Accidents that involve children (among the victims) receive different treatments from those that only involve adults. Motorists are required to avoid creating unreasonable risks to the young ones. This is because of the natural characteristic of children such as curiosity, impulsiveness and lack of appreciation of danger. As such, you cannot expect a child to protect himself or herself from an oncoming accident, as you would expect an adult. Therefore, there are unique factors that courts consider when handling these cases.
Whether the Danger Was Foreseeable
The court will consider whether another reasonable motorist would have foreseen the danger that you faced. If the danger could have been foreseen, then you may be held responsible for the injuries even if the child partly contributed to it.
For example, when driving near a school, a reasonable person should suspect that there may be children crossing or playing near the road. Therefore, it is not just enough to maintain a reasonable speed even if there are no warnings about children crossing or speed limits.
The Specific Duties You Took to Avoid the Danger
The child may have contributed to the danger, yes, but what did you do to avoid it? Did you try to stop, honk or take any evasive action? These are some of the issues the court will examine when trying to determine how much of the blame to apportion to you. Just because a child was crossing the road at an undesignated place doesn't mean that you don't have to take appropriate evasive actions – in fact, it is required of you.
The Contribution of the Child's Behavior to the Accident
Finally, just because you are held to a higher standard doesn't mean that you are automatically wrong if you injure a child. The law acknowledges that there may be unforeseen circumstances that may lead to an accident irrespective of the foreseeability of the danger and your evasive actions.
For this reason, the contribution of the child to the accident will also be considered. For example, if you were driving at a reasonable distance, and the child darts in front of you, then you may hit him or her irrespective of the evasive actions you take. Therefore, your liability may be reduced in proportion to the child's contribution to the accident.
This means you should be extra careful if you are involved in an accident with a child victim. This is not the type of injury case you should navigate without a lawyer's help.
To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer like Greg S. Memovich.Share