The Danger of Child Pedestrian Accidents in the U.S.While any person can fall victim to a pedestrian accident, portions of the population in the U.S. are more susceptible than others to becoming the victim of one. Children, in addition to the elderly, are commonly victims of collisions with vehicles, and these vulnerable victims are also at higher risk of suffering catastrophic or fatal injuries. Although you may think it is only younger children at risk of an accident with vehicles on the roadways, older teens may also be at higher risk. For example, vehicle accident reporting by the CDC indicates that fatal pedestrian accidents involving children were highest for pedestrians under five years old at 20 percent and those aged 15 and older at over 17 percent.
Why Are Children Most at Risk of Pedestrian Accidents With Vehicles?There is not one single factor that makes a child more vulnerable to a pedestrian crash. but rather a combination of factors that make them more susceptible to harm when a negligent driver is behind the wheel of a car in their vicinity. For example, young children, adolescents, and teenagers do not have the same capacity for judgment and reaction times to identify danger and react appropriately as their adult counterparts. These delays in reaction times and altered perception make it more challenging for a child to avoid an oncoming driver engaged in negligent behaviors, particularly when a vehicle is speeding. Negligent driver actions that can endanger a child traveling on or near a roadway as a pedestrian include:
- Distracted driving
- Speeding, particularly in school zones or residential areas
- Driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield to signs, traffic lights, signals, crosswalks, or pedestrians already crossing the road
- Poor lighting
- Lack of traffic signs or crosswalks
- Malfunctioning crosswalk lights or traffic lights
- Another driver or third party’s actions
- Road work or poor conditions of a pedestrian path
How Can You Help Protect Your Child’s Rights After a Vehicle Pedestrian Crash?As a parent, your only worry after a pedestrian accident involving your child is their wellbeing. Uncertainty can surround the days and weeks after a crash, particularly about your child’s injuries and the potential future impacts. In the immediate days following the crash, you may not know what you can or should do to help your child in the weeks, months, and years to come as they face the after-effects of the accident. While you will support your child through their emotional and physical recovery and help them through their medical treatment, there are additional steps you can also take to protect the rights they could have as a victim of negligence under the law. Although your child is a minor, they are still eligible to recover their losses if the cause of the accident is the negligence of another party or parties. Acting sooner rather than later can help your child with their case as the claim for their losses and potential lawsuit progresses.
Prioritize Your Child’s Medical CareThe injuries to your child may be severe or life-altering in nature. Regardless of the extent of your child’s injuries, you must help them continue to get access to the treatment and medical support they need. Although a full recovery and healing from disabling injuries are not always possible, it is in your child’s best interest to reach the maximum possible recovery. The process of healing and recovery requires you to help your child remain dedicated to their care, including attending all appointments, therapy sessions, and follow-ups and following the advice of their medical team for their treatment plan in your child’s best interest. Children’s injuries from a pedestrian accident can cause lifelong struggles. A child that suffers severe injuries while they are still growing and developing can face future consequences because of the accident injuries. These consequences can affect their health and prevent them from enjoying their lives as they deserve. They can prevent them from going to school or work once they are of age. Helping your child get the proper medical care now can avoid some detrimental effects on their future.
Gather The Evidence You CanCollecting evidence of your child’s accident can be challenging, especially if you were not with them when the accident occurred or in the immediate moments following the crash. It can feel overwhelming to figure out what happened or how the accident transpired, but taking time to collect the information can help you feel organized and prepared for taking the next step in the case.
- Reach out to the police department that responded to the scene of the crash
- Keep all medical records and documentation of the ER visit, hospitalization, and long-term treatment
- Photograph your child’s injuries as they progress through recovery
- Save any text messages, voicemails, or other communications from any party to the accident
- Retrieve and review the police report about the accident
- Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses that have come forward
Create a Record of Your Child’s Experience After the CrashUnlike adults that can more easily recollect their experience during and after an accident, a child, especially younger children, may have difficulties expressing themselves. Trauma from the accident may also cloud their memory. As your child moves through the difficult recovery period and heals from their injuries, it can be helpful if you, as a parent, take note of what they are facing along each phase. This can include information about their physical recovery, emotional challenges or setbacks, and behavior or mood changes. Photographs and videos can also help show your child’s injuries, how quickly or slowly they heal, and any complications they could face.
Call an Attorney with Experience Representing Children of Pedestrian AccidentsWhen considering your options after your child’s pedestrian accident, you will likely want to hire a lawyer to help you with the case and represent your child’s and your family’s rights. Handling an accident with a child as a victim can be challenging. When considering your options, choose a lawyer with experience working on child victim cases. Try to hire a lawyer as soon as you can. The medical bills and insurance claims regarding the accident will begin to add up and evolve immediately after the crash. While you worry and care for your injured child, the at-fault party and insurers will already be hard at work trying to protect their interests. The best route is to hire a lawyer to take the pressure off you while you comfort and help your child after the crash. A child pedestrian accident attorney can communicate with insurers and other parties and begin working on preparing and negotiating your child’s claim and case.
Can You File a Lawsuit If a Car Hits Your Child on the Road?Deciding whether or not a lawsuit is necessary or appropriate in your child’s injury accident case is something your attorney will discuss and weigh the options with you. The reality is that a lawsuit may only sometimes be a necessary step for your child to get the compensation they are eligible for following a pedestrian injury. The most common solution is through the negotiation of an insurance claim with the help of your lawyer. In several instances, an attorney can help you secure a reasonable settlement that addresses your child’s losses and future needs relating to their accident injuries. However, there are times when the negotiation process is unsuccessful. Common grounds for taking a case to court may include when an insurer does not accept liability, there are multiple parties at fault, the amount an insurer offers is too low, or the limitations on the coverage are well below the reality of the damages in your child’s case.
What Compensation Could You Collect for Your Child as a Victim of a Pedestrian Car Crash?You can face many financial pressures and concerns after your child is a victim of a pedestrian car crash. It is not uncommon for you or another parent or family member to take time off work to care for and support their child through this challenging time. In addition, your child may need costly medical treatment, including emergency transportation, ER care, hospitalization, surgery, therapy, medical equipment, and prescriptions. It is burdensome to begin to think about how you will pay these bills and meet the needs of your child through their recovery, especially if you or another parent are unable to work. Fortunately, an insurance claim or lawsuit on behalf of your child allows you to seek compensation for these and many more losses relating to your child’s pedestrian accident. The amount of compensation available in each case varies. It can depend on factors such as the severity and type of injury involved and the long-term effects of the child’s injuries. However, your pedestrian accident attorney can go over the facts of your case to help you identify the losses to your child and your family due to the accident. An attorney that represents you and your child in a child pedestrian claim and case will try to fight for the maximum damages possible against an insurer or party at fault. Damages in a child pedestrian accident case can include:
- Medical costs
- Loss of parents’ income or earnings
- Future loss of the child’s income potential and earnings
- Future medical expenses necessary to support your child
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering