Back to School Safety Tips 2023 | Greening Law

Back to school is fun for both kids and parents, but it’s not without its stressors. While no one wants to think about their child being injured, making considerations and taking precautions can go a long way in preventing accidents and keeping kids safe.

As your kiddos head back to class, it can be helpful to know the most common types of back to school injuries and how to avoid them. In the event that your child is injured in or near their school, it’s essential to know their rights – and yours – in the state of Texas.

Back to School Safety Statistics

Starting a new school year is exciting, but it’s important to note that back to school presents fresh hazards and risks. While there are many factors to consider, pedestrian accidents are one of the most serious and common causes of back to school injuries. 

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, in the United States:

  • More than 40 kids a day are hit by a vehicle while walking
  • 15,000 children are injured each year in pedestrian accidents
  • 1 in 4 high school students crosses the street while distracted
  • Crossing somewhere other than an intersection accounts for more than 70% of child pedestrian deaths
  • Sidewalks can reduce pedestrian crashes by nearly 90%

Many children walk to and from school, and it’s a generally safe habit. But hurried drivers, distracted motorists, and hectic school zones can all pose threats to children while walking or riding their bikes. Luckily, reminding your kids to stay vigilant can help ensure their safety. 

Types of Back to School Accidents

A school is a place where kids should feel and be safe. Unfortunately, when you put children, excitement, playground equipment, and traffic in a single location, accidents are bound to happen. Below are some of the most common back to school accidents. 

Playground Accidents

Most young children spend the entire first half of their day looking forward to recess. It’s a time to release pent-up energy, have fun, and connect with friends. But playgrounds can be dangerous, as every parent knows.

Common playground hazards include old or malfunctioning equipment, falling from the monkey bars, injuries from kids piling on a slide or using a slide improperly, and unsafe surfaces under playground equipment. If your child was injured in a playground accident, our premises liability lawyers can help determine the next steps.

Pedestrian Accidents

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are common near schools. According to the Transportation Research Board, 25,000 children are injured annually while walking to and from school. If your child was hurt in a pedestrian accident, GreeningLaw can help. We specialize in personal injury cases, including auto accidents, bike accidents, and pedestrian accidents. 

Common causes of pedestrian accidents that involve children include speeding, reckless driving, and distracted driving. If a driver engaged in these behaviors and injured your child, they could be held liable in the state of Texas. 

School Bus Accidents

If your child rides the bus, the driver is responsible for their safety. But school buses have unique hazards of their own: They’re crowded, noisy, chaotic, and distracting. Though most bus drivers are seasoned pros, school buses get into accidents like any other vehicle. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, call Greening Law today to learn about your rights.

For your part, you can help increase school bus safety by observing certain protocols. Sharing the road with school buses means observing the following etiquette:

  • Never pass a school bus from behind
  • All traffic must stop if lights are flashing or STOP arm is extended
  • 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children exiting and entering
  • Be extra alert around school buses – children aren’t as careful or aware as adults
  • Watch for students crossing to board the bus – on or off a crosswalk

How to Stay Prepared This Back to School Season

The Phone Can Wait

One of the biggest dangers facing kids and teens is distraction from their phones. Whether your kids are walking, riding their bikes, or driving, looking at their phones for even a few seconds can spell disaster. While you can’t be with your child every second of the day, you can stress to them just how dangerous it is to check their phones at the wrong time. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Whether your child is learning how to safely navigate a crosswalk or this is their first year behind the wheel, the adage rings true: Practice makes perfect. Help your child prepare for a safe school year by taking them through the motions.

Walk or ride to school with your child before the school year begins and point out anything that seems like a safety hazard. Offer tips and guidance for how to maximize safety and minimize risk. Remind your child that device usage while walking or driving can have disastrous results.

Safety First

Most kids aren’t naturally cautious or careful. It’s in their nature to be excitable and impulsive because they haven’t yet learned the consequences. But your guidance and instruction can leave a big impression and equip them to navigate back to school safely and confidently. 

