Do You See More Accidents With Children Or With The Elderly?
We see different types of accidents, and it does not go one way or the other because things just happen at different times. We obviously do not see 100 percent of the accidents, so we can’t say whether there were more children or elderly people having accidents.
We see different types of accidents involving children and the elderly. There are more playground accidents with children where they might fall off the piece of equipment and get hurt because the coating was not proper, they did not have enough fall protection or there were not enough woodchips to break the fall.
The elderly have a lot more falls from slipping on ice because they are less agile and are not able to protect themselves. They are also more likely to fall down stairs if the stairs were dangerous because they cannot react as quickly.
Are There Any Product Or Premises Liability Cases that Involve Children?
Certainly, and we have handled a lot of playground accidents. New York has a special procedure involving children where court approval would be needed before any settlement. We have a lot of experience of that and a big thing we do with children is that we always try to put their settlements into an annuity so it grows a lot over 5 or 10 or however many years it would be, so that they have a good amount of money when they came of age.
A good thing we do after settling the case is that we work extensively with structured settlement brokers to get children very favorable terms on interest and annuities rather than what a lot of other attorneys do, which is just having the court order the money to be put in the bank.
We also handle cases where children were assaulted on school property, either by teachers or other students, when there was a warning or a notice that the children were in danger, and the administrator basically should not have looked the other way.
We recently handled a very big case which would come under the social services law which creates a civil cause of action for any teacher or other professional such as doctor or a police officer who failed to report child abuse. The teacher could also be held liable if they knew about a child being abused by a parent or someone else and the child gets re-injured because they did not report it.
What Are Some Things You Initially Look For In Premises Liability Cases?
The main thing we look for in premises liability cases is to figure out what caused the accident and how we can establish that the land owner was responsible for whatever condition that was. We would usually work with either engineers or architects to do an inspection of the premises to identify what the cause was for someone falling down the stairs.
If someone claimed they fell down the stairs because the stairs were not right, then we have architects and engineers who could measure the stairs, measure the rises, measure the treads, see what the handrail was and measure the height of the handrail to see if it was adequate or if it was dangerous.
Slip and fall cases happen where there is a condition like ice or snow. A lot of times, we would get the weather records and get a certified weather expert to state that the rain or freezing stopped at a certain point and the accident happened two days later. If the ice storm was not present for two days then they would have had a reasonable time to clean it. We also look at a lot of the local codes that have certain time limits.
The administrative code in New York City has a timeline for when they have to clean up after a snow storm. For cases involving ice, we tend to look at things which a lot of other attorneys do not look at, such as whether there was some structural feature of the building or the property that caused ice to form, like a runoff which is designed to push water off the building.
Guarders push water across a public sidewalk, or there could be conditions like an area where something has a drainage grate but the surrounding area is raised so it creates a pulling effect. Negligence can usually be established if those conditions had been present for a long period of time.
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