What to Do If You See a Child or Pet in a Hot Car

Aug 07, 2018 Legal Blog    Ohio Personal Injury    Wrongful Death

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

It happens every summer—a child is accidentally left alone in a hot car and the result is heart-wrenching. According to KidsAndCars.org, 43 children died in 2017 as a result of heat-related injuries after being trapped inside a hot car.

Humans—especially children—and our four-legged friends simply cannot tolerate such extreme temperatures. Children and pets alike cannot effectively regulate their body temperature and become dehydrated more quickly than adults. Combine these physiological traits with the fact that neither group can call for help or escape on their own and you have a deadly combination.

If your child or pet was left unattended in a hot car because of someone else’s negligence, you are undoubtedly distraught. Contact the Ohio personal injury lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick today at 1-800-HURT-NOW and let us help you determine if you have a claim.

Ohio “Good Samaritan” Law

Under the Ohio Revised Code, a person who forcibly enters a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor or an animal because they are in imminent danger of harm is immune from civil liability for damage. Practically speaking, this means that if you see a child or pet in a hot car, you can take action without the fear of being sued.

While broad, the law doesn’t give rescuers a blank check when it comes to how they go about the rescue. If you see a pet or child trapped in a hot car, you must:

  • Conclude that the vehicle is indeed locked or there is no better alternative than forcible entry
  • Call 911 before breaking into the vehicle
  • Wait with the child or pet in a safe location until first responders arrive to take control of the scene
  • Not use more force than necessary to gain access and remove the child or pet from the vehicle.

What Is Imminent Danger of Harm?

Ohio’s Good Samaritan law requires bystanders to believe a child or pet is in imminent danger of harm before they may take matters into their own hands. This simply means that the child or pet is in immediate harm of injury or death.

Testing by Consumer Reports revealed that on a 61-degree day, the temperature in a car rose to a blistering 105 degrees. Another source found that on a 90-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 170 degrees. With numbers like these, it doesn’t take long for a child or pet to be at risk for immediate harm.

When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

When tragedy strikes it can be incredibly difficult to determine your rights and what steps to take next. It’s always best to discuss your options with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer. If your child or pet was injured in a car at the hands of another person, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick today. Our skilled personal injury lawyers may be able to help you get financial compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or contact us online.