the damages caused by this unsuperviseed situation? I can at least answer that final question:
Connecticut's young athletes are active year-round. And, while their window of opportunity for outdoor sports is short, the aspirations of athletes, coaches and parents are long when it comes to how much they try to squeeze out of those precious few fair-weather months. Many kids seeking an edge in their respective sport play for multiple teams, playing far more games, and attending more pracatices than we used to as kids. The problems of over-use injuries arise when parents and kids don't share with their coaches the fact that they are on the court, field or other competitive arena with more than one team, on the same day, whether just before or just after the one in which they are now playing. Baseball coaches and the orgainziations that operate compettive leagues, such as Little League and Cal Ripken, are probably the most sensitized to the perils of over-use now that there are well-defined protections in place: pitch-count rules by age group being the most critical in protecting young pitchers' arms. Pitchers are not the only young atheltes that need protection, though. As a coach, I have noted too often kids on my team with historically rare problems-chronic tendonitis, plantar fascitis (inflammation of the fascia in the foot) Sever's disease (a seriously painful/disabling problem in the heel), bone spurs, stress fractures etc. What is most alarming is how parents often ignore the doctor's advice to take a break to allow healing. Even I ask the question, "When can he start playing again?" when it's my kid's injury keeping him out. What is the coach's responsibility here? I believe that the coach must be the voice of reason by only allowing a child to return to the filed/court of play with a doctor's note permitting it, and explaining what limitations there should be, and for who long. The doctor's feedback is not, as far as I can see, a requirement in any of the leagues that I have coached in. Strangely, even the most advanced of the organized sports leagues, Little League, has managed to downplay or outright disregard the warnings of the very doctor who invented the pitch count rules. Why? Because it's what the parents/members of that league want. For instance, the pitch count rules are relaxed for Little League World Series play so that the marquee pitchers are not kept off the mound. Is this the message we want our kids to hear? As long as there is an audience that wants it this way, children's protection is not a primary goal? Let's all make an effort to remember these are kids, not young profesional athletes. Encourage your local teams, clubs and athletic associations to adopt standards for addressing over-use and return to play protocols for our young athletes, such as Westport, Connecticut's PAL concussion protocol, or its strict adherernce to Little League pitch count rules for rest and pitches per game.
I write in follow-up to my last post concerning the Connecticut student who died when the School Bus he was on left the highway. Many students suffered serious personal injuries, and one student died, perhaps due to the lack of seat-belts on the bus. The driver was certainly required to wear a seat-belt, why not the kids he was transporting. I continue to encourage all Connecticut residents to support upcoming legislative efforts to change the law to require buses to have seat-belts for student use.
Just this past week, another young student was injured in Stamford, Connecticut, simply due to the jostling he endured while the bus traversed a road under construction. A seat-belt would likely have helped. Is the cost of the seat-belt goinig to be more than the cost of the claim that could be filed by the student's family? How about the cost in the claim for the student who was killed? It can hardly be argued that there is any other consideration in play here apart from the costs of retrofitting the buses. How about an ounce of prevention? If your child has suffered a personal injury, make sure to protect their rights of recovery, and to hold the carrier accountable, by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney.
This legislative session will include proposed laws that will require seat-belts. Support them by contacting your local representtive. Find yours at: ">http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp ">Connecticut Representative Locator. This is a step in the right direction, but a small one. Connecticut has an enhanced driver and owner liability requirement for a certain class and use of vehicles. The requirement applies to all "common carrierrs" which are transport vehicles carrying passengers for hire, such as taxis, city and school buses, as well as limousines and car services. Because they are deemed professionals who have undertaken responsibility for safely delivering people, rather than products, they must adhere to higherr standards of care while driving, as detailed in Connecticut case law (go to Justia.com to view relevant cases-there are lots!)
A Connecticut student and science enthusiast was killed when the school bus he was on was involved in a crash with a car. After the collision with the car, the school bus went over and down an embankment. Because the bus was not equipped with seat-belts, students had nothing to restrain them from being violently thrown about the interior of the bus. One student died, and another was hospitalized, according to The Hartford Courant and other sources.
Legal responsibility has yet to be determined for the cause of the crash. However, it is clear that seat-belts did not play a role in the accident because, as is the casee with almost all Connecticut school buses, they were not installed on that bus. Connecticut law does not currently require seat-belts. Why not? Economics is obviously the key component, as safety considerations must be weighed against the costs of implementation. There are studies and general concerns that simple lap belts could be more harmful than helpful, causing whipping type injuries. Combination restraints that incluude lap and shoulder belts may not only be too costly, they may be impossible to install in buses currently on the road. Is this the best we can do? Buses and other vehicles that transport people for money are already subject to stricter legal standards of care as "Common Carriers" under Connecticut Law. This means that operators of regular buses, taxis, trolleys and similar road vehicles are required to follow higher safety rules than ordinary driverrs.
School bus drivers have the added responsibility of driving our children, who cannot look out for themselves. Even a teacher's presence cannot add any measure of security where seat-belts are lacking. What to do?
Connecticut's outdoor swimming pool season is short, so pool owners take great care to prepare their pools for maximum use during our warm weather season from May through September. However, with that preparation comes a word of caution about the dangers of owning a swimming pool, and the risks of serious injuries, especially to children, when proper safety guidelines are not followed.
Unfortunately, when a child is injured in a Connecticut pool, it is often a very serious injury, or even, as was the case with a six year old from Greenwich, Connecticut, a fatality. It is especially sad, and frustrating, when such injuries can, or should have been prevented. In the Greenwich, Connecticut pool tragedy, the owner of the pool company responsible for the installation was arrested for failing to comply with swimming pool design and construction regulations, in omitting a protective valve cover. Because that valve cover was not in place, the six year old boy became trapped, under water, due to the valve's strong suction. Had the cover been in place, as required by code, he could not have become trapped by that valve, it is claimed by his family's attorneys. Just this year, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. This act requires valves and drains to be properly covered, which will prevent many entrapments, and eviscerations.