You can help young pedestrians and bicyclists stay safe with the following:

  • Teach them bike etiquette like where to ride and how to come to a complete stop before crossing the road
  • Supply children with brightly colored jackets, vests, or streamers on their backpacks to help make them more visible
  • Suggest walking their bike across the street, especially for younger riders
  • Teach young bike riders to always keep an eye out for opening car doors
  • Show bicyclists how to use hand signals when turning

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ready to Help

GreeningLaw, P.C. is ready to fight for justice for your family if you have been impacted by a back to school accident. As one of Texas’s most recognized personal injury law firms, we have the experience and expertise to hold negligent parties accountable. 

At GreeningLaw, we treat each case with the same dedication we would extend to our own family, bringing everything in our power to bear to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve.
Contact us 24/7 to schedule a free consultation. In that consultation, we will ask about details surrounding your case, discuss possible compensation you may receive, and suggest the best course of action. And, because our attorneys work on a contingency basis, you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case.

Summer Safety Tips Pt. 2

Pool & Water Safety

One of the most common concerns in summertime is water and pool safety. In 2022, there were 27,461 ER visits related to kids’ swimming pool injuries. It’s easy to take pool safety for granted, especially if you’ve been around pools and water your entire life, but it’s important to remain vigilant in these high-risk environments.

According to the CDC, more children 1-4 die of drowning than any other cause of death. Thankfully, water safety awareness for parents and kids can help prevent injuries in and around the swimming pool or beach.

  • Check local availability for swim classes and get your kids enrolled
  • Sign everyone in your family up for CPR and first aid classes
  • Make sure children never have unsupervised water access
  • When at the beach or public pool, swim in a lifeguarded area only
  • Mind the rule, “Reach or throw – don’t go!” If someone is drowning, reach or throw an object to them.
  • Remember: It only takes 20-60 seconds for someone to submerge in water, less than we typically spend responding to a text or applying sunscreen

Camping Safety

For many families, camping is an essential part of summer. No matter how campsite savvy you are, it’s always a good idea to brush up on camping safety. That way, you can ensure your next outdoor adventure is a fun one.

  • Pack a first aid kit with the following injuries in mind: cuts, scrapes, bruises, bug bites, and sprains
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid app, which explains how to treat serious wounds, broken bones, or dangerous bites/stings while you wait for help to arrive
  • Always pack enough water to prevent dehydration and remind everyone to keep drinking
  • Be sure and tell a family member, friend, or neighbor exactly where you’ll be
  • Wash your grill, workstation, utensils, and hands before cooking food
  • Don’t leave perishable food in the sun
  • If you have a grill, make sure kids and pets steer clear

Mosquitos and Ticks

More time spent outdoors means more exposure to nasty insects like mosquitos and ticks. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or picnicking, the following safety measures can help protect your family from potentially dangerous insect interactions.

  • Look for insect repellant containing DEET
  • Wear light-colored clothing so small bugs and ticks are visible
  • Empty sources of standing water (flowerpots, plastic pools, etc.) as these are mosquito breeding grounds
  • If you’re hiking, avoid tall grass and underbrush by sticking to the trail
  • Have another family member inspect you for ticks once you’re inside
  • Get tick repellant for your pets
  • Have someone carefully check the back of your neck and scalp line for ticks
  • Remember that mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn

Fireworks Safety

If your family loves fireworks, you’re not alone. Fireworks, both big displays and at-home experiences, are incredibly popular in the U.S. In 2021, 11,500 people were treated in ERs due to fireworks-related accidents, including burns, which accounted for 32% of injuries. The following tips and insights can help your family safely enjoy sparklers, bottle rockets, and more.

  • Before purchasing fireworks, check that they’re legal in your area
  • Never let a child light a firework themselves, including sparklers
  • Keep a hose or bucket of water close by
  • Always light fireworks one at a time, then move to a safe distance immediately
  • Do not attempt to pick up or relight fireworks that did not ignite fully
  • Pick a location clear of buildings and trees
  • Douse spent fireworks with water before you discard them

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ready to Help

GreeningLaw, P.C. is ready to fight for justice for your loved one if they were injured due to someone else’s negligence. As one of the most recognized personal injury law firms in Texas, we have experience and expertise in holding negligent and reckless parties accountable. We treat each case with the same dedication we would extend to our own family, ensuring our clients get the compensation they deserve.

