Data from the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention translates into children being involved in bicycle accidents and treated in emergency rooms across the United States 600 times a day. Aside from scrapes, cuts and bruises, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH also saw more serious injuries like fractures and traumatic brain injuries. For purposes of attempting to reduce the number of head and brain injuries suffered by children, CVC 21212 requires any bicyclist or passenger under the age of 18 to wear a helmet.
A Higher Duty of Care with Children Around
The driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to use due care and caution under the circumstances for the safety of others who are on or near the roadway. That duty increases when children are around, especially if they’re on bicycles. That’s because kids will ride bikes on or across lawns, driveways, sidewalks and streets. They’re often oblivious to the dangers that confront them, especially if they’re close to home. If it can be shown that a driver saw a child and failed to use a higher degree of care and caution before an accident, there could be a compelling argument that the driver was careless and negligent. The younger that a child might be, the more sympathetic a judge and jury might be. If the child was 14 or 15 at the time of the accident, they might be less sympathetic.
State and Municipal Liability
Aside from motorists, there are other causes of serious injuries to child bicyclists. Street potholes and deep pavement cracks can cause sudden bicycle crashes without warning. Storm sewers with loose covers or even no covers at all can result in severe injuries.
The Statute of Limitations
In nearly all California bicycle accident cases, the injured claimant must file his or her personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. The law in California is different if a person is injured while still a minor. The general rule under those circumstances is that he or she has until two years after their 18th birthday to file an injury lawsuit. Evidence can disappear and witnesses can vanish. We encourage the parents of injured minors to contact us right away after their child is injured in a bicycle accident.
An opposing insurance company will always try to push some or all of the fault for a bicycle accident with a child over onto the child or even the child’s parents.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
If you believe that your child was injured in a bicycle accident as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else anywhere in or around Los Angeles, contact us right away to arrange for a free consultation and case review. As our practice is purposely limited only to bicycle accidents, we promise to answer all of your questions.
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.