Legal Implications Of Children Left In Hot Cars

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Legal Implications Of Children Left In Hot Cars

Legal Implications Of Children Left In Hot Cars

It happens all-too-often and many times has very unfortunate outcomes. It is easy to get so busy as a parent you make mistakes. Most of the time these mistakes are small and do not present significant implications for you or your family’s lives. Other times, these mistakes can have devastating outcomes. So far, in 2019, there have been 51 child fatalities from being left in hot cars. Across the country, an average of 39 children who are younger than 15 years-of-age will die every year from being stuck in a vehicle that gets way to hot for their bodies to handle. Sadly, since 1998 every state in the country had a child die in a hot car. In 2018 the number skyrocketed to 53 deaths of youngsters.

While some of these instances have been due to malicious intent, the majority was a mistake on the parent or caregiver’s part. According to the research of Jan Null, CCM, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University, over half of these deaths were a result of the caregiver forgetting these children are in the car when they exit their vehicles. After such tragedy, the question becomes one of if the resulting death should be considered a homicide or an accident. KidsAndCars.org indicates that convictions are on the rise for these incidents and the responsible parties easily plead guilty before their trials start.

Every case is different and there are no steadfast rules as to how to approach these woeful situations. In general, though, parents tend to be held less liable for conviction than other caregivers are such as babysitters or childcare professionals that are not related to the victims. 

How Can A Child Perish In A Car?

The temperature inside a car gets extremely hot if left out in the sun for even a minimal amount of time. A car acts similarly to that of greenhouses and when the sun is directly beating down on a vehicle it will heat the inside. Whatever is in the car during the time the sun is baking it will see an increase in temperature as well. This increase can be quite significant, reaching temperatures above 200 degrees. It doesn’t take very long for this to happen either. In as little as a half-hour, the temperature inside a car sitting out in the sun can be sweltering, to say the least. 

As the vehicle heats up so dramatically, the child inside essentially suffers from heatstroke. Since 1198 there have been almost 850 child deaths from Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH). These were all preventable deaths. Vehicle owners who have children should engage in the following safety behaviors to help reduce the risk that their children will die in a hot car:

  • Teach children that vehicles are not toys, they are no place to play and they can be dangerous. Vehicles are only to be entered with a responsible adult.
  • Always take your child out of your car when you are exiting it, even if it is just for a moment during a quick errand. It is easy to become distracted and take more time doing something than was first thought or intended and those precious moments can mean death for a child that is left in a car progressively heating up.
  • Remember that a rolled down window is no protection against heatstroke in a car. Neither is parking in a shaded area. The interior of a car can heat up significantly even in the shade.

Are Deaths For Children Left Inside Hot Cars Homicides?

Legal Implications Of Children Left In Hot CarsAgain, every case and each situation is different. The outcome can be the difference of a caregiver looking at a wrongful death accident or a homicide, but often figuring out which is a complex process as well as a challenging one. To understand better how these cases are examined, there are generally four categories that these tragedies fall into:

  • A caregiver or parent leaves a child in a car by accident, they forget they are in the car.
  • A child gets into a car and becomes stuck inside without the knowledge of a parent or caregiver.
  • The child is maliciously and purposely left in a hot car. 
  • The reason for a child being in a hot car is unknown.

Out of these four categories, one stands out as a clear indication of homicide. In cases where it is proven that the responsible party has intentionally left a child in a hot car, the result would be a clear-cut homicide charge. Any individual who is purposely leaving a youngster in a hot car does not have good intentions towards the child. The three other categories are a bit more difficult to diagnose. In these situations, legal professionals like the Colorado attorneys at Injury Victim Law, in combination with judges and juries will be responsible for deciding. Because the details surrounding each case varies, these legal bodies will decide the outcome of each situation on a case-by-case basis.

The majority of these horrific situations are not the result of a caregiver trying to inflict harm on children. And in cases where homicide is assessed to be appropriate, the rightful legal responses and repercussions will be enforced. In cases where a wrongful death was deemed plausible by grieving parents or caregivers that made a horrible mistake, the family of the child must seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney at Injury Victim Law for help. These skillful legal professionals can provide families with effective representation to defend their rights weather the case is settled through a court proceeding or outside of one.

Do You Need The Assistance Of A Wrongful Death Lawyer In Colorado?

No amount of money can bring back a loved one or help ease the pain of that loss. However, those who have been victimized and had to endure tragic loss, as a result, deserve to have their interests represented and to see compensation for the pain and suffering that they have to endure. Families who had a loved one wrongly taken from them deserve to see the highest amount of compensation for their loss and to obtain a fair settlement, the help of an attorney at Injury Victim Law is crucial to the success of their case. 

Don’t wait to call the resourceful and aggressive attorneys at Injury Victim Law today for help with your case. Our team of Colorado accident lawyers can be reached at (800)-245-2774. One of our experienced and highly talented attorneys will discuss your case with you during a free consultation.

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