A nightmare for parents is the possibility that their child will be struck by a car while playing in their own neighborhood. Unfortunately, federal statistics indicate this is all too common. A study by the National Institutes of Health shows that motor vehicle injuries lead the list of injury deaths at all ages during childhood and adolescence, and that for children from five to nine years old, pedestrian injuries are even more common than car-occupant injuries as a cause of death. In fact, being hit by cars is the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for children ages five to nine.
Pedestrian Accidents Are All Too Common, And Too Often Fatal
According to federal statistics, 146,000 child pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2017 in the United States. Also, nearly 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. The study by the Centers for Disease Control found that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip. Furthermore, in 2015, one in every five children younger than 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
Parents Can Take Steps to Protect Their Children from Being Struck by Cars
Parents can safeguard their children from pedestrian accidents in the following ways:
- If your children are playing outside, keep them in a fenced in area away from the road if possible.
- Make your children aware of the dangers of playing near streets and roads, even in your front yard.
- Finally, be aware that your own driving is a potential hazard. When backing out of your driveway, make certain that no child is behind your vehicle. Look—don’t just rely on mirrors or back-up cameras.
What if My Child Is Hit by a Car?
As in most accidents, including a case involving a collision with a child pedestrian, the question of driver liability hinges on whether the driver is negligent. In situations where the driver should know that children are present—such as near schools, parks, bus stops, playgrounds, or other areas marked by signs—drivers are required to show a higher duty of care. This standard often also applies in residential neighborhoods where children are visibly present and playing alongside streets in the yards of houses.
If your child is struck by a car, the question of fault is not the same standard to which adults are held:
- Young children are not legally responsible for their actions.
- The standard is whether the child exercised the care expected from a child of similar age, intelligence, and experience.
- Children are more prone to distraction than adults, so a momentary lapse of awareness does not lead to a child’s legal responsibility.
Call a Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If your child was hit by a vehicle in the Houston area and you believe the driver of the vehicle was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s injuries. For a free case evaluation to find out, contact Stewart J. Guss, attorney at law, at 800-898-4877, or send us an email through our online contact form.