Toddler Head Injury with Scarring...
(Sacramento, California, USA)
I walked to the local grocery store with my 3 yr old twins. It was going to be a quick trip, but it turned out to be the most traumatic incident of my life.
In the last isle of the store my daughter got out of the jogger stroller and went about 10-15 ft and fell, hitting her head on the bottom metal rack (3 tier racks holding items). There was lots of blood and screaming. A crowd of people gathered and an ambulance was called. The store manager/owner administered wound compression until help arrived.
I had no vehicle, and was separated from my daughter while she was transported to the hospital. It traumatized her twin and I. Upon arriving at the ER, I was greeted by a doctor asking how this happened in a store... I told him she hit her head but it all happened SO fast. He told me to go back to the store and look because this was a straight-edge cut.
I went back to store after things had calmed back down. Sure enough the signage on those racks to hold prices had a sharp plastic edge. Had they been rounded like the metal rack she would have gotten a goose egg bump and not a 1.5" scar on her forehead.
The store's insurance company is paying for all medical, but aren't giving compensation for "future facial correction" (words from the pediatrician). They say they are not liable unless I can prove that it was the store that caused her to fall. Thoughts?
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ANSWER for "Toddler Head Injury with Scarring...":
S (Sacramento, California, USA):
The store owner is wrong. It's conceivable a young child might have walked down the aisle. The sharp edged rack was dangerous. The store owner had a legal "duty of care" to make his premises safe for the public. It's arguable the owner's failure to make his store racks safe was a breach of his duty of care. That breach is considered "negligence."
Negligence makes the store owner liable for your child's past and future medical bills, your out of pocket expenses for medications, bandages, etc., and for your daughter's past and future pain and suffering.
Your daughter's medical bills also include future costs of plastic surgery, and another amount for any permanent scarring she may suffer. It is highly unlikely you will be able to recover any amounts for your other child's trauma, or for yours.
Some injury claims can be handled without the assistance of an attorney. Those injuries are usually "soft tissue" such as bruises, superficial abrasions, etc. Your daughter's injuries are much more serious. Serious injury claims require the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Most personal injury attorneys do not charge a fee for an initial office consultation. Once an attorney accepts your child's case you won't have to pay any legal fees until and unless the attorney wins the case at trial or settles. Then the fee will normally be anywhere between 33.3 to 40 percent.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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