Connecticut's swimming pool laws are designed to protect swimmers from serious injury and even death, which can be caused by drowning, entrapment in a drain or valve, or due to misplaced diving boards in an area that is too shallow. There are a number of Connecticut swimming pool rules relating to safety, but a few are exceptionally noteworthy, and well worth mentioning, since many pool owners may not even be aware of them.
Whenever my kids visit a friend whose house has a pool, we ask safety questions in the same manner as if they child were going to a house where guns might be present: what safety measures are in place to protect my kids from harm? Will you be present at all times if the kids are in the pool? If not, then who will be watching them? Do you have fencing around the pool, and an alarm in place, as required? Most times, unless the house is one whose owners are close friends, and we are comfortable with how they handle their pool safety, we will simply ask that our child not be allowed in or even near the pool at all absent our presence. We have had no complaints from those parents, thankfully, as they have been both accommodating of our concerns, and genuinely pleased that we take such an interest in safety.
Spring is here and from Greenwich, to Bridgeport to New Haven, Connecticut, we are outside and loving it. However, with outdoor activity comes risks of serious personal injuries to children that are both obvious and not so obvious. "Go outside and play," we tell them over and over. No more computer, texting, instant messaging, "wii"ing. The kids are bouncing off the walls, but they should not be bouncing on a trampoline, ever, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
My own kids have been begging for two things for several years. First is a dog. We are 4-1 on this one, with the one "no" vote being my wife, who insists she will be the one soley in charge of all dog care (she is quite right, and therefore, she wins this one). Second is a trampoline. We are 3-2 on this one, where both my wife and I agree that we will not have one (we even rejected a neighbor's offer of a free one last year-his kids no longer used it). We have both seen firsthand the serious injuries that children can suffer while on a trampoline.
Injuries to children from jumping on a trampoline are not only common, they are quite often serious enough to change a child's life forever, without warning, and without the child doing something wrong, without there being a defect in the manufacture of the trampoline and can even happen when there is proper parental supervision.
This situation begs the question: Are trampolines so dangerous that they should be banned altogether
The Seymour, Connecticut Teen driver who crashed into a school bus has lost her driving privileges. Because she was in violation of the Connecticut teen driver laws restricting the number of passengers in her car while in the early stages of her driving career, the teen driver who crashed into a busload of children has had her license suspended.
As the parent of a near teenager, I make sure to monitor my son's whereabouts at all times. As he approaches the age when he may be in someone else's car, potentially a newly licensed teen driver, I anticipate many discussions about what is permitted, and what must be avoided at all costs. As he, and later, his younger siblings, reach driving age, I hope that these early warnings will stay with him, and them, in their driving habits.
Parents: Be sure to have proper and adequate automobile insurance in place on your vehicles. A review of your policy with your agent or insurance representative is essential when you have a new driver of your cars. If you are unclear about what these coverages mean, or have a claim that you need to discuss, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney for answers to liability questions, and what you should expect from your insurance agent or representative. Specifically, ensure that your liability coverage is high enough to protect your own assets if your car is involved in an accident that is deemed your child's fault (or anyone else driving your car). Imagine facing a claim or being sued for such an accident and learning, too late, that your coverage is not enough because your child struck a school bus full of children, and each was injured, and looking to you and your policy for coverage. If that coverage is insufficient, they can also look to your personal assets for compensation. It may be a bit more expensive, but having piece of mind where automobile liability is involved is worth the price. This is especially so because of the high number of accidents involving teen drivers.
The fact that West Haven, Connecticut-based Winkle Bus Company's "mini-bus" was equipped with seat-belts was likely a key factor in reducing both the number and seriousness of injuries to its pre-school passengers. The Seymour, Connecticut head-on collision on Botsford Road, between the bus and a car driven by a teenager, may have occurred while the teen was driving with passengers, in violation of Connecticut's teen driver laws. Whether the accident was caused by this violation is certainly cause for concern, but has yet to be determined.
The driver, age 16, was not supposed to be carrying any passengers at all, because she was so new to the road, and was thus in violation of Connecticut's newly enacted teen driver laws (see C.G.S. section 14-36, multiple sub-sections) which, among other changes after 8-1-08, prohibits new drivers from having passengers for the first 6 months of having a license, other than a driving instructor, licensed parent or guardian). This teen driver had three passengers in her car.
You may recall from an earlier post I wrote, under Injury Prevention that a key recommendation of the World Health Organization in reducing child accidental death was to restrict teen drivers from having passengers until they gain sufficient experience behind the wheel. Connecticut passed this teen driver law just this past August, 2008, in response to numerous serious teen car accidents, and even fatalities, and in an effort to reduce the chances that more would occur.
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- November 6, 2013 5:22 PM
Connecticut Cheerleader Injuries-Cheers or Jeers? Sport or Activity Is cheerleading an activity, or a sport fraught with all...
- October 18, 2013 3:49 PM
Connecticut Liability Waivers::Parents rights - Did I just waive my child's rights? NO! So you signed a form when you dropped your child...
- December 2, 2011 10:41 AM
Fairfield Connecticut Board of Ed Incoproates Sexual Harassment into Anti-Bullying Poliicy If you are a bully, and are in school in...
- October 2, 2011 12:23 PM
West Haven Connecticut Child Bitten & Killed by Dogs When a dog bites, it hurts, even if it only...
- December 31, 2010 12:18 PM
Seymour Connecticut Child Seriously Injured by Pellet Gun A Seymour, Connecticut child was injured when a pellet gun...