A car struck a boy riding his bicycle in a neighborhood in Nicholasville. The accident happened Tuesday morning, September 10, 2019, on Miles Road that runs next to Nicholasville City Park. According to police, the boy was attempting to cross the street when the vehicle hit him.
The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperative with police who determined that he wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The road was blocked off for hours while an accident reconstruction team processed the scene. Thankfully, the child is expected to survive this terrible crash.
Child Cycling Injuries
It’s one of a parent’s worst fears, their child getting hit by a car. This scene plays out over and over in neighborhoods across the U.S. According to a report from Stanford University Children’s Health, around 100 children are killed each year getting hit by a car while riding a bike, and another 254,000 are injured. However, compared to the amount of injuries, the fatality rate is statistically low, bu, this is no comfort to those who have lost a child to a bicycle accident.
Who’s at Fault?
The answer to this question will determine whether the injured child receives compensation for his or her injuries. In the minutes and hours right after the incident, fault is not important, but eventually the bills will start adding up, and if the child has any permanent disability from the accident, money will be an issue.
The law requires an injured victim to prove negligence by the alleged at-fault driver before compensation is awarded. When a child darts out into the street or rides a bike in front of a car, one might assume that the child is partially or fully at fault. However, the law is not so cut-and-dry. When looking at the actions of the driver, many things will determine if he or she was negligent. The law says that every driver owes a duty to those out on the road to drive in a manner that others can proceed in safety. The law looks at whether the actions of the driver leading up to the incident were what a reasonable driver in the same circumstances would do.
Several factors will go into determining if the actions were reasonable:
- Speed of the driver,
- Road/weather condition,
- Area of town (neighborhood or rural highway),
- Parks/schools nearby (show if children are likely to be present),
- Any factors that would put a driver on notice to slow down and use due caution.
If the accident happened near a park, school or neighborhood where kids typically play, then some of the burden will shift to the driver to show that due caution was being used. If not, then negligence could be found by the driver even if the child rode out in front of the car.
In the example crash above, news reports state the the child was not wearing a helmet. In Kentucky, a helmet is required for all cyclists and scooter riders under the age of 12 when riding on the streets or sidewalks. Many times, parents of a child who was injured while not wearing a helmet will feel that since the child wasn’t wearing one, injuries are their fault.
While this is a natural feeling, it’s not the law. In Kentucky, if a person gets injured in a car accident, the fact that he or she was violating the law can’t be used to automatically infer negligence on that person. The jury can look at the actions of the person and certainly find negligence, but the violation of the law alone isn’t enough.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Accident victims often wonder if they need an attorney, and the answer is almost always yes. Insurers will often attempt to blame victims for their injuries.
The attorneys at Kaufman and Stigger, PLLC, have that knowledge and a combined 100 years’ experience in helping clients get the results they deserve. To discuss your case, call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today.