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What Are the Rights of A Child Pedestrian Injured By a Motor Vehicle?

Children tend to pay less attention when walking or running around outside than adults, and it is our responsibility to keep them safe. Unfortunately, due to a lack of comprehension of safety regulations and their more unpredictable and hasty actions, children are more likely to get hit as pedestrians than adults.

According to the Indiana government’s Traffic Safety Facts, nearly 174 child pedestrians were killed in 2019, and 89 suffered incapacitating injuries. Due to their smaller stature and still-developing bodies, children are more likely to suffer severe and fatal injuries when hit by a car.

However, just because a child may have disobeyed the law by running out into the street, for example, does not mean the person who hit them should not be held accountable. Children’s rights as pedestrians differ from an adult’s rights. For this reason, it is possible to pursue legal action against a driver that has hit your child, even if your child wasn’t paying attention.

How Child Pedestrian Accidents Occur

Try as you might to keep them safe, sometimes accidents happen where children are concerned. Kids have reduced attention spans and are not as aware of their surroundings and potential dangers, which means they have a tendency to get themselves into trouble and hurt more often than we would like.

However, when it comes to car accidents, the resulting injuries can be a lot worse than those from other types of accidents. For this reason, it is essential for parents and guardians to teach their children about car and road safety as much as possible to reduce their risk of being hit.

Most child pedestrian accidents occur for the following reasons:

  • Running out into the street at an intersection
  • Walking or running in the street by an ice cream truck
  • Vehicles turning into the path of a child
  • Walking or running around a school bus
  • Vehicles reversing in driveways and parking lots

How Do a Child’s Rights Differ From an Adult’s as a Pedestrian?

Generally, pedestrians have the right of way so long as they are in a crosswalk and/or obeying traffic control signals. However, the laws for children crossing the road can differ from Indiana’s general pedestrian laws.

In Indiana, the local government used to follow what was called “the rule of sevens,” which states the following:

  • Children ages 0 to 7 are not considered at fault, even if they disobeyed state pedestrian laws, due to their lack of comprehension.
  • With children ages 8 to 14, there is a presumption of no negligence. If the driver wants to prove it wasn’t their fault, they must be able to prove that the child was acting negligently.
  • If a child is over the age of 14, they are held liable by the same standard as an adult pedestrian.

Unfortunately, even with laws to protect their rights, proving fault in car accident cases involving children can be complicated. The driver will often try to deny fault, and the parents will want to blame the driver. These types of cases can be very emotional and challenging for all parties involved. Working with a lawyer in these situations is often necessary to see the best possible outcome.

Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

After an accident involving a child, their health and wellbeing should be your primary focus. The results of child pedestrian accidents can be devastating, and we understand that the last thing on your mind is dealing with an injury claim or a lawsuit. Let our team of experts handle the hard stuff—getting you the compensation you and your child deserve—while you focus on their recovery.

At Crossen Law Firm, our team has over 20 years of experience fighting for victims injured in pedestrian accidents, including children. We understand how devastating the resulting injuries and emotional trauma can be after such an accident. Our team is dedicated to working tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.