From the moment they're born, we do everything in our power to keep our children safe. We baby-proof the house when they start crawling, make sure they’re in the right child safety seat in the car, and always keep a close eye on them at the park.
However, we can’t have a hand on them 100 percent of the time and, unfortunately, the risk of them being hit by a car is significant. In fact, of children under the age of 14 killed in traffic accidents in 2017, 20 percent were pedestrians.
If your child was injured in a pedestrian crash, you can hold the negligent driver accountable on your child’s behalf. Learn how children are typically hit by cars and the steps you should take to make sure your child is compensated.
How Children Are Hurt in Pedestrian Accidents
Small children are unpredictable and hard to see, but that’s no excuse for a driver to be inattentive. As children and teens walk to school, play in parks and playgrounds, walk the family dog, or skateboard to a friend’s house, they're counting on drivers to be aware of their presence—even when the child isn't aware of the cars.
When a child is hit by a car, it's typically for one of the following reasons:
- Distracted, fatigued, or drunk drivers. The greatest danger to a child pedestrian is a driver who isn't paying attention to the activity around their car. Whether the driver is on their phone, dozing off after a day of work, or impaired after a few glasses of wine with dinner, there's no way they will see a child in a crosswalk, darting out after a ball, or on the sidewalk in front of a driveway.
- Poor driveway and parking lot visibility. When backing out of a driveway or a parking space, motorists need to look all around their cars for children who might have broken away from their parents or are walking alone to a neighbor’s house. Tragically, driveway backup accidents often involve parents running over their own children.
- Lack of sidewalks. In rural areas or neighborhoods without sidewalks, kids could be walking, scootering, skateboarding, or biking in the road, and motorists have to be aware of this possibility. Drivers in suburban and rural areas need to be extra cautious about giving children plenty of space.
- Busy school zones. Anyone who has negotiated a school drop-off zone knows how stressful it can be. Not only are you dealing with hundreds of kids getting out of cars, walking from nearby homes, and getting off school buses, but you also have rushed parents trying to get to work. This is a recipe for disaster.
- Chasing a toy or pet. No matter how many songs kids learn in pre-school about not chasing a ball into the street, in the moment, they'll do it without a second thought. People driving by parks or through neighborhoods need to be constantly vigilant about this possibility. Blaming a young child for darting into the street is never going to go over well.
When a driver hits a child with their car, they might not face criminal charges if the police decide the accident couldn’t have been avoided. If the motorist was distracted or drunk, or violated a traffic law like running a stop sign, liability will be clear, and they will be ticketed and charged. However, even if the driver isn't ticketed, as the parent of an injured child, you can still hold them civilly liable.
Making a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of Your Child
When a young child is hit by a car, his injuries can be catastrophic. Multiple bone fractures, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury aren't uncommon in children who have been run over by a car. If your child’s medical bills will exceed $2,000 or he'll be permanently disfigured or disabled by the injury, you can hold the driver who hit him liable for the damage they caused on your child’s behalf.
To learn more about this kind of personal injury claim, contact the pedestrian accident team at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP. We serve clients throughout Massachusetts from our main office in Framingham. Fill out our contact form or call us today. We proudly represent child accident victims to get them the compensation they deserve.