The family of a nine-year-old boy who lost all of his fingers and suffered serious burns in a go-kart accident has sued both the go-kart manufacturer and the track. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Oct. 5 that the Olmstead family has sued the Palm Beach International Raceway, vehicle manufacturer Carter Bros. and engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton. No damages were specified, but the family’s Palm Beach County injuries to minors attorney said he expected the recovery in the case to be high. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which enforces safety rules for most products, is investigating the safety of the go-kart involved.
The victim, Devin Olmstead, visited the racetrack with his father in May of this year with a go-kart the family owned. According to the article, Devin was racing when he hit rough, uneven pavement, causing the kart to flip and burst into flames. Devin was trapped, and the lawsuit says the track didn’t have personnel, fire extinguishers or emergency phones on hand. Instead, a bystander came to Devin’s aid. Unfortunately, all ten of Devin’s fingers were lost in the fire and he suffered burns from his chin to his torso. In an unrelated motorcycle crash Oct. 4, motorcyclist Isidro Castillo, 32, hit a wall at the racetrack and is hospitalized in critical condition.
As a Pembroke Pines child injury attorney, I already keep a close eye on all accidents related to children and motor vehicles. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American children ages three and older, and accidents with ATVs — which children may legally operate in most states — kill more than 100 kids nationwide each year and injure around 150,000 others. Unlike ordinary motor vehicles, go-karts are specifically designed for children, which makes it all the more important that manufacturers ensure that their products are not unreasonably dangerous, even for inexperienced younger drivers. The same goes for racetracks open to children and teens, which have a legal responsibility to make sure their young clients are not exposed to undue risks.
When children and teenagers are seriously injured because of the carelessness of adults around them, families have the right to hold those adults responsible for the results. That includes the carelessness of a facility that lets upkeep slide or a manufacturer that makes a product that’s dangerous even when used as intended. At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, our Weston child accident attorneys represented injured kids and their families in lawsuits to hold these wrongdoers responsible and recover all of the costs of the injuries they caused. That includes all medical bills, any time away from work for family members and other purely financial costs, as well as compensation for the child’s pain, trauma and any loss of ability or future opportunities.
If someone else’s bad decisions caused your child to suffer a serious injury, you don’t have to go through it alone. Cohn, Smith & Cohn can tell you all about your rights and your legal options at a free, confidential case evaluation. To set one up, please contact us through our Web site or call (954) 431-8100 today.