7 Ways Children Are at Unique Risk of Pedestrian Accidents

It’s heartbreaking for any parent to experience their child being injured in an accident. There is never any warning or preparation when the unexpected happens. Pedestrian accidents are no different and they can happen in so many ways. Here are some of the cases we’ve seen involving kids.

Children Riding Bikes Across a School CrosswalkAccidents Involving Children in School Crossings

Drivers have a responsibility to slow down when driving through school zones. Children can be unpredictable. When drivers actually slow to 15 mph they have a markedly better chance of slowing or stopping if a child enters the roadway or darts into their path. Drivers must not be impatient and do such things as speed through a school zone or school crossing, turn right or left at an intersection or cross a crosswalk in a school zone without being signaled to do so or failing to stop when required.

A Child Injured Exiting a Stopped School Bus

Someone driving a car approaching a bus which has stopped to discharge children must not be impatient by attempting to pass. They must be aware kids will be crossing in front of the stopped bus. Kids will naturally assume traffic has stopped and will not be looking for someone to be passing. Passing a stopped school bus is not only against the law, it is extremely dangerous. There is no sympathy for a driver whose impatience injures a child.

Back Over Pedestrian Cases

One of the most dangerous places for a child to walk is behind a car that is in reverse. These tragic back over cases can happen in the driveway where the child lives or is visiting. They can just as commonly occur while walking on a sidewalk where it crosses a driveway. Drivers attempting to back out of a driveway, across a sidewalk or in a parking lot may be unable to see small children behind them and be unaware of their presence. In many cases, they simply fail to look. Sadly, small children often don’t recognize the immediate danger posed by a backing vehicle nor do they possess the motor coordination required to move quickly enough to avoid it.

Child Hit in a Parking Lot

Drivers have many distractions when backing out of a parking space or driving in a parking lot. They may be watching for approaching cars or they may be looking over their shoulder in one direction and be unaware of a child walking from another direction. When a child walks ahead of or behind an adult it increases the chance they may not be seen by a backing driver. Regardless, drivers have a responsibility to exercise care when driving in and out of parking spaces.

Injured While Playing in a Driveway

Incredible as it may seem, we’ve experienced situations in which a driver pulling into a driveway failed to see children playing. Clearly, drivers can’t do this. They must see and avoid anyone in the direct path of their vehicle.

Children Running Into the Road

Children do the unexpected. They run into the road chasing a ball or a pet, they dart out from behind a parked car or they suddenly cross into the street to get to a friend’s house. In Florida, depending on their age, children are not held to the same standard as an adult. The focus of the insurance company will be to blame your child for what happened. Don’t just buy into that argument, it is never that simple. Each accident involving a child must be looked at very carefully and your lawyer must know what facts and circumstances will make a difference.

A Child Hit While Walking in a Crosswalk

One of the biggest dangers of using crosswalks is the mistaken belief drivers will always stop. The reality is cars don’t stop for people in crosswalks and many children don’t realize this. The reasons are the same, driver distraction, inattention to the road ahead and impatience. Anyone using a crosswalk must always carefully watch every approaching car assuming the driver has not seen them.

This is a big factor at intersections where cars and trucks can make a left or right turn across a crosswalk, especially larger multilane intersections. Most adults understand they must constantly look not only for cars coming from their left or right but also behind them for a car turning at the intersection. Many refer to this as needing to walk with their head on a swivel, constantly looking in several directions.

Unfortunately, most children lack the presence of mind to do this. A child within a crosswalk always has the right of way so long as they have not stepped suddenly into the path of the approaching car. We believe drivers must be held responsible when their careless and negligent driving injures a child, particularly a child hit by a car within a crosswalk.

If you or someone you know has a child who has been injured in any type of accident, you need to turn to a lawyer in confidence, someone who not only has years of experience in handling child injuries but also the compassion and real understanding for your needs as a parent as well.

 

Jim Dodson
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.