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Bicycle Accidents Involving Children

Bicycle accidents involving children are unfortunately common in California. For children, a cycling is often the only way to get around, and is a fun outdoor activity all year round. Sadly, not all rides end well. Injuries resulting from bicycle accidents are usually severe. However, when the accident victim is a child, the injuries can be even worse. When an accident is caused by a negligent driver, parents of injured children can hold them liable for paying compensation for those injuries.

Personal injury lawsuits involving children work slightly differently than those involving adults. A California bicycle accident lawyer can help families seek the compensation to which they are entitled.

Duty of Care Around Children

Drivers always have a duty of care when they are on the road. They must watch for other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Drivers owe a duty of care to children, too, but that duty of care is increased when children are present. Drivers are expected to drive slowly around children and to take greater caution in areas where children may be present. This does not only include school zones, which have mandatory lower speed limits, but also residential roads and areas near parks.

Drivers are also expected to understand that children are unpredictable. They may swerve unexpectedly into the road or lose their balance and fall into the street. Motorists have to be prepared to stop suddenly or turn, if needed.

Of course, this does not mean that drivers are considered negligent every time they collide with a child. It does mean however, that their increased duty of care makes it easier to prove negligence in bicycle accidents involving children.

A Child’s Contributory Negligence

Under California’s contributory negligence laws, accident victims can be held liable if they were partly at fault for the accident. When a court finds an accident victim contributed to the accident, any compensation they are awarded is then reduced by their percentage of fault.

In bicycle accidents involving children, the standard for contributory negligence is lowered. The law recognizes that children do not have the same capacity to understand bicycle laws, and do not always understand the consequences of certain actions, such as moving slightly from the shoulder of the road.

Generally speaking, the courts deem that children are incapable of exercising due care and so, cannot be held partly to blame for the accident. Defendants can argue that another reasonable child would have acted differently to raise the contributory negligence defense.

Call a California Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If your child has been in a bicycle accident, it is important to know you might be eligible for compensation. This can help pay for medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. You should not file these claims on your own, though. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we are the Oakland bicycle accident lawyers who can help. We have extensive experience handling bicycle accidents involving children, and we want to put that experience to work for your family. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

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