Contact us 24/7 to schedule a free consultation. In that consultation, we will ask about details surrounding your case, discuss possible compensation you may receive, and suggest the best course of action. And, because our attorneys work on a contingency basis, you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case.

Stay safe this summer!

Can You Sue Someone for Falling on Their Property?

Can You Sue Someone for Falling on Their Property?

The injuries you sustain could go far beyond a skinned knee to include broken bones, significant blood loss or a concussion. The medical bills for tests and treatment could be extensive. And, to make matters worse, you could miss an extended amount of time from work.

If you find yourself or a loved one in such a situation, you may be wondering if you can sue to recover costs. A bad fall may be just bad luck, but it may also be someone else’s responsibility, in which case, you can sue. The key is knowing the difference.

What is a “Slip and Fall?”

In simple terms, a “slip and fall” occurs when you trip, slip or fall on someone else’s property and sustain an injury. These cases generally fall under the category of “premises liability” claims and, for the property owner to be held responsible, there must be at least one dangerous condition present that directly caused the fall. Indoor dangerous conditions may include wet or uneven flooring, torn carpeting, narrow or broken stairs, poor lighting, or the presence of hazards such as unsecured cables and cords.

Dangerous outdoor conditions are similar with regards to lighting at night and broken stairs or walkways, but can also include weather-related hazards. These hazards more often occur in climates where snow and ice can cause very slippery conditions, however, rain may also create problems.

In order to have a compensable case, you must have sustained injuries and suffered financial losses that could be remedied by the courts, including lost wages, medical bills, and temporary or permanent disability accommodations.

Proving Fault

Determining who is legally responsible for your injuries is not an easy task. Each case is unique and hinges on whether the property owner took reasonable care to prevent a slip and fall, or whether you were in some way careless and caused the accident. As discussed above, you must prove that your injuries were caused by the presence of a “dangerous condition.” What is more, the property owner must have been aware of it and failed to act in a timely and appropriate manner to fix the problem.

In addition, the property owner must have been reasonably able to anticipate that the dangerous condition could cause an injury, however, at the same time, it must be a hazard that you could not have reasonably anticipated. We have the responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and avoid obvious dangers, but many are hidden and difficult to avoid if you are unfamiliar with the environment.

Comparative Negligence

In the state of Texas, one of the defenses a property owner can mount in a slip and fall case is that you are, in some way, partially responsible for the accident. If they can prove this in court, it could significantly impact your case and the amount you are awarded, if you are awarded anything at all. Your lawyer will ask questions to help determine whether you need to be concerned. Some examples of shared fault include:

  • You can be proven, through video for example, to have been distracted to what the property owner will argue was an obvious danger. Perhaps you were texting while walking or were walking backwards while talking to a couple of friends.
  • You ventured, perhaps without permission, into an area of the property where visitors were not allowed. It is important to always watch out for signage and not let your curiosity get the better of you.
  • You did not take care to avoid a hazard that was blocked off with caution tape or signs. In other words, the dangerous condition should have been obvious.

Even if you are embarrassed about your role in your injuries, it is important to be honest. Being able to weigh all the facts of the case will help your lawyer come up with the best possible plan of action.

Statute of Limitations

If you or a loved one is injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to seek legal advice promptly. Texas has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury in premises liability cases, which means that starting on the date the accident occurred, you have two years to file a case, after which point you will be unable to do so. It may feel overwhelming to consider contacting a lawyer while you are in the middle of a painful recovery, however, it is important to keep that time clock in mind when balancing your need to recuperate and your need to take legal action.

Seek Legal Advice

When you are ready to consider your legal options, contact us for a free consultation. Our team of trusted attorneys at GreeningLaw P.C. will bring their expertise and compassion to the table to work for you. We appreciate that you may need help before you have the money for it, which is why we work strictly on a contingency basis. We do not receive payment unless you are awarded funds. We are here for you. “We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.”