A lot has changed over the past few decades when it comes to keeping our children safe. Regulations for the production of toys, household products and child safety seats have gotten more stringent, and laws at both the state and federal level appear to be reducing the number of child injuries and deaths.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death rates from child injuries have decreased significantly over the past 10 years. At least part of the reason, the report found, was a concerted effort to pass laws on how children traveled in vehicles. For example, in the past 11 years the number of states with booster seat laws went from just two to 48.
One thing that hasn't changed, unfortunately, is the risk that other drivers present to children riding in cars. Risky and negligent behavior still causes thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year that seriously injure or kill children.
Just this week in Hagerstown, Maryland, a young child was injured in a car accident that killed another passenger and seriously injured the driver. According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, a 26-year-old man crossed the centerline of the road he was driving on and collided with a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. The front-seat passenger in the other vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver and the child, who was riding in the back, were rushed to a hospital with serious injuries.
The driver who caused the crash is facing several criminal charges, including manslaughter, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.
Sometimes even the best safety seats that money can buy aren't enough to protect a child in an accident. In cases where the crash was caused by the negligent actions of another driver, parents of injured children may want to consider pursuing a civil lawsuit to ensure that they're compensated for the medical costs of an injury that could have been prevented.
Source: The Record Herald, "Stephen Bonafede, Mountville, arrested for fatal accident in Hagerstown," July 24, 2012
· Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Maryland car accidents page.