By Pendergast Law on September 27, 2016
As parents, the health and well-being of our children is our utmost priority. That’s why the thought of an accident striking a child unexpectedly always hits close to home. Unfortunately, child pedestrians are at increasing risk of crosswalk accidents. With the steady increase of cars on the road, the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities in Washington State has been on the rise the past few years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 69,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2011. Of those, a staggering 11,000 of those were children. The NHTSA also states that one-fifth (21%) of children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. No matter how careful parents might be when it comes to their child’s safety, accidents can still happen.
Children, because of their small size and lack of awareness, are often more prone to being struck by passing vehicles. For this reason, speed limits are reduced in school zones. This is also why the law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers who are operating vehicles where children are more likely to congregate and play, such as schools, parks, playgrounds, and neighborhoods with young families.
What should Seattle area parents know when it comes to crosswalk and pedestrian accidents involving their children? First of all, the liability in these cases can often be quite difficult to determine. The driver of the vehicle, the municipality where the crosswalk is located, or the manufacturer of the vehicle or part might all be found at fault.
Adding to the complexity, each of those entities will almost certainly have an insurance company representing them, doing their best to limit the liability and compensation involved. At the same time, the victim’s family will not necessarily have anyone looking out for their best interests or to inform them of all the rights they have.
If your child was injured or killed in a traffic accident as a pedestrian, the last thing you want to think about is the legal process. But it’s important to know you may be entitled to compensation, including for any of the following: medical bills, both current and future, pain and suffering, lost wages if you have to miss work to care for the child, funeral and burial expenses, and/or mental anguish and costs of emotional therapy.
If the unthinkable has happened and your child has been injured or killed in a traffic accident, contact the experienced team of Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers at the Washington offices of Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., to receive our sensitive support and guidance. Reach out to us at 888-539-9211 today for a free consultation.