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Rockford personal injury attorneyIf you are a parent, you know how difficult it can be to leave your child in the care of someone else. Whether you are dropping the child off at school, daycare, or extracurricular activities, you likely worry about the quality of care and supervision that your child will receive. While the majority of childcare workers take pride in keeping children’s safety their top priority, some facilities employ staff who do not take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the children left in their care. When childcare staff, bus drivers, teachers, nannies, and other individuals tasked with caring for children fail to properly do their job, the results can be deadly.

Three-Year-Old Boy Passes Away After Being Left in Hot Bus

A Houston bus driver has recently been indicted for “injury to a child by recklessly causing serious bodily injury or death” almost exactly a year after he allegedly left a young boy in a scorching hot bus. The horrific incident was first discovered when the boy’s father came to pick up his child from a Houston area daycare. When workers could not locate the child, the father started searching for his son. That is when he found his three-year-old unresponsive in the 113-degree daycare bus. The children had taken a field trip to a park, but not every child had disembarked the bus upon their return. Despite efforts to save the young boy’s life, he passed away.

Prosecutors Say Bus Driver’s Negligence Caused the Child’s Tragic Death

The issue of children being left in hot cars or buses is sadly not unheard of. According to Kids and Cars, a safety organization working to prevent incidents such as this, an average of 37 children die every year after being left in hot vehicles. Because of the heartbreaking frequency of child deaths related to hot cars, some buses are equipped with special safety measures to prevent children from being left unattended. Prosecutors say that although this bus had a passenger safety alarm designed to prevent passengers from being left behind, the bus driver had disengaged this alarm. The parents of the boy killed in the hot bus have filed a lawsuit against the daycare.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhen most of us visit a doctor or other medical professional to address a health concern, we trust that he or she knows what they are doing and will be able to help. Understandably, doctors do not always immediately know what aliment is causing their patient to suffer. However, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. When a negligent medical professional misdiagnoses a patient and the resultant medical treatment (or lack of treatment) causes the patient harm, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate.

Diagnostic Errors Are One of the Most Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. Many times, a patient suffers from a complex array of conditions which may be challenging to identify and treat. Doctors and other medical professionals are not held legally responsible for every diagnostic error they make. However, when carelessness or negligence causes a patient harm, doctors should be held accountable. A successful medical malpractice suit includes the following elements:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor or other health care worker was negligent; and
  • The negligent party’s actions caused actual injury to the patient.

Understanding When a Doctor is Negligent

Negligence can be tricky to understand in the context of a medical malpractice suit. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself may be a mistake on the part of the health worker, but not necessarily evidence of negligence. Generally, a medical professional is negligent when he or she not provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent way. When deciding if a medical professional was negligent or not, courts may invite other similarly trained or experienced professionals to weigh in on the matters. If most medical professionals of similar expertise would have made a different decision than the medical professional accused of malpractice made, it is likely he or she will be considered negligent.

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Rockford medical malpractice attorneysDoctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are some of the most trusted members of our society. Of course, medical professionals are human just like everyone else, and they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, errors made by doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other medical professionals can often have devastating consequences.

Negligence Must Be Proven in Medical Malpractice Claims

Before delving into the most common mistakes made by medical professionals, it is important to be clear about one point: medical malpractice only occurs when negligence occurs. A patient simply being unhappy with the results of a medical procedure or test cannot be reason enough to claim malpractice. Furthermore, a medical procedure or surgery which results in a negative outcome is not always the result of medical malpractice or doctor error. For example, when an individual receives an organ transplant, the organ is sometimes “rejected” by the patient’s body. This can happen for a myriad of reasons and is usually not related to any negligent acts by the surgeon or other hospital staff. In order for a successful medical malpractice claim to be made, negligence must be proven. A medical professional is negligent when he or she acts in a way which is not reasonably competent or skilled, and this carelessness leads to patient harm.

Errors Which Often Lead to Malpractice Suits

There are many different situations which might necessitate a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients who have been misdiagnosed or did not receive a diagnosis in a timely matter often have the justification to sue. Understandably, it can sometimes take doctors and other medical experts a long time to reach an accurate diagnosis. However, when a diagnosis is delayed or a patient is misdiagnosed due to negligence, the doctor and staff may be held liable. Childbirth injuries including seizure disorders and cerebral palsy can sometimes be caused by doctor error. Negligent prenatal care can result in damage to both the fetus as well as the mother.

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Rockford wrongful death attorneyWhen someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct, the decedent’s family may sue for "wrongful death." This claim is separate from any criminal charges such as murder or assault which may have been brought against the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit. A person can also be found liable for wrongful death even if no criminal charges were ever filed against that person. A wrongful death lawsuit can be a highly beneficial legal tool for families of victims who wish to pursue financial compensation for their loss.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit and When?

The personal representative of the victim’s estate, called the “special representative,” is the only one who can bring a wrongful death suit. This representative is most often a close family member. In order to have a valid wrongful death case, several criteria must be met. Firstly, someone must have died. The death must have been caused by another’s negligence, such as when a drunk driver kills a pedestrian, or through intentional harm. Another requirement is the survival of family members who have experienced damages as a result of the death.

What Types of Damages are Considered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The damages surviving family members can recover compensation for include medical expenses, the deceased’s lost wages, the value of the services that the victim would have provided, and funeral and burial expenses. Additionally, a wrongful death lawsuit can help recover compensation for the deceased’s person's mental and physical pain and suffering. Damages can also include losses relating to the non-financial, emotional benefits the victim provided their family. For example, the loss of the nurturing and care a parent would have provided to his or her children can be considered recoverable damages. Loss of companionship and love as well as loss of consortium, the losses a widowed spouse experiences, can all be included in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages can also include the mental suffering and grief suffered by the surviving family members.

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