Liability in Child Pedestrian Accidents in Florida: Who’s Responsible When Vehicles Hit Children?
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. Children, meanwhile, are even more susceptible to serious and catastrophic injuries when being hit by a vehicle while crossing the road. But who is responsible when child pedestrians are struck by cars while attempting to cross the street?
Unfortunately, statistics show that small children are at a greater risk for injuries and deaths in traffic accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five traffic fatalities among children under the age of 15 are pedestrians.
Child Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Recent child pedestrian accidents in Florida serve as evidence of how devastating car crashes involving children can be. In July 2020, a 3-year-old boy was struck by an SUV in Clay County. As reported by WJXT, the small child was struck by the vehicle on Blanding Boulevard at Parkridge Avenue. The boy was walking alone when he attempted to cross the boulevard. The boy sustained serious injuries.
In May 2020, a 6-year-old girl was critically injured when she was struck by a motorcycle. The girl was walking alone when she tried to cross Gandy Boulevard, according to The Tampa Bay. The motorcyclist who hit the small girl fled the scene.
Liability in Car Accidents Involving Child Pedestrians
Often, car drivers try to shift the blame to a child who “darted out” into traffic or in any other way caused or contributed to the collision. In some cases, underage pedestrians do contribute to accidents. However, it does not change the fact that operators of motor vehicles must exercise due care to avoid hitting children, bicyclists, and other road users.
In fact, motorists are required to always be alert and drive cautiously in school zones, around school buses and bus stops, playgrounds, and other areas where children are likely to be present, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
In any auto accident in Florida, the injured victim can hold the at-fault party liable for their injury if they can prove that the crash occurred due to their negligence. For instance, a car driver exceeding the posted speed limit in a school zone and hitting a child pedestrian will most likely be deemed negligent.
The family of an injured child is entitled to financial compensation for their personal injury following a pedestrian accident. When a child dies after being struck by a negligent driver, the parents can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover damages, including pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Can a Child Be Partially at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Florida follows the pure comparative negligence system, which means the injured party’s compensable damages are reduced by the percentage of their own fault. For example, if a child is found to be 30% at fault for causing a pedestrian accident, the child’s family will receive 70% of the damages.
However, when a pedestrian accident involves a child, the court may apply a lesser standard of care given that children do not have the capacity to meet the adult standard of care.
If your child was involved in a pedestrian accident in Lakeland or other parts of Florida, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced Lakeland auto accident attorney to seek compensation for your child’s injury. Contact our lawyers at The Turnbull Firm to schedule a case review. Call at 863-324-3500.