Kids with Special Needs May Require a Heightened Level of Supervision at School

For nine months out of the year, your children spend much of their time at school. It’s natural to be concerned about their safety and supervision while they’re there. In fact, school officials owe a duty of care to every student. Additionally, the law holds that students with special needs are owed an even greater level of supervision.

Supervision Standards

Schools must provide all students with general supervision, which relates to the supervision of groups of children by a specified number of supervising adults (such as at recess). Schools must also provide all students with specific supervision, which relates to the supervision of students who are engaged in activities that would be inherently dangerous without careful instruction (such as a woodworking project). For students with special needs, on the other hand, a school’s standard of care must extend to a more individualized focus on that child’s specific needs. The child’s known special needs, including behaviors and physical limitations, must be factored in when framing the level of necessary supervision for that child.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that students with special needs who qualify for special education and related services be afforded Individualized Education Programs (IEP) that are tailored to their own needs. If the identified students also have behavioral issues that could interfere with their own or someone else’s education or that could harm them or someone else, those students must also receive a behavioral plan. Each student’s IEP, including the behavioral plan, will guide the professional standard of care that must be upheld for that individual student.

Heightened Level of Supervision

Once established, the heightened level of supervision for children with special needs must be maintained for their own and other students’ safety. Put simply, schools have a higher duty of supervision for students with special needs. If your child was harmed at school due to a lack of adequate supervision on the school’s part, first seek immediate medical attention for your child and then consult an experienced personal injury attorney with expertise in school negligence cases.

IF Your Child Was Harmed Due to School Negligence, Contact a Qualified Huntington Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If a lack of adequate school supervision has harmed your child, the Law Offices of Brent W. Caldwell can help. Brent Caldwell understands school negligence cases, and he has the commitment and expertise to fight for justice for you and your child. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers, call our office today at 714-625-8914 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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Is California a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?

In California, the law favors dog bite victims. In most situations, if a dog bites another person, the dog’s owner will responsible for the injuries stemming from the bite. This is largely due to California’s dog bite statute that imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their pets.

What is Strict Liability?

Strict liability is a legal term that means that a person will be liable for injuries if the accident occurs regardless of fault. In a typical personal injury accident case, an injured person must show that someone acted negligently or unreasonably. For example, if someone tripped on a rug in a store, that person would have to prove that the store acted unreasonably in having a tripping hazard on its premises. In dog bite cases, a victim does not have so show that anyone acted with negligence.

Thus, it is not a defense for the dog owner to say that the dog was wearing a muzzle or that the owner took other reasonable precautions to prevent the accident. The fact that the dog bite occurred means that the accident victim should be compensated for his or her injuries.

The California dog bite law specifically states that a dog’s former viciousness or lack thereof does not factor into whether someone will be considered liable. Because the dog bite statute imposes strict liability, typically dog bite cases are easier to prove.

What are the Requirements to Prevail in a Dog Bite Case?

There is one requirement under the law that dog bite victims must prove. The dog bite victim has to be attacked in a public place or a private place where the victim was lawfully. If you are invited into a home and are attacked inside, you are lawfully in a private place.  So long as this requirement is met, strict liability will apply and the dog’s owner will be responsible for paying for your damages.

Who Actually Pays for My Injuries?

Dog bite injuries can be severe and compensation can be high. Many dog bite victims incur medical expenses, lose income because they miss work, and experience significant physical and emotional pain and suffering. If the attack has left the victim scarred or disfigured, there will be additional compensation.

Typically, the dog owner does not have to pay out of pocket. Rather, there are likely insurance companies that are liable. Insurance policies can be difficult to interpret and many times the insurer will argue that there is no coverage under the policy.

This is where a trained dog bite lawyer can argue on your behalf. A lawyer will be able to determine what insurance policies cover the accident and argue to a court that they do in fact provide coverage.

Many people know the owner of the dog who attacked them and are relieved to find out that this friend or acquaintance will not have to pay directly. The representation of an attorney can also help prevent any personal issues from arising between neighbors or acquaintances after a dog bite.

Contact a Huntington Beach Dog Bite Attorney Today

If you have been bitten by a dog, you have a limited time to bring your claim As a result, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.  To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call the Law Offices of Brent W. Caldwell today at  714-625-8914 or get in touch with us through our online contact form.

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Can Apologizing after an Accident Ruin your Chances of Recovering Compensation?

After an accident, many people have the urge to apologize. While it may be good manners to apologize, it is not a good idea to do so from a legal perspective. Even a simple “I’m sorry” could be taken as an admission of fault, potentially damaging your ability to recover compensation. While accidents can occur in myriad ways, there are some things that accident victims should always do regardless of the type of accident that occurred. A few of these are discussed below. Continue reading “Can Apologizing after an Accident Ruin your Chances of Recovering Compensation?” »

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The Dangers of Distracted Driving


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Dangers of Distracted Driving

  • 9 people are killed each day in accidents caused by distracted driving
  • 1,060 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver
  • 1 out of 3 people admit they text and drive
  • 23x more likely to be involved in an accident while texting and driving
  • 1 in 5 accidents involving and injury report a distraction as a factor
  • 2 in 5 teens say they’ve been in a car while the driver was distracted by using a phone
  • Sending or receiving a text takes the drivers eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 65 mph that’s 140 yards, or the equivalent of driving almost 1.5 football fields.

Car Accident Statistics

  • 6 million – The average number of car accidents each year in the US
  • 3 million – The number of people injured in car accidents each year
  • 2 million – The number of drivers that with permanent injuries caused by car accidents
  • 90 people – Die in car accidents each day

Factors of Fatal Accidents

  • 40% – Alcohol
  • 30% – Speeding
  • 33% – Reckless Driving

Seatbelt Safety

  • 1 in 7 people don’t wear their seatbelt while driving
  • 45% – The percentage that seatbelts reduce risk of death
  • 50% – The percentage that seatbelts reduce risk of serious injury
  • 30x – You’re 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during an accident if not wearing your seatbelt.


