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Bicycle Accidents Involving Children: Unique Considerations and Legal Strategies

On Behalf of Rush Injury Law

Riding a bicycle is a common childhood activity that allows kids to explore their neighborhood, get exercise, and have fun with friends. However, bicycle accidents are also very common among children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 45,000 people are injured in bicycle accidents each year in the United States.

If your child has been involved in a bicycle collision, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. However, it is important to take action to protect your child’s rights and seek the compensation they deserve. This article will provide an overview of legal considerations unique to children’s bicycle accident cases, as well as effective strategies a personal injury attorney can utilize when handling these sensitive cases.

Unique Legal Considerations

Children’s bicycle accident cases have several unique legal considerations:

Determining Liability is Complex

In a bicycle collision, there are often multiple potentially liable parties, such as the driver that hit the child, the city responsible for road maintenance where the crash occurred, the manufacturer of the bicycle, or another third party responsible for supervising the child. An experienced personal injury lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to identify all potentially liable parties in your child’s case.

They will look at factors such as:

  • The driver’s actions – Were they distracted or speeding? Did they fail to yield?
  • Road conditions – Were there hazards like potholes or debris that contributed to the crash?
  • Bicycle equipment failure – Did brakes or other components malfunction?
  • Lack of safety gear – Was the child not wearing a properly fitted helmet?
  • Insufficient adult supervision – Was the child riding unsupervised or on dangerous roads?
  • Visual obstructions – Did landscaping or a parked car block visibility?

Identifying all contributors to the accident is crucial for determining liability and compensation.

Settlement Funds Must Be Handled Carefully

If a settlement is reached, the funds must be set aside in a structured settlement or special needs trust with court oversight. This ensures the funds are used appropriately for your child’s current and future medical expenses, rehabilitation, education, living needs, and other purposes over their lifetime. Your lawyer will work with financial specialists to create an appropriate structure.

Deadlines May Be Delayed Due to Your Child’s Age

The statute of limitations sets legal deadlines to take action after an accident. However, if your child is under 18, the deadline to file a claim will likely be delayed until they reach the age of majority under California law. For bicycle accidents, this allows more time to assess the full impact of your child’s injuries before moving forward legally.

Your Child May Not Be Capable of Testifying

Your child’s age, maturity level, and psychological state after the trauma of an accident must be considered regarding their ability to testify during legal proceedings. Children may be unable to fully recall details or unable to cope with the stress of a deposition or trial. Your attorney can obtain expert witness testimony or use other evidence to prove your case on your child’s behalf if needed.

Effective Legal Strategies

An experienced bicycle accident lawyer has the knowledge and resources to build a strong case for your injured child utilizing the following key strategies:

Conduct a Thorough Investigation

Your attorney will act quickly to gather evidence at the accident scene, collect witness statements, obtain police reports, etc. Photographs, videos, and other documentation are critical to prove factors like dangerous road conditions. Evidence might include:

  • Bicycle inspection – Were the brakes working properly? Was the chain rusted or broken?
  • Helmet inspection – Was it the right size and properly secured?
  • Accident scene measurement – What were sight lines? Road width?
  • Vehicle inspection – Any mechanical problems or evidence on the vehicle?
  • Photographs – Of injuries, vehicle damage, and accident scene.

Early evidence gathering is crucial while memories and physical evidence are still fresh.

Work with Medical Experts

Your lawyer can consult medical experts to fully understand your child’s injuries and prognosis. They may work with doctors, psychiatrists, life care planners, and vocational experts to assess:

  • Immediate and long-term effects of physical injuries
  • Psychological trauma and needed counseling
  • Impact on education and future earning capacity
  • Ongoing treatment needs and costs

Having medical experts assess all these damages helps maximize your child’s settlement.

Handle Communications Appropriately

Insurance adjusters may try to obtain quick recorded statements from child accident victims. Your lawyer can manage all communications appropriately to protect your child’s interests by:

  • Refusing or delaying adjusters’ requests for your child’s statement
  • Sitting in on and monitoring any interviews
  • Providing information to adjusters through written correspondence vs. interviews

Protecting a child from an insurance company interrogation supports their healing.

Negotiate an Optimal Settlement

Based on a complete investigation and understanding of all losses and future needs, your attorney can negotiate the maximum possible settlement or pursue a jury award if needed. They will leverage all evidence of liability and damages to obtain full and fair compensation.

Structure Funds for Your Child’s Needs

Experienced bicycle accident lawyers have worked with financial specialists to structure settlement funds to provide for your child today and in the future with solutions such as:

  • Upfront lump sums for immediate medical expenses
  • Ongoing periodic payments for future medical costs
  • Fixed and variable annuities to cover future lost wages
  • Trusts for long-term care and estate planning

Proper fund management optimizes care over your child’s lifetime.

Focus on Your Child’s Recovery

With a strong legal team handling the details of your case, you can focus on supporting your child’s healing process. Your attorney will handle matters appropriately if your child is called upon to participate in the case, for example by:

  • Preparing them for what to expect from a deposition
  • Requesting breaks during testimony
  • Having a therapist present for support

Protecting your child’s well-being is a top priority.

Take Action Today

If your child has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence, take action today to learn about your legal options. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can handle every aspect of your child’s injury claim so you can focus on their recovery. Protect your child and alleviate financial stress by seeking maximum compensation with legal help on your side.

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable bicycle injury lawyers. We have successfully handled bicycle accident cases on behalf of injured children for decades. Trust us to manage your child’s case with the utmost compassion and diligence. Call today to get started on the path to the financial recovery your child deserves.

Visit our offices at:

  • 10 Commercial Blvd, #206 Novato, CA 94949
  • 75 Broadway #202, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • 3558 Round Barn Blvd, Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Or call us today for a free consultation on (415) 897-4801.

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