Child Bike Riding Accidents
The Legal Implications of a Child Bicyclist Getting Hit by a Car
Due to the difference in force between bicycles and cars, bike accidents can be highly impactful and cause severe injury to the bicyclist. However, children may endure even worse injuries because of their small frames. For this reason, motorists must hold a greater responsibility when they are driving around areas where child bike riders are present. Below, our expert team of bike accident attorneys from West Coast Trial Lawyers break down child bike accident laws.
California’s Comparative Liability
California is a fault state, meaning that when an accident happens, someone must be found at-fault for causing it. California is also a comparative liability state, meaning that more than one party involved can be found liable for damages and injuries. The weight of liability for each party is determined by the level of negligence they contributed to the collision.
Motorists and bicyclists have a duty of care to avoid harming anyone on the road. If they fail to use reasonable care and cause an accident, then the motorist or bicyclist is held liable to those injured from the crash. However, with child bike riders, they might not be aware of the rules of the road and perform actions that may put them in danger. For this reason, motorists and bicyclists are expected to provide a greater duty of care when they are in the presence of children.
Driver’s Increased Duty of Care for Children
A driver must increase their duty of care when they are around children. This is primarily why school zone speed limits and rules exist. However, even when drivers are not passing by places that have safety signs up for children, they are still expected to be extra cautious in locations where children may be seen, such as parks, playgrounds, and neighborhoods. They need to be prepared at any moment for a child to pop into the road by surprise.
Children still have a lot to learn about the world, especially when it comes to the rules of the road. They might commit negligent actions while bike riding or playing out in the street, but they simply may not know better or be aware of the dangers they are putting themselves in. However, since they are children, both motorists and bicyclists must pay them a higher duty of care.
Child Bike Helmet Laws
In California, minors are lawfully required to wear a helmet while riding their bicycles. It is not mandatory for adults to wear their helmets, however, it is encouraged. Serious injuries to the head or brain can be less likely if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet. If a child is involved in a bicycle accident without wearing a helmet and sustains a serious head injury, it could affect the level of liability for the driver. The child’s family may face a lesser amount of compensation for damages and/or injuries caused by the accident.
What to Do if a Child Bicyclist Gets Hit by a Car
- Stop and immediately call 911 for emergency assistance. Whether you are the person who hit the child or someone who witnessed the accident, it is important for you to contact the local authorities. Officers will arrive at the scene of the accident and create an official police report that can be used as proof of what happened. Paramedics may also arrive and provide immediate medical attention to anyone who was injured by the collision.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. A parent or guardian should get the driver’s license plate number, insurance information, and contact information. It is highly suggested for the parents or guardian to also take pictures of the injuries and/or damages along with the location of where the accident took place. Lastly, it would be ideal to attain a copy of the official police report to use as additional proof of what happened.
- Offer the child words of support and comfort. Do not touch the child, unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. This includes wrapping up any blood or taking the child to a safer location nearby until emergency medical assistance arrives.
- Get an attorney. The parent or legal guardian of the child should hire an experienced bike accident attorney as soon as possible to start the process of building a claim against the driver at-fault. An attorney will help get the family the compensation they deserve for the damages and/or injuries caused by the accident.
Need a Bike Accident Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help
Our experienced team of bike accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve to cover for damages including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.