The walk to and from school is when children are at the highest risk of a pedestrian accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 181 child pedestrians killed in 2019. 29% of weekday accidents occurred between 3 and 5:49 p.m., and 18% were between 6 and 8:59 a.m., peak hours for school-bound children.
Understanding what to do if your child is hit by a car while walking to or from school can help if an incident occurs. Learn the steps to take and how to prepare your child for back-to-school safety.
Who Is at Fault in a Car-Pedestrian Collision?
If drivers are distracted, speeding in a school zone, disregarding a crosswalk or crossing guard’s instructions, or otherwise not obeying traffic laws, they can be held responsible for the accident.
However, a child may also be considered partly at fault in certain situations. For instance, a child who runs out into the street instead of crossing at the crosswalk may be liable for the incident. Young children might not be held responsible due to their age. However, an insurance company or jury may claim that an older child bears some responsibility for their actions.
Hiring a skilled auto collisions lawyer with Dudley DeBosier can help you assess the circumstances of your child’s accident. We can help you understand your legal rights and options based on your case’s unique factors.
Immediate Actions to Take
Learning that your child was hit by a car is a terrifying situation. Knowing what to do next will ensure your child gets the necessary medical care. It can also help you establish a strong claim for your child’s case if necessary.
Seek Medical Care
Pedestrians are often catastrophically injured by car accidents, regardless of age. Take your child to emergency services or their pediatrician as soon as possible, so they can treat your child’s injuries and establish relevant medical records for an insurance claim.
File Suit on Behalf of Your Child
It’s possible to file for damages against the driver’s insurance to help pay for your child’s medical bills. Under Louisiana law, a parent or legal guardian or a parent with primary custody can file on behalf of a minor child under 18.
You may file a claim against the negligent driver. If the driver who caused the accident is also under 18, you can file a claim with their parent’s insurance.
In Louisiana, the legal system places any settlements made to a minor in a court-directed account or annuity arrangement. To access the funds before your child turns 18, you must file a petition with the court.
Navigating these claims can feel overwhelming on your own, so speaking with an experienced auto attorney can help you through the process.
Talking About Road Safety With Your Child
According to SafeKids.org, Louisiana is one of the riskier states for child pedestrians. Out of every 100,000 pedestrian deaths, 0.74 are children. Teaching your child basic road safety will protect them from car accidents and help you avoid an expensive lawsuit. Before you allow your child to walk to school alone, teach them to:
- Look both ways before they cross the street.
- Only cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk. In 2020, of 177 child pedestrians killed, 62% were not at an intersection at the time of the accident.
- Make eye contact with the driver before they cross the road to ensure the driver sees them.
- Pay attention to the surrounding area. Look up from phones or other devices to avoid accidentally stepping into the street in front of a vehicle.
- Never play near the road or chase a friend or toy into the street.
Seek Legal Advice From Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers
Seeing your child injured is every parent’s worst nightmare. The Houma car accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier understand the legal nuances of child-pedestrian accidents. We can help you and your family make sound legal decisions regarding your case and rebuild your life after an auto accident.
Contact Dudley DeBosier today to schedule a free consultation with our Houma-area legal team.
Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
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