At Mishkind Kulwicki Law, we are interested in cases involving children. A recent medical journal reports on one disturbing trend that is likely to result in a lawsuit. The journal Pediatrics reports that about one-half of children with autism wander away from caregivers often putting themselves in harm’s way. Wandering (or elopement) by autistic children puts them at risk of drowning or getting hit by a car. According to the study, of autistic kids who escaped the eye of caregivers, “65% had close calls with getting hit in traffic, and 24% were at risk of drowning during their escapade.” Sadly, the authors concluded that “
There are numerous settings where autistic children are placed under the care of of someone other than their parent: babysitters, school outings, school after-care programs, bus or other transportation, day care, camps, and therapists or other healthcare providers. Properly trained caregivers should be alerted to these children’s propensity to wander, become distracted or lost, and/or fail to heed obvious dangers like ponds, lakes, rivers, swimming pools or traffic. Under Ohio law, when a caregiver fails to properly monitor and supervise an autistic child, they may be subject to a claim for negligence.
Cases involving children carry special considerations in terms of damages and family dynamics. Often times, parents are unmarried, separated or divorced when a child is injured, so their relative rights in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit becomes an issue. Likewise, when parents experience injury or death of a beloved child, damages are often measured by noneconomic factors, such as grief, emotional distress and suffering. We have experience with these circumstances and can answer all of your questions.