An 11-year-old boy was riding his bike when he was struck by an SUV in the 1800 block of Millerstown Road. According to a Kentucky State Police officer at the scene, the driver of the SUV stated that she tried to swerve to miss the child but was unsuccessful.
The accident happened around 6:40 p.m., Monday, March 19, 2019, and the boy was airlifted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville with life-threatening injuries. The road was shut down for a couple of hours so investigators could reconstruct the accident.
To kids, the streets around their house are their playground where they play ball, skateboard and ride their bikes. However, the roads are made for vehicles, and accidents are inevitable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 750 bike riders die each year on streets across the country. Not all of these are children in neighborhood streets, but it shows that all cyclists—including children—are at risk of injury and fatality riding their bikes.
Who’s to Blame?
When someone is injured, we look to see who was at fault so their insurance can pay for the damages. So when a kid rides or runs out in front of a car, who is to blame? While it’s unknown in the above case whether the kid was violating the law, many times the child is injured not yielding the right-of-way to the vehicle.
However, when this happens, it does not automatically mean that the driver of the car is free from liability for any injuries. Why? Because determining civil liability for a personal injury is different than issuing a traffic ticket.
In civil court, the law requires the injured to prove the one who injured them was negligent. Also, if the victim was negligent, this could defeat their claim against the defendant.
Drivers Need to Use More Caution Around Children
To prove someone was negligent, the court must find that the person was not acting with due care in the same manner a reasonable person would act under the same circumstances. For example, if the car was going 50 down a neighborhood street and a child ran out, then it’s likely that the driver of the car would be negligent for not using due care on a neighborhood street (not just because he was doing 50 in a 25 mph zone).
Similarly, if a child put on a blindfold and wandered into the street and was struck by a car, the court might consider the act of the child unreasonable.
So in a case where a child is riding a bike on the street and turns in front of a car, the court will look to see if the driver acted with due caution under the circumstances and whether the child was also acting unreasonable for a child. A driver should know that kids ride their bikes in neighborhood streets and don’t use the same degree of care that an adult would, so a driver should use more care and caution in those circumstances.
This means that it’s not a slam-dunk that if the child turned in front of the car, or darted out from between two cars, that the driver is not at fault.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have a child that has been injured when out in the streets, then don’t assume you have no case because a traffic law was violated or you feel that it was the child’s fault. You need to talk to an attorney who understands the law when a child is injured. Call the attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and they will stand behind you to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you get the highest compensation allowed by the law.