  • gov/Features/dsDistractedDriving
  • gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbeltbrief/index.html
  • gov
  • gov/library/publications/2011/compendia/statab/131ed/transportation.html
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Concussions & Brain Injury Facts

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Traumatic Brain Infographic

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Motorcycle Accidents Infographic

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Motorcycle Infographic

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Crash Type & Driver Behavior – Infographic

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Crash Type and Driver Behavior Infographic

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Top 10 Deadliest Streets in Huntington Beach

Between 2000 and 2011 there were 122 deaths from auto accidents in Huntington Beach. 72% of all deaths happened on the same 10 streets making them the deadliest streets in HB.

Deadliest Streets in HB (Top 11)(Beach Blvd, PCH, Warner Ave, Brookhurst St, I-405, Goldenwest St, Adams Ave, Indianapolis Ave, Edinger Ave, Atlanta Ave) Continue reading “Top 10 Deadliest Streets in Huntington Beach” »

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Pool Safety Prevents Accidental Drowning

swimming pool safetyIt’s a parent’s worst nightmare. A day at the pool turns tragic, resulting in a young child’s death. According to the Daily Pilot, a three year old girl drowned in an Irvine community pool under the watchful eye of a caregiver. Apparently, she just “disappeared” and it took the caregiver and lifeguards approximately ten minutes to find her in a spa. Resuscitation efforts by the Irvine police and firefighters were ultimately unsuccessful; she was pronounced dead at a local trauma center.

Sadly, this is the fourth Orange County child to die in a pool accident this summer. The others included a two year old boy found in a residential pool, another boy of the same age in a home spa, and a three year old boy at a beach club.

Proper supervision would have saved these four children. In the most recent drowning, the child not only had a caregiver, but the pool had lifeguards. How is it that, with all this alleged supervision, a small child “disappears” for ten minutes? No answer will bring her, or the others, back. However, questions must be asked. This is important not only because the answers may well help the families deal with their loss, but also because they may enable the families to offset some of the financial costs of their loss, such as medical and funeral expenses. And finally, the answers may lead to changes in behavior and/or policy that will prevent such accidents from happening to others.

As obvious as it sounds, those watching children playing in or around water cannot take their eyes off of the children in their care. Drowning is a silent killer and an efficient, fast one as well. It can happen in just a few seconds. When you think about it, a trip to the bathroom, talking with those nearby or being on the phone, all can lead to a tragic loss.

The sad truth is that some who are responsible for childcare are not all that responsible. Negligent supervision can lead to loss of life. The law is clear that those who engage in negligent behavior must be held liable for their negligence. Caregivers and lifeguards have a duty to be vigilant. If investigations into such incidents of drowning show that the caregivers/lifeguards were not meeting the standard of care required by their positions, they and their employers can be made to pay for the damages they caused.

In addition to caregivers carefully performing their duties, there are other safety measures that can be put into place to prevent pool accidents. Water wings and lifejackets are excellent ways of keeping young children safe in the water. Gates around pools and spas to prevent access by children when no adults are present is another good way to prevent accidents.

As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Our children are precious gifts and some “boo-boos” – like these pool accidents – can’t be fixed with a kiss. Better to save our kisses and Band-Aids for skinned knees and buy some water wings.

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Amusement Park Premises Liability Issues

rollercoaster premises liabilityThere’s nothing amusing about the types of accidents that occur at amusement parks. As the quest for the latest, greatest, tallest, and fastest adrenaline-pumping experience produces rides that look like something out of a sci-fi movie, the risks are increasing, too. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio recently released a study showing that over 70% of injuries to children involving amusement park rides happen during the summer months.

Their study reviewed injuries sustained on rollercoasters, Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and bumper cars. The types of injuries included head and neck damage as well as injuries to the face, arms, and legs. The most common soft tissue injuries included ligament, muscle, and tendon damage. Only a very small percent of the injuries were serious.

In Southern California, we have some pretty great amusement parks right in our backyard. We also have our share of amusement park injuries here in SoCal. What causes these injuries? Are amusement parks truly unsafe? Well, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) looked into that issue. Their findings indicate that… it depends. While injuries from rides that required treatment in emergency rooms rose about 87% over the last five years, this trend had multiple causes. Sometimes it’s mechanical failure, other times the cause is a design defect. Operator behavior is responsible for some of the injuries and some are even caused by consumer behavior.

When the injuries are caused by defect or operator behavior, the park or the operator can be held liable for the victims’ damages. Victims can be compensated for items such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, physical therapy, permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the worst case scenario, the families of deceased victims may file a wrongful death claim for damages such as lost future income, medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of love and companionship.

Some of these accidents are worst case, too. Take, for instance, 52-year-old Rosa Ayala-Goana who fell from a rollercoaster at the Arlington, Texas Six Flags amusement park in July of this year. Witnesses said Rosa seemed concerned just before the 14-story Iron Rattler rollercoaster took off. Her concern centered on a suspicion that the safety bar wasn’t completely engaged. Rosa later fell from the rollercoaster suffering many traumatic injuries before dying as a result of the fall.

Records show that 14 injuries involving the Iron Rattler were reported in the last five years. Up until Rosa’s death, the most serious injuries were concussion and muscle strains from being bounced around on the ride. Three injuries were trip and falls on the steps to the ride. Officials shut down the Iron Rattler pending an investigation. The current theory is that Rosa either slipped out from a locked safety bar or that the safety bar disengaged. Either way, Rosa’s family may have a claim against the park as the owner has a duty to provide a safe environment and that duty was obviously breached.

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