Child Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
A pedestrian accident is the leading cause of death for children between 1 and 14 years old.
Unfortunately, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate, which is why it's important to learn how to protect your child from the types of injuries sustained in traffic accidents.
Was your child injured in an accident while walking or cycling on the sidewalk or road? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for child pedestrians injured or killed through another's negligence.
Contact a Chicago pedestrian accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Child Pedestrian Injuries
More than 3,000 children are killed or injured in pedestrian accidents each year. The good news is that you can do things to protect your child from becoming a statistic.
Start by teaching them the rules of the road and how to stay safe while walking near traffic. Then make sure they know what to do if they find themselves crossing a street or highway. Finally, please encourage them to walk with friends and always wear reflective clothing at night so drivers can see them easily.
Child Pedestrian Accidents: A Serious Problem Involving Younger Children
A pedestrian is no match for a motor vehicle, especially when that pedestrian is only a child. Yet, unfortunately, many young children are injured or lost due to negligent drivers, many speeding, intoxicated, or distracted behind the wheel. These senseless accidents can alter a child and their family's lives forever, causing physical, financial, and emotional damage.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to protecting the legal rights of child pedestrians injured in the greater Chicagoland area. Our office appreciates parents' concern when their child is injured in an accident with a negligently operated vehicle.
We invite you to contact our office for a free review of your child-pedestrian accident case. Our office is headquartered in Chicago, but we regularly represent clients from all areas of Illinois.
Pedestrian accidents remain the fifth most significant cause of childhood deaths for ages 5-19. Unfortunately, these statistics represent lives that were taken much too young. All these tragic deaths were preventable.
Keeping Child Pedestrians Safe From Vehicles When Crossing the Street
Everyone has a responsibility to keep children safe, from parents and teachers to drivers on the road. Young children should be educated on safe roadway habits taught by parents and siblings that lead by example.
The child should be taught to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. All children must be told not to play in the street and learn to take special precautions when getting off school buses.
The most significant contributing factor to most children's pedestrian accidents is not just teaching kids about distracted walking. All motorists must be trained to follow the rules of the road and not drive distracted. It is hard to keep a child or teenager's attention focused in the best of circumstances.
A child pedestrian accident occurs most often in the following circumstances:
- Driving too fast for conditions or impairment: This includes both drug and alcohol-impaired driving. Speeding and reckless driving are dangerous behaviors that lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities involving pedestrians.
- Driving distractions: This includes everything from cell phone use to eating while driving. Anything that takes a motorist's eyes off the road or diverts them from concentrating on safely operating a vehicle can lead to a devastating or deadly accident.
- Sidewalk and road debris: Unsafe road conditions, including poor lighting, uneven surfaces, and potholes, can lead to traffic crashes.
- Pedestrian-vehicle collisions: are frequently due to the inattentive or reckless behavior
- Lack ofparental supervision: When children cross the street:
- Parents dropping children off in undesignated areas or around school busses
- Lack of posted pedestrian or bicyclist safety tips in congested areas
- Mishaps involving school-age children with developmental limitations
- A lack of safe walking zones on busy streets
- A lack of traffic signals or posted speed limit signs
- A lack of a child's ability to recognize dangers, especially in children under the age of 5
Many children walk while listening to their electronic devices, playing a hand-held game, or texting on their phones. During this time, the chance that they are paying attention to the world around them is unlikely.
Distracted walking has become a genuine danger for children, especially teens. It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to discourage the practice of distracted walking by discussing it with their children at every age. Adults can lead by example and not talk or text on their phones while walking and driving.
Drivers Need to Lookout for Children Who May Be in the Street
When a child is hit by a vehicle, the responsibility is almost always on the driver. However, regardless of the child's behavior, the adult behind the wheel must be paying attention to their surroundings.
Most children's accidents happen in areas where children are expected to be. These areas include near schools, a school crossing zone, residential areas, near parks, getting on and off a school bus, parking lots, crossing traffic lights, etc. Therefore, motorists should be on the lookout for children, driving slowly and keeping their eyes on the road.
Distracted driving has become one of the most significant factors in bicycle accidents and car accidents resulting in serious injury. The Chicago area, including Lake County and Cook County, can be a more dangerous environment for pedestrian accidents.
It is crucial to teach children not to walk distracted, and motorists should already know to keep their attention on driving. For example, a child may have begun crossing the road half a block away in the few seconds it takes to read an email or text while driving. By the time a driver looks up to see them, it would be too late to stop.
The injured party might suffer from:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and bruises
- Mental and emotional distress
- Severe nonfatal injuries
Every one of the listed child pedestrian injuries above can have a long-lasting impact on the injured party. In many cases, a pedestrian accident leaves a lifelong injury.
For example, statistics by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reveal that in 2017, 20% of all children killed in a motor vehicle accident were pedestrians.
Illinois law allows the injured child's parents to file a claim when a child is injured in a pedestrian accident in Chicago due to a negligent driver. The lawsuit can recover compensation for their child's medical expenses, pain, and long-term disability.
While pedestrians, in general, are usually considered to have the right-of-way, many pedestrian accident cases involving children are not clear cut from a liability perspective. For example, a child may not be crossing in a marked crosswalk or entering the street unexpectedly. A personal injury lawyer can provide immediate legal advice and handle every aspect of your case.
Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
Developing and initiating a pedestrian safety action plan can improve pedestrian safety, minimize traffic fatalities, and avoid pedestrian accidents with many elementary school children's catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
The safety action plan should include common places where children are seen walking. These areas might include schools, bus stop locations, parks, child-care centers, and other commonly visited sites by pedestrians under 16.
Make sure signage is visible to motorists. It should be easy to understand what the sign means. Ensure that pedestrian safety signs are placed near crosswalks and intersectional crosswalk markings that are very noticeable.
Provide a safe crossing path for children on both ends of the street, especially in front of schools. Install more lighting near intersections and bus stops to improve visibility. Make sure there is some barrier between passing traffic lanes and pedestrians, such as a planted median or wide sidewalk.
Designate a safe place for children to cross. It might be near a traffic light or at a dedicated crossing guard location. Work with the school district or local parents' association to host regular safety education sessions covering basic pedestrian rules and motorist responsibilities.
Do not let motor vehicles idle near intersections, bus stops, and crosswalks:
- Idling vehicle emissions is one of the most significant environmental factors in school bus-related health disparities
- For children who have asthma, idling vehicles can lead to an increased risk for a severe asthma attack
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be taught traffic safety at a young age. In addition to increased enforcement and education, families can adopt behaviors that help reduce the risk of pedestrian deaths involving children.
For example, aside from slowing down, drivers should always avoid distractions and not use their cell phones or text while driving, especially in school areas with high concentrations of pedestrians.
Finally, kids should be taught to walk on sidewalks where they are available and make eye contact with drivers before crossing. This way, drivers will know if children are planning to cross the street. Additionally, all families should review pedestrian safety rules about walking home from school zones or other locations.
The Walkability of the Community
In a study of elementary children in Sacramento, 59% walked to school. However, this number may be inaccurate because only 30% of families correctly reported their child's activity level.
If parents are unaware that their child walks to school, their child does walk to school. In addition, many children walk to school every day, which increases the risk of a pedestrian accident for kids.
According to a 2008 study, children who live in communities with high walkability scores are less likely to be obese. It is because they get more exercise walking to and from destinations without depending on cars.
In addition, highly walkable communities have good sidewalks, easy-to-understand crossing rules, and safe streets. In this way, there is a clear trend between walkability and obesity in youth.
In conclusion, if children can be active through walking, they will have better health outcomes and decreased risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Traffic Fatalities Involving Children
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for American children ages 5 to 14. Of these fatalities, 28% occur between 3 and 7 p.m. on school days.
Most victims are struck by motorists while crossing the street or walking near roadways. Therefore, children must understand how to be safe around traffic because kids are more vulnerable to being in a pedestrian accident no matter how careful.
US DOT Data: Child Pedestrian Accidents Occur at an Alarming Rate
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, half of all children killed in accidents were walking or riding bikes at their death time. Pedestrians that motorists strike typically suffer severe injuries, including spinal cord injuries and brain damage.
It is especially true for children because their bones are more easily broken, and they have a higher center of gravity when compared to adults.
When a child pedestrian is struck by a moving vehicle, they typically fall forward at the point of impact, which results in head injuries. In addition, primary impact points often coincide with highly sensitive areas such as the head or neck.
As the number of children outside increases in the spring, parents must review safety measures with their children. This way, pedestrian accidents will decrease, and kids can safely enjoy the warm weather.
Insurance Institute of Highway Safety Data on Pedestrian Fatalities
Data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that child accidents usually occur at non-intersection locations such as driveways and parking lots. Children are more likely not to use crosswalks, and there is a higher volume of cars and trucks traveling in these areas.
Parents must teach their children about safe pedestrian behavior before they start walking to school, playing outside, or even riding a bike.
Parents will reduce their child's chance of being involved in a pedestrian accident and protect them from other forms of a child's injuries by letting their children know the rules they should follow.
In the past five years, pedestrian accidents have increased drastically due to more drivers and many distractions.
To help decrease the number of traffic fatalities, parents should follow these basic traffic safety rules when their school-age children are outside:
- Always walk on sidewalks when they are available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic instead of against it
- Before crossing a street or highway, look both ways to see if cars are coming. Never cross if a car is within one block because, by the time you could see it, it would be too late to get out of the way
- Crossing at intersections and crosswalks can prevent being struck by a car where the victims suffer permanent physical injury or death. If there are no lights or signs, always yield to cars that have the right of way
- Make sure to wear bright or reflective clothing at night or when it is dark outside.
- If a child rides their bike to school, teach them the rules of the road before they start riding and make sure they know how to ride in traffic- even if there are sidewalks properly
- Children should not play near streets because cars can come from any direction
- Avoid a pedestrian accident with serious injuries in school zones by obeying pedestrian crossing laws
Teach your children to play in open, public areas instead of isolated places where there are no witnesses around. By following these simple rules, parents can protect their children from the dangers of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Have you lost a loved one due to a pedestrian accident or any other type of personal injury accident that was another party's fault? If so, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC: Attorneys for Children Injured in Chicago Pedestrian Accidents
Parents should consult a Chicago pedestrian accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to discuss their legal options. Speak with your pedestrian accident lawyer before talking to the at-fault driver's insurance company when their child has been struck by a car or other type of vehicle.
Our law firm will provide immediate legal advice on how to proceed on a contingency fee basis. We will build a case around the financial compensation you deserve. We will seek to recover medical bills, hospitalization costs, and other expenses, including time lost from work to care for the child.
We will seek compensation for long-term physical, emotional or mental problems attributed to the accident. Contact us for a free consultation at 888-424-5757.