Safety Expert Witness Opines on Child Being Struck by Vehicle

    This case involves an injury to a minor while participating in an after-school youth group.  The after school group was run by a youth organization and included numerous activities that the children could participate in. The after school program’s center was located across the street from a playground, which the children would occasionally go to, under the supervision of the center’s employees. When crossing the street to go to the playground, three supervisors were required to go with the children and had to remain there until the children were ready to go back to the center. On the day in question, the center decided to have the children go the playground, but one child, the plaintiff, remained behind to use the restroom. After the remainder of the children crossed the street, two employees attempted to scold one child for inappropriate behavior and did not see the plaintiff attempting to cross the street. The plaintiff was struck by a vehicle and sustained a broken arm, a concussion, and three cracked ribs.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Should the supervisors have monitored the children crossing the street more closely?

    Expert Witness Response E-005549

    In youth groups, all reasonable precautions need to be taken to minimize the risks associated with the activities the children intend to participate in. If a dangerous condition exists, then reasonable measures should be taken to protect the children. In this case, the amount of supervisors was appropriate (with one supervisor on each side of the street, and another supervisor waiting at the playground), but, given the unique circumstances, the center’s employees should have been more cautious. If one child remained behind to use the restroom, a supervisor should have remained either at the center or waiting where the child was supposed to cross. Further examination of the circumstances of the accident should flesh out the culpability of the youth center, including the training of the employees, the existence of a crosswalk or other means of crossing, any prior accidents, and the age of the children (both the plaintiff and his peers). It appears, however, that the employees of the youth center did not act in accordance with the appropriate standard of care.

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